Thursday, December 29, 2016

Trump: It's Time For Our Country To Move On To Bigger and Better Things Than ISIS and Radical Islamic Terrorism

No, was a different thing.

Obama Brings The Ban Hammer

Don't let the screen door bang your ass on the way out, Ivan*.

[*Note: not intended to express derision of the long-suffering Russian people in general, obvs., who are, at least in principle, our bros.]

Volokh: At The University of Oregon, No More Free Speech For Professors...

...On Topics Such As Race, Religion, and Sexual Orientation
This is very bad--but hardly a big surprise.
The PC left is extremely powerful in the academy, and this is exactly the kind of policy they favor.
What we have here is more of the same sort of thing we've been seeing for years now...different, perhaps, in degree, but not in kind.
Which is not to say that I don't think we should be protesting in the streets about it...just that it shouldn't come as a surprise.
I half-expect the APA (philosophy, not psychology) to issue an open letter of support for the Oregon policy.
[Also Jerry Coyne on this stuff here. He takes the time to wrestle a bit with the blackface issue. It does seem to be a somewhat special case, worthy of some thought--but I'm not interested in getting sucked into that particular issue right now. Coyne gets some of the main points out on the page.]

Friday, December 23, 2016

Trump: Moar Nukes!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Carolina 85-UNI 42

Seventh shouldn'a stole that ball and dunked it in the last two seconds when UNI was down 40 and just dribbling out the clock.
I'm sure Roy explained that to him after.
Hope he likes runnin' sprints...

MTV Deletes Video Telling White Guys How To "Do Better" In 2017

  Look...I think you'll admit that this is astonishing.
  Who among you could have predicted...that MTV still exists???
   This is like...I dunno...getting a Nintendo Power Glove for Christmas or something. "Blast from the past" doesn't really quite do it justice.
   But anyway. The video still exists, too...and it is...dumb. Hard to believe, eh?
   Also...everybody needs to stop using the "word" (and I use the term loosely), 'woke.' I do what you want, friends. But it's just dumb. Ditto 'mansplaining,' what with that one being even dumber. And that black friends trope...look, as I saw somebody somewhere point out: if having black friends doesn't count as evidence against the charge that you're racist...what does count? Anything? Or is this another case in which lefties think that the accusation is self-confirming? Needless to say, it isn't conclusive evidence...but conclusive evidence isn't exactly all that common when we're talking about controversial claims. The fact that Smith has black friends simply is (non-conclusive) evidence that Smith isn't racist. It is not evidentially weightless. So if Smith is accused of racism, there's not a damn thing wrong with him citing the fact that he's got black friends in rebuttal. It's possible that Smith dislikes black people despite his black friends. And it's possible that Smith's black friends have failed to detect that subtle racism that your PC racism hyper-detector managed, somehow, to ferret out.'re just full of shit about it. That right there's also what we call "a possibility."
   Ah, whatever.
   I don't really care about this stuff much, except for being annoyed by the double standard is all.

Did The Comey Letter Doom Clinton?

Yes, Political Correctness Helped Trump Win

Robby Soave is right about this.
   First: yes, there's a tendency for people to attribute causation on the basis of what they like and dislike. Dislike PC and dislike Trump and your'e probably inclined to believe that PC helped Trump. I've tried to avoid that, FWIW.
   But I do think that PC helped Trump.
   Look. Let's ignore, for the purposes of this argument, that PC is bad. All we need is: a lot of people believe that PC is bad. Trump believes that PC is bad. (One of the relatively few things he's right about; but never mind.) People who think that PC is bad apparently tended to vote for Trump, and Trump voters often cite concerns about PC as a reason for supporting him. These people often say that they voted for Trump because PC is bad, and because he's against it.
   Now: it's foolish to think that we always need a survey or study of some kind in order to draw conclusions about social causes. The information available to us gives us good reason--at least prima facie reason--to conclude that PC was likely a factor in Trump's win. If this kind of information gives us no reason to believe the hypothesis, then doing some social science isn't going to help. Science isn't magic, and social science is often not particularly good science. How is it that you know that liberals tended to support Hillary, anyway? Did anyone do a survey? Did you read the results? Did you check that statistics? Even if you did--and you didn't, of course--is that what's responsible for your belief? Or did it merely accord with something you already believed?
   At any rate: we've got plenty of reason to believe that PC helped Trump. To say that PC helped Trump is more-or-less just to say: excesses of the left drove some people to vote for the more right-wing candidate. We don't need to wait for the nod of social science on this one.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

MO Man Did Not Disclose That He Had HIV, Infected Sexual Partners; Conviction Overturned

   I'm not sure what to think about this case. Such laws seem reasonable to me at least in principle, though the other side argues that HIV is now NBD. That seems a bit crazy to incurable, communicable disease that can be fatal if mismanaged is a decidedly nontrivial thing...even if it's less bad than it used to be. We know how activists of the relevant kind are going to argue basically in any case. But their argument here does have some weight: the laws were written when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence. That means that the penalties might be too severe, not that the laws are entirely ill-conceived. And 30 years does seem severe.
   Mostly what caught my eye was this:
Scott Schoettes, a lawyer with the LGBT rights organization Lambda Legal who said he assisted Johnson’s public defender, said the group was elated by the reversal. “Living with HIV is not a crime,” Schoettes said in a statement. “Except in the most extreme cases, the criminal law is far too blunt an instrument to address the subtle dynamics of HIV disclosure.”
   Of course "living with HIV is not a crime" is a straw man. That's not what the case is about at all. But anyway. the left isn't monolithic, and consistency ad hominems are a dime a dozen when we cast the net so broadly...but I'm going to point it out anyway:
There seems to be a kind of consensus on the left that goes like this:
The state gets to micromanage sexual relationships and can punish men if there is the slightest hint that the relevant women's consent was anything less than perfectly ideal. But "...the criminal law is far too blunt an instrument to address the subtle dynamics of HIV disclosure." (On a similar note: according to a fair chunk of the left, a "transgendered" person is not obligated to disclose his/her actual sex to potential sexual partners.)
   Right. So disclosing to your sexual partners that you have an incurable and serious sexually-transmitted disease that must be managed carefully for the rest of your life...that involves "subtle dynamics" that the law is "far too blunt an instrument" to handle. But consent, persuasion, communication of desire and all that in ordinary sexual interactions...well...that's all so simple and straightforward that the state can micromanage it with the law... 
   Jesus. Talk about double standards.
   On a similar note, I've seen it argued that a failure to disclose the fact that you're a conservative can mean that consent by a sexual partner is not fully-informed; ergo rape. OTOH, apparently it's permissible to fail to disclose your sex. (Though presumably that's going to be discovered at some point in the proceedings...) Even though everyone everywhere knows that sex matters with respect to sex to almost everyone. 
   I don't actually think that the left is utterly insane with respect to some of its positions in this vicinity. But their disdain for consistency is appalling. That's a problem that plagues everybody, of course, though it's particularly prevalent among extremists. Perhaps the influence of postmodernism on the left makes the problem more acute there.
   Again, though, in their defense, it may not be the same groups arguing for these inconsistent positions. Though honestly, I'll bet it often is.

Impeachment Fever: Catch It!

I wish people would STFU about ways that we could impeach Trump.
Everybody just cool for now.
Start cranking out this stuff after he's (shudder) in office.
I feel dirty thinking like a Republican, plotting impeachment before he even gets in office...but this is no normal situation.
Still, I eagerly read every here's-how-Trump-could-get-impeached story that comes down the pike.

Wikileaks Released Podesta Emails One Hour After Trump Access Hollywood Video Story Broke

Rooskieleaks, amirite?
   There do exist people that disgust me more than Putin and Assange...but...not a lot of them.
   Assange really, really, really hates the U.S., and it's angrifying to think that that little worm may have actually had an effect. There's no doubt that's what he was trying to do, obviously. Jesus...Putin, Assange, Trump, and the's like a super-villain team-up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Cool or Uncool?

Dude A is allegedly trying to pronounce some racist pronouncement or other.
Dude B is just yelling 'nooooo' every time Dude A tries to talk.
Cool or uncool?

My gut says it's as funny as your gut says it is. Racist bastards deserve what they get, more or less...buuuut...isn't the idea that you aren't supposed to take the content into account when making judgments like this? Dude A may very well be trying to say something heinous. Dude B is welcome to disagree with Dude A, of course...and to criticize what he says, vociferously, even. But it seems uncool to me to simply shout him down/yell over him, e.g. in that way.

While we're on the subject, fellow long before we just give up on the whole free speech thing entirely, anyway? It's extremely not popular on the PC left, which I basically take, regretfully, to be our cultural vanguard... Should we just go ahead and start thinking about what kind of post-free-speech society we might prefer?
Or what?

Some Reports Of The Assassination Of Russian Ambassador Omit That The Shooter Yelled "Allahu Akbar"

Chris Hayes didn't mention it. I heard an NPR report this afternoon that didn't mention it.
Not every report has to mention it, so not every omission is necessarily's perhaps worth mentioning...

Mark Kleiman: Why Trump Is Not A Traitor And Why It Matters

Everything about this is right.
I regret having linked to the Shattuck piece.

Richard Spencer And The Alt-Right: Neo-Nazis

So I've been wondering what the hell the alt-right is.
I've been unwilling to buy the line that they're a bunch of neo-Nazis because, well, that's the line that the left has taken up...and you know how crazy they are now. Everybody who disagrees with them by an iota is a racist misogynistic x-phobic retrograde fascist. Them being frothily against something is damn near sufficient for me to think it might be ok...
But this, especially the video...well...equivocal it ain't.
It's kinda nice to have a question that can be answered unequivocally, astonishingly repulsive though the answer might be. I mean...'hail Trump'? Actual Nazi salutes? Where does one find a whole roomful of such unmitigated fuckwits?

Obama Contra PC, Again (+ 'PC' Rambling)

   Isn't this the third time Obama has clearly and directly criticized PC?
   Worth listening to (from about minutes 40 to 46).
   As per usual, Obama's right square on target.
   The only thing I might quibble with is that he suggests that what I'd call the right conception of PC is a narrow conception. But he's a more reasonable guy than I am, probably especially on this issue, so maybe I need to re-think this.
   At any rate, here's my basic line:
   First, political terminology of this kind tends to be on the vague side. 'Political correctness' isn't particularly notable in that respect. Second, 'politically correct' is derogatory. To say that x is "politically correct" is basically to say that they've left facts behind, that they live in the fantasy world of far-left nuttiness and group think. The leading idea here is captured like so:  x isn't correct...but it's politically correct... So the term has a valence. Advocates of PC can justly complain about that. But I'd note: (a) they themselves embraced the terminology in the paleo-PC era of the late '80s-early '90s, and (b) the term they prefer--"social justice"--also has a valence...and it's less accurate / cheatier. Finally, the nutty left doesn't have to use 'PC' and its cognates. They're free to use, say, 'social justice'...though nothing non-rhetorical is gained. (Funny that they never complain that 'SJ' is vague etc...). The fact is, PC tends to be obsessed with words--this is tied up with the fact that PC is philosophically entangled with the postpostmodern mish-mash--and it basically tries to win every battle at the level of language. That's basically what it's trying to do when it carps about the term. The goal is to make it more difficult for its opponents to get a fix on their target. Keep complaining about the terminology and you'll have to spend less time defending yourself on the substance.
   The PCs are wrong when they say that PC is just ordinary civility. But Obama is right when he says that PC fades into ordinary civility. (I've, ahem, made that point too.) You shouldn't expect to find bright lines in a case like this. There's a spectrum between don't drop n-bombs and ZOMG you are a bigot if you don't say 'person of color'!!!  But: 'PC' is more properly applied to cases like the latter, less properly applied to cases like the former. It's never been permissible in my life to drop the n-bomb. So pretending that PC is merely urging us not to do things like that is erroneous and/or dishonest. 'PC' is a term that arose to describe a far-left identity politics that, e.g., deemed 'black' verboten and 'African-American' obligatory. It's the movement that gave us 'differently-abled,' for example...on the grounds that 'disabled' had negative if being disabled were not if the "negative connotations" were a result of infelicitous terminology rather than the inherent badness of the state the terminology describes. As if losing your legs is just...different. Not worse.
   For these and many other reasons: the term 'politically correct' is apt.
   Well anyway.

Thanks For Nothing, Electoral College

   lol Democrats
   Can't even convince GOP electors not to vote for an entirely unqualified moron.
   Can't prevent the Dems from voting for Mumia...
   (Ok, ok...tbf, three of them actually voted for Colin Powell...only one voted for a Ms. Spotted Eagle.)
(Colin Powell...can you imagine? Our doppelgangers in a nearby possible world are headed for Colin Powell presidencies, Lindsey Graham presidencies, Jeb Bush presidencies...and they're bitching about it the whole way. My doppelganger's over there shrieking like he lost a leg about president-elect Jeb!.  Dumbass. Our timeline basically got president-elect Mayor McCheese. Count yer blessings, numbnut. Even all y'all who are looking at the second term for president Mittens got lucky. Your America still has its dignity...)
   Anyway. So much for the EC protecting us against the unqualified...the demagogic...those indebted to foreign powers... In 15 years it's given us (a) a barely-qualified president who led us into the worst foreign policy catastrophe since Vietnam, and (b) a completely unqualified, mentally unstable moron backed by a Russian autocrat. Nice work, Electoral College! Is this how it's going to be? All of the downside, none of the up? If Trump doesn't activate your Electoral College powers...well...exactly what kind of lunatic are you waiting for, one wonders?

Monday, December 19, 2016

F*ck You, Fall Semester 2016

Jesus what a hellish semester.

MN Football Team Sexual Assault Case

Not good.
   Regardless of how this all started, it sounds like it ended in rape or something very much like it. I'm not exactly sure how this sounded like a good idea to anyone, but apparently preferences vary along this dimension. The left has turned 'consent' into a mantra, and pushed loony, cartoonish ideas about it--but it goes without saying that, properly understood, it's of the utmost importance. And you'd think that people would realize that, in a goddamn idiotic situation like this, you'd better be certain that you've secured it in no uncertain terms and beyond any shadow of a goddamned doubt. 

White Supremacist Website Posts Personal Details Of Jews In Montana, Urges "Call For Action"

If this is even approximately the straight dope on this situation, these asshats need to be slapped down unequivocally.

We're About To Get It Good And Hard

The electoral college is probably not going to save us.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Left Is Not Happy That Bernie Repudiated PC

[See the Mystic's response in comments. He's right.]

Here's something not very good.
   Well, as I've pointed out, Bernie didn't exactly repudiate PC, since the definition he gave of it was completely off-base. (The author does get that part right.) So it's not clear whether (a) he meant to repudiate political doubletalk and used 'political correctness' incorrectly, or (b) he meant to repudiate PC but thought better of it when asked to cough up a definition. Needless to say, I'd rather it were the latter--and I don't think that's totally implausible. First, it's a bit tricky to characterize PC if you haven't really given it much thought, and, second, he's going to get crucified if he openly admits that extremism in defense of concern for minorities can, indeed, be a vice. So I think it's plausible to think that he just fell back on bashing something basically everybody hates. We'll see whether he's willing to take a more determinate anti-PC stand. Maybe he hopes that, by saying the words, he's leaving open the door for other Dems to step up, too.
   At any rate, that Quartz piece isn't much good. I wouldn't really bother reading it. It contains paragraphs like this:
Cosigning Trump’s attack on political correctness validates the bigotry of his campaign. It plays into the ongoing effort by people on the center and right to blame Hillary Clinton’s loss on “identity politics” and anti-racist and feminist organizing. At the very least, Sanders’ comments inadvertently provide cover for Trump, glossing over the deliberately poisonous nature of his rhetoric.
HRC's loss probably was partially due to identity politics--which is an anti-liberal movement. It was also probably partially due to the extremist feminism and extremist/racist "ant-racism" of the PC left. The paragraph is carefully constructed to fudge these issues. As if being anti-PC were to object to "anti-racist organizing"...
   If we didn't face a lunatic right, I'd be happy to see the lunatic left refusing to face facts about why the Dems lost. But we do. So I'm not.
   This is exactly the arc the GOP went through in '08 and '12. They swore they were going to do some soul-searching and figure out what went wrong. But extremists and dogmatic partisans cannot ever admit that they're wrong about principles. So the GOP's answer was always: muh messagin'. They weren't wrong, you see...they just didn't do a good job explaining why they were right. This is what we're getting from the left now, too--a complete refusal to even consider the possibility that people really are fed up with PC bullshit. And that's grounded in a refusal to admit that it's even possible to go too far in the direction of PC/IP.
   Also, the PC left looooves terminological obfuscation. So there's also a fair bit of the now-standard faux puzzlement about the term 'political correctness' in that piece as well. I'm starting to think that there's a factory somewhere mass producing essays containing slight variations on these themes.

The Economist: Twitter Celebration of Jo Cox's Murder Radically Exaggerated

Yet another lefty "hate crime"-y hoax:
Yet the story was wrong. An investigation by The Economist has found that Hope Not Hate misrepresented the findings of its own report when first releasing it to the press. The report itself gave a confusing impression of the number of tweets that celebrated Ms Cox’s murder. We estimate that, in reality, of hundreds of thousands of tweets mentioning the MP by name, the number that celebrated her death was at most 1,500, and probably much lower.
Although press coverage of the story appeared to misread the report, that is not entirely the fault of journalists. The claim that 50,000 tweets celebrated Ms Cox’s death or praised her killer comes from the first paragraph of a press release sent out by Hope Not Hate ahead of the report’s publication. It does not appear in the study itself, which found only that a “majority” of the tweets, which related to both Ms Cox’s murder and the Brexit referendum more broadly, “related to specific calls for violence” (a term that is not defined).
Hope Not Hate admitted that its initial press release was incorrect and said that it was later changed. The charity referred us to the study’s authors, Imran Awan of Birmingham City University and Irene Zempi of Nottingham Trent University. Mr Awan agreed that newspaper headlines had oversimplified the study’s findings. Even so both authors retweeted articles repeating the press release’s false claim.
In their study, entitled “Jo Cox ‘deserved to die’”, Mr Awan and Ms Zempi examine a sample of 53,000 tweets with hashtags related to both Ms Cox’s murder and the Brexit referendum. The total number of tweets on these subjects during the period was significantly more than 53,000; the authors appear to have selected their sample by narrowing their search using hashtags including #refugeesnotwelcome and #DeportallMuslims.
The report does not say what proportion of the 53,000 sample tweets related to Ms Cox’s murder, and what share concerned Brexit more generally. When The Economist asked the authors for help, they declined to share their data with us, citing death threats they said they had received since the report’s release. So we undertook our own analysis, examining tweets from June and July that included the terms “Jo Cox” or “#JoCox”—some 341,000 unique messages. Of a random sample of 800 of these, none was celebratory, and just four seemed to be derogatory toward Ms Cox, criticising her support for Syrian refugees, for instance. From this, simple statistics suggest that the true number of tweets cheering the politician’s murder would lie between 0 and 1,500. (The Hope Not Hate report reproduces about 30.) Mr Awan notes that our sample did not include tweets that mentioned only the killer, Mr Mair; it is also likely that some tweets were deleted before our collection.
   Sooo...lefties start the rumor. Academicians clearly conspire to "confirm" it (obviously it was not an honest error or they'd share their data), an organization springs up to profit from it and advance the relevant agenda and the press falls for it uncritically. Oh and: this imaginary wave of hatred gets attributed to the Brexiteers.
   This sort of thing ought to be worrying you by now.

Pro-Regime Forces in Syria Not Actually Government Forces? Stretched Thin? Fighting Among Themselves?

War Is Boring says so.
(+ sweet pic of Su-34)

Everything Is Stupid: "Cat Men" vs. "Toxic Masculinity" Edition

New Real Peer Review--Read It!

If you're not following New Real Peer Review, you probably underestimate how damn idiotic the dregs of the humanities and social sciences have become.
Most astonishing recent offering: on "black anality" in pr0n.
Remember, kids: these people are getting Ph.D.s, academic positions, tenure...the whole nine yards... You can sit down and make up nonsense like this (watching porn as your research, I guess) while others are sweating out papers on Kant and Carthage and quantum field theory.
It's not just that this stuff is's worse than worthless. It makes students dumber. Hell, it makes the world dumber.

Trump Tells The Chinese To Keep The UUV

Is this guy twelve?

Help Us, Electoral College--You're Our Only Hope

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Carolina 100-Kentucky 103

Good game all around, first half was fantastic.
With Theo--and without the terrible call against Hicks that got Roy T'd up--it's a different game. But, then, if we hit free throws, or play a little D, it's a different game, too...  Without Theo and Hicks, we were way out-athleted...but still hung in there.
I know that one-and-done-centrism is profaning college hoops...and that makes it hard to like UK these days...but they sure are fun to watch.

Donald Trump, Russian Poodle


Skin them 'Cats

Banana Republicanism In NC

   This sounds like the GOP's basic M.O.: blatantly, radically shredding the informal norms that make democracy possible in exchange for short-term partisan gains...and, when challenged, claiming that, y'know, Democrats have done a few things that are vaguely similar once or twice. In, like...the past.
   I'm not really familiar with the cases they're appealing to. I'm willing to admit error here, but I'll bet the cases won't be genuinely comparable.
   The great Democratic sin that, IMO, touched off this insanity in the GOP was the fight over the Indiana (or "Bloody") 8th... So Dems aren't above this sort of thing...and there's simply no excuse for that incident. But the GOP response (if it can even be characterized as that) has been radically disproportionate.

FBI, CIA: Russia Aimed To Help Trump Win (And: What Follows?)

What do we do with this information?
I think we've got to be a bit cautious.
When questions of Russian meddling first arose, I had a suspicion that Putin might reason like this: Clinton is going to win. It's unlikely I can succeed in altering the outcome, and likely that my efforts will be discovered. So the real question is: what evidence can I plant that will sow the most discord? Obvious answer: evidence of pro-Clinton meddling. Trump was already indicating that any election he lost couldn't be fair/legitimate. And many of his supporters are loony.
   So I kinda think we might oughtta be obligated to think of this in the abstract, independent of any information about the specific candidate [Putin] aimed to help. What should we think if an enemy of the U.S. aims to help some candidate or other win? Or, in terms of the table-turning test: what if Putin had tried to help Clinton?
   Needless to say, we need to retaliate against Putin the the relevant elements of the Russian government. But I'm not sure we get to count this against Trump. That is, I don't think we get to say "See! We told you that SOB was in bed with the Rooskies!"
   Meh. I guess that doesn't sound all that plausible now that I've typed it out. It might be right if we didn't already have reason to suspect that Trump and Putin are in de facto cahoots...
   Though, plausible is it, really, that Trump is really substantially pro-Putin? Can his actions be explained hypotheses like:
Like Obama, Trump hopes for a reset? 
Trump's got business interests in Russia, and he hasn't been scrupulous about divesting, but that's mere greed and ignorance and nothing more nefarious
In some ways motives don't matter.
Trump's now obligated to take up an anti-Putin stance and do his part to retaliate. If he doesn't, it's impeachment or bust as far as I'm concerned. We've got to raise the cost of this meddling high enough that no even vaguely sensible country ever tries it again.
   But, still, we've got to be careful about reasoning from Putin tried to help Trump to Trump is bad. The conclusion is obviously true, and we're getting expert testimony that the premise is true. But the argument as stated isn't (even non-deductively) valid. I suppose it might play a role in some more elaborate argument referencing the right collateral information...but I'm not really seeing this too clearly at the moment.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Is Trump Flirting With Treason?

Would it be irresponsible to speculate...?
You know the answer.

"Transgender Girls" Are Not Girls

   The left just keeps on pushing for victory via redefinition on this issue.
   Push for the policy if you like--that is, push to end the segregation of restrooms by sex. But spare me the attempts at persuasive redefinition and the bad metaphysics. A girl is a juvenile female human (though it can be used more expansively to mean any female human). Insisting over and over that you just can't figure out why some girls aren't allowed to use the girls''s not fooling anybody. Or...well...maybe it is... Many on the left seem to at least be pretending to believe it...I'd bet they do at least half-believe it, since that's possible...if you don't think about it too hard.
   I agree that we should keep the status quo while the case is being considered--and I don't care which state of affairs is deemed the status quo. Whichever it is, keep it for now. I agree with the principle and I don't care whether it accords with my favored outcome or not.
   I'm inclined to keep sex-segregated restrooms and locker rooms, but I certainly see the arguments on the other side. And I recognize that "transgendered" individuals might face violence if they use the right (i.e., sex-appropriate) restroom. And that's a factor. I think it's kinda dumb to give up a system that works fairly well because a very small percentage of the population feels uncomfortable and might occasionally face more substantial problems...but, then, I've grown up with the old system...and I'm not even all that wild taking a whiz in front of other guys... So I dunno, maybe I'm not the best person to ask... Also, I'd rather not add the occasional girl to the mix... But I could be wrong about the policy question.
   As for whether a male can be come female or vice-versa simply by feeling or declaring himself or herself to be the opposite This shouldn't be controversial. This is the kind of case that the phrase "politically correct" was basically invented to cover. The idea that some men are women isn't actually correct...but it's politically correct. It's the kind of utterly daft nonsense that the left can not only convince itself of...but can convince itself that anyone who even questions it is an evil bigot. (Incidentally: if you doubt the truth of doxastic voluntarism just behold the political extremes...)
   Well, there's no need to rehash these arguments yet again. This case just makes me crazy because all the main craziness of the left is so clearly on display here: the zany theories that originate in the most disreputable corners of the humanities, the insistence that p is not-p, the frothy accusations of bigotry against anyone with the temerity to disagree with the patent madness, the disdain for facts (especially biological ones)... And people are just going right along with it...
   Ok, I'm shutting up now.

Goldberg: Obama Has His Dignity And His Faith In Civic Norms; Republicans Have The Government

If the situation were reversed—if the CIA concluded that Hillary Clinton won the election (but lost the popular vote) with an assist from a hostile foreign power—pitchfork-waving Republicans would be demanding that she resign for the good of the nation.
If the situation were reversed, Republicans would be threatening violent revolution.

Don't Forget! The GOP Intentionally Torpedoed The Recovery

Drum makes with the chart

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We're Doomed If We Don't Get The Population Under Control Before Life Spans Are Extended

One of these days, one of these stories is not going to be bullshit.

The Most Important Graph In The World?

Capitalism is somethin'

Putin Turned Russia's Election Hacks In Trump's Favor?

Trump Doesn't Understand RussianHackingGate

'Political Correctness' And The Battle Of Words, NPR/Kat Chow Edition

   One of the main tactics of the politically correct is to obfuscate issues with terminological shenanigans. And one of their favorite types of sophistry in the current incarnation of PC is to deny that PC even exists. One way to try to do this is to deploy largely irrelevant arguments about different uses of 'political correctness' / 'politically correct.'
   Here's yet another instance of this sophistry.
   It's funny that the paleo-PCs embraced the moniker, but the neo-PCs, despite the fact that they're clearly the descendants of the paleo-s, reject it. I suspect it's because of the greater rhetorical sophistication of the neo-s. Fail to question the terminology and you give up a major salient, a major opportunity for obfuscation and rhetorical victory. Allow the terminology to stand, and you're in danger of being forced to fight on the plain of substantive issues...which they absolutely, positively, do not want...
   'Politically correct' is not in principle different than the moniker they tend to prefer, 'social justice.' Both build positive valence right into the name of the movement...though the ironic interpretation of the former is more well-known. And they want to close off that line of attack.
   Note the tweet this thing ends with: alt-right = white supremacist, whereas political correctness and social justice = civil rights. I still don't know what 'alt-right' means...but the latter equivalence is obviously false. Again, these folks want to try to simply win by insisting on definitions. And they want that because they can't win on substantial points.
   Of course, if political correctness = social justice = civil rights (grammatical awkwardness aside), then I'm not sure why they object to 'political correctness'... But consistency is obviously not their strong suit, given that they insist that all of the following are true: (a) 'political correctness' is meaningless and (b) political correctness does not exist and (c) political correctness is good. (Of course there's a fallacy in there, in that it's probably not the same people insisting on all three of those things...but there's still a problem at the movement level if the movement itself is, in some sense, pushing all three.)
   This terminological screwing around really is just sophistry...but if they want to propose a new term, they could do it. But it can't constitute an attempt to win at the level of the term itself. Though if they do try that and it gets turned around on them and used ironically, they'd have no one to blame but themselves. One might say that what they're really mad about is that their effort to win rhetorically right out of the gate was thwarted. And now the positive valence of their preferred terminology has turned negative. It's hard to be sympathetic when this is really just a taste of their own medicine. 
   Another point: the PCs are largely responsible for the plague of ever-morphing euphemisms, a famous coinage of theirs being 'differently-abled.' The thing they never seemed to understand was that you cannot make something bad non-bad by giving it a neutral name. Being disabled is bad, and it's going to remain bad no matter what you call it. Call it 'betterly-abled' or whatever you want, as the term accepted as meaning what it means, it will take on a negative valence, because it's a name for a negative thing.
   I expect that that's a lot of what's going on with 'political correctness' / 'politically correct.' It's a mass of sophistries, and many people realize that. Calling it True Goodness Of Excellent Rightness, and its still going to be an object of justified ridicule. Stinkweed by any other name...

GamerGate = PizzaGate!!!! (???)

   Political correctness survives largely by being accepted by the media. Its myths and absurdities are repeatedly reported as fact. Here's yet another tissue of lies, half-truths and nonsense, presented yet again as if they were obvious truth. 
   I don't doubt that people are harassed online, and that women are more susceptible than men. I don't doubt that there was harassment of some anti-GamerGate women... However...that's about the extent of the truth in this piece. 
   GamerGate did not begin with a campaign aiming to whip up hatred against Zoe Quinn. Rather, her boyfriend simply posted a lamentation about their relationship--in which, by all accounts, she'd screwed him over badly--on some damn obscure place (8chan?). I read a couple of the installments back in the day, and they were sad. At least in what I read, there was no discernible intent to incite harassment. But Quinn was: (a) an SJW vocal about her own SJ virtue, and (b) sleeping with a games journalist who had given a good review of her (crappy, pure text) game. So this incident caused a couple of different explosions at once. First, people got mad at Quinn personally. Second, they got mad about dishonesty in gaming journalism. Then there was what was rather clearly a coordinated backlash by gaming journalists, characterizing this all as retrograde, misogynistic political incorrrectness...and thus there was a third explosion: PC vs. anti-PC, writ small, in the world of gaming. 
   Anyway, Jeong's nonsense isn't really worth responding to. The PCs in this theater of the war are similar to those in other theaters. They lie, they make shit up, they characterize rational opposition as bigotry, they fabricate "hate crimes." Note that she doesn't mention the bomb threats called in against GamerGate conferences. Note that she doesn't mention Sarkeesian's obvious exaggerations with respect to alleged threats. 
   Then, of course, there's the utterly implausible suggestion that this has anything to do with PizzaGate...
  To some extent this is extremists feeding off of each other... But to some extent it isn't. GamerGate, to the extent that it is at all organized, does not condone harassment. It simply battles the bullshit of the Jeongs of the world. There are, undoubtedly, harassers...but that's freelance assholery, and nothing supported by GamerGate. In fact, GamerGaters tracked down one of Sarkeesian's harassers. Surely the anti-GGers know this...but they continue to ply the myths because it's politically expedient. 
   Ok whatever. Not sleeping. Not gonna proofread. Whatever.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

F-22 vs. PAK FA + Beauty Contest

Edge: Raptor.

But dayum the T-50 is one sexy-ass aircraft.
How is it the Russians make such beautiful planes?
(MiG-25 notwithstanding...)
Just in terms of aesthetics, I'm not sure what we've got to really rave about, fourth-gen-+-wise, other than the F-16... For all it's coolosity...I just don't think the F-22 can hold a candle, hotness-wise, to the PAK FA. Su-35: also hawt, obvs. (Don't even get me started on the F-35 gawd.) MiG-29: also hot. And we'd better not go back to the MiG-15 and MiG-17...though at least the F-86 and F-100 can sorta hold their own. (Ugh. Think about the comparison: F-4, MiG-21...)
So, sure, the F-22 and F-35 might be better than Russia's fifth-gen fighters...but I ask it really worth sacrificing hotness for efficiency?

Another Muslim Hate Crime Hoax

And this sort of thing should be extremely easy to

The FDA's Unauthorized War On Pipes and Cigars?

It this is the straight dope, it's exactly the kind of thing conservatives hate about gubmint--and rightly so.

Please Explain This $795 Polo Shirt To Kevin Drum

Putin Personally Involved In U.S. Election Hack

First question: is the GOP a viable American political party? Or is it now entirely a puppet of a Russian autocrat?
This question will be answered by the GOP's response to this report.
After we find out exactly who's on our side and who's on theirs, we can start formulating a more definite plan for a response.

Grant On His Feelings Upon Accepting Lee's Surrender

I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.

Samantha Bee Doesn't Understand 'Identity Politics'

   Well, this is just snarky faux liberal infotainment...or not to be taken seriously... But wow, that sure is crap. I couldn't even make it all the way through. I've been told that she's usually good, but honestly haven't seen anything but this. Which, as I think I mentioned, is not good.
   This, I guess, is now a general type of argument on the left: crazy lefty theory x is really nothing more than uncontroversially good thing, y! Political correctness is just good manners! Identity politics is just civil rights! And, hey, while we're at it, why not: Donald Trump is just a political outsider who wants to drain the swamp!?
   Here's the thing: advocate PC and IP if you want--we can have a conversation about it even. But don't pretend that radical movements are just offering up home truths. PC and IP are anti-liberal movements. Stop pretending that they're merely offering up modest ideas that we all ought to accept.

Bernie: Trump Won Because People Are Tired of PC...Sorta...

   Thing is, what Bernie describes as PC isn't PC at all. He's dissed identity politics in the past, so I had some hope that he might actually take a shot at PC...but no such luck. Honestly, though, I'm surprised when anyone on the left actually comes right out and directly attacks PC. To come right out and acknowledge, for example, that you can be's almost just not possible for contemporary liberals. I suspect Bernie knows what PC is, but just kinda lost heart when faced with the challenge to be specific about what he meant. There are other alternatives...but...ah, whatever.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dispute Over Russia Reflects Growing Republican Resistance To Trump


I say that Trump is going to be the final nail in the coffin of the GOP.
They deserve it.
In order to avoid an ordinary defeat, the GOP has put into the White House an unstable moron who appears to be in a de facto alliance with enemies of the nation. 
I abhor the influence of the extremist left on the Dems, but I'm now the sworn enemy of the GOP forever.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Inequality Is More Responsible Than Slow Growth For Destroying The American Dream

Impeach Trump If He Refuses To Follow Up On Russian Electoral Interference

Look, in all honesty, it's already clear that there are going to be more reasons to impeach this guy than not to.
We might as well get started early.

This presidency is going to be a disaster.

NYT: Russia's Hand In America's Election

Oxford Students Told To Use The Non-English, Non-Pronoun 'Ze' Instead of 'He', 'She' (?)

Can this possibly be for real?
As I often tell my students: you-all need to learn a lesson I learned very early in my life: how to say "go to hell."

This totalitarian nonsense is bad enough on its own. Even if it were the only bit of Newspeak to be forced on people, it should be resisted.
But I think you're naive if you think this is the end of it.

And look, I've long thought that English needs a non-sex-specific second-person singular pronoun other than 'it.' It would be handy, as anyone who's done any technical writing (I mean: writing that is technical...not...y'know, writing like manuals for toasters or whatever) knows. In philosophy we're all the time talking about imaginary or non-specific (contra certain feminists) they don't have sexes. So it's weird to call them 'he' or 'she.' But all the suggestions (back in the day it was usually 'co' and 'cos') always sound stupid. So they've never caught on. Which is why the epicene 'they' is preferable, IMO.
But now that they're being imposed for irrational, totalitarian reasons in support of nutty, far-left theories...they ought to be resisted.
Jebus. How is it that someone as crappy as Judith Butler has had such an effect on society?

Drum/Wang: How Did Trump Win: The Russians and the FBI

As Drum puts it:
This. Is. Not. Normal.

Benghazi vs. Russian Electoral Interference

So...lemme get this straight.
Benghazi warrants four years worth of hearings or WTF ever it was...but the possibility that Russia may have had a thumb on the scale with respect to an American presidential election days worth?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Apres Trump, le deluge

With respect to PC, I mean, in particular.
That guy's already starting to self-destruct. This is going to get ugly--and sooner than later, Trump being against x will be in and of itself a reason to be for x. (In fact, of course, that's already the way it is for some people.)
I'm afraid Trump's anti-PC schtick is going to turn out the best thing ever for the anti-liberal left.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

PC Eating Its Own Tail: Reed College / "Boys Don't Cry" Edition

This Reported Attack On A Muslim Woman Sounds Credible

This guy needs a very serious ass-kicking.

Republicans and the Problem of Investigating Pro-Trump Electoral Meddling by Russia

I just can't believe that we're dealing with this train wreck.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Comrade Trump: Russia Worked To Help Trump Win Presidency

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Student Threatened With Legal Action After Recording Prof's Anti-Trump Lecture/Tirade

'Cause somehow it's the student who's the problem here.

Kids Can't ID Fake News

Feathered Dinosaur Tail In Amber

RIP John Glenn

Well damn.

What's Wrong With Liberals, Episode 1: "Trump's Election Stole My Desire To Look For A New Partner"

Drum Falls For The HateCrimeWave Nonsense

   Look, there's little evidence that there has been some kind of hatecrimewave since the election. The reports are typically sketchy, ambiguous, and unsubstantiated in crucial ways. The left is known for exaggerating and straight-up fabricating this kind of thing. And a lot of the reported incidents have the same implausible script: groups of roving unidentifiable white guys conveniently identifying themselves as Trump supporters and committing minor acts of violence against non-white women, doing no evident harm...and leaving no witnesses.
   Then there's the schools problem: reports of distraught students...reported by faculty. And 'faculty' is a virtual synonym for: liberal faculty. So...are kids actually fearful because of Trump? Very probably not. It's probably fairly typical liberal exaggeration/artifice/fabrication. "Our students are afraid of Trump" is just a way of saying: we hate Trump. It's in the vicinity of a liberal analog of that stuff about taking Trump seriously, not literally.
   Oh, and: if the kids are afraid, it's very probable that it's their parents and teachers who made them that way. Kids generally don't pat very close attention to politics.
   So now there's this ridiculous help line. I wish they'd publish data about how many serious calls this 24-hour boondoggle actually gets. Not that those could actually be trusted.
   We had something similar happen at my place. We got an email from the "diversity" people enumerating all these terrible things that had happened on campus since the election--hatechalkings (!!), fights, flocks of students running to the counselors because of election-induced panic attacks, sobbing students asking to be escorted to the counseling center by the campus police because they were afraid to go on their own, and so on. I called bullshit on it, and an investigation by the student paper showed that every item on the list seems to have been false or unsubstantiated. The list of falsehoods was being used to argue for about $50k worth of new "diversity" initiatives. So far no acknowledgement by the relevant committee that they fell for a collection of obvious falsehoods.
   Then there was the SPLC nonsense...
   Anyway, this new nonsense is more nonsense in the same vein. Liberals are addicted to weeping about how fearful they are of conservatives...this is a way of asserting that conservatives are bad. Now they've upped their game: children are fearful of conservatives. What kind of monsters would frighten innocent children??? 
   This stuff is really sick and twisted. I think there's something deep there about the demented nature of the contemporary American left.
   I can't believe Drum fell for that stuff.

Carolina 83-Davidson 74

   Good game Wildcats, good game Heels.
   Love me some Davidson. Their double-teams on our bigs was tough.
   The bench was clutch for the Heels, Luke Maye was crucial, and Jackson was freaking awesome. It was kind of disheartening--no offense to Davidson--to see Carolina have such trouble with a mid-major team (and in the Dean Dome, no less). OTOH, we were missing two starters...and, again, we saw that we have enough weapons that, even when most of them are out or off, another can still catch fire and save our bacon.
   The Carolina that looked unnaturally well put-together early in the season is no longer in evidence...but it's that tie of year when Roy experiments with line-ups. And, again: no Pinson, no Berry.

Comet Ping-Pong Gunman: "The Intel On This Wasn't 100%"

Ya don't say?
   He actually sounds like a nice guy who made the mistake of believing what he heard in the right-wing echo chamber.
   We've talked about that before around these parts. American conservatives now commonly assert, repeat, and believe things which entail that anyone who cares about American democracy ought to start shooting people. The official theory of the crackpot right is that President Obama is intentionally trying to destroy the country. Behold Mr. Welch who seems to have the right sentiments, and doesn't seem to be a dummy. Anyone who genuinely believed that there was a child sex slave ring operating with impunity down t' th' local Chuck-E-Cheese would be a monster and a coward for not taking real steps to save the victims. Welch's error isn't a moral error, it's an epistemic one. And this is the sort of insanity that the GOP is not only tolerating but fostering and contributing to.
   American conservatism has become unhinged.

   (Which is not to say that American liberalism is all that much better. I dipped a toe back in CNN last night, only to see Kayleigh McEnany and some other bimbo yelling at each other. Liberal bimbo insisted over and over and over that TRUMP DID SAY THAT ALL MEXICANS ARE RAPISTS. It's false, it's obviously false, it's demonstrably false, anyone who is speaking publicly on the topic is either lying or ignorant if they say otherwise...yet there she was. McEnany, for her part, insisted that Trump had not contributed at all to divisiveness in American politics...on the grounds that it was already divisive before! See? Absolutely jaw-dropping. I mean, my jaw literally dropped and hung open and I turned it off after like five minutes. At least there's some small chance that what McEnany said could be true. At least it's in the realm of the not-immediately-falsifiable... It's still pretty nuts...but honestly, it struck me as a kind of distillation of contemporary liberalism, too. Up against somebody who was obviously wrong, the liberal still managed to be wronger...and more dogmatic.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Don't Forget About NYC's Lunatic Pronoun Law

Here's E. Volokh. As far as I can tell, xir arguments are solid, and similar to those that wir here have discussed. As zzzxee have noted before, it's not just about pronouns (though that would be bad enough):
...people can basically force us [sic] — on pain of massive legal liability — to say what they [sic] want us [sic] to say, whether or not we [sic] want to endorse the political message associated with that term, and whether or not we [sic] think it’s a lie.
This is basically a crucial test of whether !zz%'re a liberal or not. If !zz%r response is hell no: liberal. If !zz%'re happy to bend the linguistic knee on this one: illiberal leftist.
   Well, of course, conservatives will also be inclined to say hell no. On this issue, the right is a lot saner than the left.
   And, of course, there's absolutely not the slightest damn justification for this. Zzzxee haven't needed laws to tell &***$^s how to address people since...the days of monarchs...hmm...

   But suddenly, and with respect to this bizarre kind of case...and a theory that's clearly nuts to anyone who thinks about it for two bloody seconds...suddenly we need laws forcing us to address people in certain matter how unreasonable those ways and their demands might be.
   This is simply not a close call.
   This is completely nuts.

Jordan Peterson: Canadian Gender/Pronoun Bill Is A Warning For Americans

Only if you care about freedom of thought and expression.
Otherwise, I guess, not so much.

Ms. Danielle Muscato

   Is this a joke?
   I honestly can't tell. It could be an attempt to reductio the ad libitum conception of sex. Or Muscato could be serious. It's getting harder and harder to tell.
   At any rate, I'm just going to complain about the same old kinda thing again: Muscato can live his life however he wants, and, in general, more freakin' power to him. Apparently Danielle (nee Dan) has declared himself female...or something like that...  And, of course, he's free to say that, and even to think it. (Politically free, that is. Morally/epistemically speaking, he's lying to himself. But I'm not worried about such niceties.) His friends are free to say that he's a woman...hell, strangers are free to do so if they like. Everybody's free to! Saying false shit is not against the law, barring special circumstances.
   But he isn't a woman. Muscato is...a guy.
   And facts are stubborn things.
   And here's the Kafkaesque predicament we find ourselves in: one must commonly now--in the circles folks like us tend to move in--be prepared for accusations of bigotry for refusing to go along with a patent delusion. In Canada, as we know, bill C-16 seems on a trajectory to make failure to participate in such delusions illegal. There are already bits of legislation in NYC and DC that seem to do something similar.
   And a very large number of people seem to be just going along with this as if it didn't matter--as if it were permissible for the government to make you say false things (or: things that presuppose false things), so long as you don't care all that much about the issue.
   Sometimes I just don't get people, man.
   When did liberals become such fucking soft totalitarians?

Trump Favorability Rating: A Tremendous 50%

Shows what you know, eggheads.
[Note: would be higher if not for poll fraud--millions of undocumented Democrats responded illegally. Actually way OVER 50%. 110 at least. Media bias!]

Ohio Passes "Heartbeat" Bill; Would Ban Abortions After About 6 Weeks

Holy crap.
Not good.

In The Last Two Years, The Homicide Rate Has Exploded In Chicago; Continues To Trend Down In NYC

Holy crap.
Former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy — who was fired last year amid controversy over the police shooting of an unarmed teen — said criticism of policing methods by local officials there had left cops “hamstrung.” 
“They’re not getting out of their cars and stopping people. That’s because of all the politics here,” said McCarthy, a former NYPD cop. 
“In Chicago, performance is less important than politics. It’s called ‘The Chicago Way,’ and the results are horrific.”

Another Crappy Response To Chait on PC

Wow this, by Brittney Cooper, is awful.
The shitty methods of reasoning common on the illiberal left are on display fairly clearly here.
tl;dr: Jonathan Chait is a white male

Carrier Union Leader On Trump Deal: "He Lied His Ass Off"

Ya don't say?
What the h*ll are the rules for eliding letters from curse words now? The NYT writes 'a---' in this story. But the Post had 'fuck' in a story the other day, and everybody and his brother printed 'pussy' during pussygate.
I'm so confused.

Purdue's Commitment to Free Speech

Instead of PC indoctrination during their orientation, Purdue is giving students a kind of primer on free speech.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Trump Fires Senior Adviser's Son From Transition Team For Spreading Fake News

   Bye bye Flynn junior.
   There's a fine line between Obama's a Ferrin Kenyon and Local Pizza Joint = Pedophilia...or...I mean...I guess there must be or something.

Troy Leavitt: Gamergate Was a Consumer Revolt Against The Religion Of Identity Politics

This is worth watching.
I am inclined to agree that it's PC / "social justice" nonsense that's at the heart of the thing.

Jerry Coyne on Postcolonial Yogurt Studies

I mean...this sort of thing is risible and all...but it's also a serious matter that deserves serious, pointed ridicule. It's not serious enough to warrant a serious, detailed's already a reductio of itself, anyway. But this sort of bullshit is kinda not a joke. It's a cult of bullshit, and it's rampant in contemporary academia. It's not just speculative or obscure--it's bullshit. We need to let a hundred (or thousand, or whatever the hell that quote is) flowers bloom in academia...but this really is unadulterated nonsense. As a good friend of mine is wont to say: I could crap a better paper than that. People in real disciplines need to be more up-front about ridiculing and shooting down nonsense like this. This bullshit is sucking in clueless undergraduates and wasting valuable resources. People are, of course, free to write what they wanna write...but we're fact we have a call bullshit on bullshit.

The Secondary Break: Where's UNC's Transition Offence Gone?

SPLC Buries "Hate Crimes" Against White Kids?

   I basically don't believe anything the SPLC says anymore. I certainly wouldn't put this past them.

Pizzagate Conspiracy Theory Leads To Gunplay, Arrest

   Huh. Hard to believe that a steady stream of lies and conspiracy fictions about things like treason, collusion with terrorists, and pedophilia rings could eventually lead to trouble...but here we are.
   And in case the Trumpspiracies weren't worrisome enough already, there's this:
A new Internet conspiracy theory emerged Monday. Citing Welch’s minor background as an actor, some claimed the gun incident was either staged or even a hoax altogether. And on Sunday night, Michael Flynn Jr., the son and top aide of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser, tweeted that the Comet Ping Pong conspiracy theory might still be true. 
“Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story. The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many ‘coincidences’ tied to it,” Flynn Jr. tweeted. He later posted images of direct messages from CNN host Jake Tapper imploring him to stop spreading the rumors. 
As the story spread, Comet and other establishments along Connecticut Avenue have been subject to threats and vile social media banter, business owners said.
   You've gotta marvel at the metaconspiracy aspect of this:  lunatic GOP conspiracy theory sends dude, replete with AR-15, to DC to rescue fictional children enslaved by fictional pedophile ring in...what? The mop room of a well-known, very public, pizza's so easy to get away with massive pedophilia slave rings I guess... Instead of soul-searching among the crazy right, they just generate a metaconspiracy theory which I can only presume involves something something Democratic false flag something something. Not bad, as self-sealers go.
   On a closely related note, I've said this before: conduct a propaganda campaign arguing that your political opponents are intentionally trying to destroy America long enough, and eventually somebody's going to take you a bit too seriously. For years now, the GOP has encouraged and generated propaganda which, if true, would show that Democrats need killin'. I don't think that's what they want to happen... But I do think that they're putting certain conditions in place. If the next autocratic lunatic to come down the GOP pike is genuinely murderous, things could go bad fast. 

Monday, December 05, 2016

Michael Grunwald: "The Victory of 'No'"

   Most of this, about the GOP's unrelenting anti-Obama obstructionism, you already know. 
   But there's also:
One conservative Republican congressman who actually supported Trump’s candidacy told me his office was deluged with furious callers after he once dared to criticize Trump during the campaign. He called back one woman in her sixties who owned a vacation home in his district and had donated to his campaigns. He said the chat turned ugly in a hurry, until she said she had just three things to say to him. 
“First: Go fuck yourself. Second: I’m going to raise $75,000 to find a primary challenger to take you out. And third: Go fuck yourself.”
The congressman thought that would be the end of it, but the woman then went on Facebook and posted an account of their conversation, along with his cell phone number. For the next several weeks, Trump supporters called him at all hours to repeat his donor’s first and third recommendations.“I’m telling you, the demons have been unleashed,” the congressman told me. “And they’re not going away."

Republican Elector Will Not Cast Vote For Trump

This is right IMO:
Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with Donald J. Trump. In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think president-elects should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.
This is also reasonable, though it's a tougher call since you could argue that our understanding of the EC has changed:
The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.

READ THIS: Jordan Peterson: "We're Teaching University Students Lies"

A colleague just sent me this, and I've only scanned it and read six or seven paragraphs of it (and have to run to class now), but I'm posting it anyway because it looks very, very good.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Academic Newspeak: Utah's "Office For Inclusive Excellence"

Few Checks On Presidential Authority To Launch Nukes

There some hope in here that perhaps there are some secret checks...but not much.

AP Pulls Reporter From Trump Campaign Beat Because of "Dangerous Situation"

Did Clinton's "Deplorables" Comment Do Significant Damage To Her Campaign?

Police Decline To See "Suck It Up" Post-It Note As A Hate Crime

Now there's a shocker.
The real story here, of course, is that a university administration is willing to characterize something so entirely innocuous as an act of bigotry. There's basically a manhunt going on now in order to find and punish someone who made an innocuous (if rather crude) comment to the effect that people were overreacting. In response to it, they turned their reaction up to 11.
This is utter insanity.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

[****] TRMUP

In all honesty, I'm hoping beyond hope that a [****]ing meteorite [I'm just going to straight-up delete this part] before 1/20/17 [****] you [**********]er

[Alright. We respect the office, not the man. He's not in office yet, else I think I would have been able to muster the self-control not to post that, even in my impaired state. Anyway, I've expurgated it, FWIW. Maybe I should oughtta just delete it. It's probably not exactly alright to post things like that, even while he is (shudder) the president-elect.
Though I must say, I really am inclined to think that he represents a threat to humanity. Or at least to humainty... So I'm actually torn about what it's permissible to say.
Also, I'm hung over, so I can't even come close to figuring this out right now.]

Dana Milbank On PC As Straw Man

Although this does hint that PC isn't a problem, Milbank doesn't actually say that, and nothing he says comes close to entailing it.
It's absolutely true that some on the right use the term indiscriminately, to bash anything to their left.
And that's wrong and bad. It's bad inter alia because it strengthens PC by suggesting that mere liberalism is PC, thus helping recruit liberals to the PC cause.

Well I'm The King Of Boggle...

PC Denialism: Amanda Taub's Seminal Work

   I kinda think that this is the locus classicus of PC denialism.

Labels: ,

Belle Waring Fails To Respond To Jonathan Chait

Wow this is just awful.
I spend too much time on shit like that as it is, so I'm not going to spend it on this in particular.
There's nothing new there, and it's all been refuted before.

[Here's a more interesting issue:
I used to think that Crooked Timber was pretty good.
Has it always been this bad? Or did I used to be stupid?]

Brendan O'Neill: Fake News And Post-Truth: The Handmaidens Of Western Relativism

I'd have said 'offspring'...but whatever.
I don't necessarily agree with this, but I do think there are interesting points in it.

Vox: Organizations Tell Writers to Always I.D. the Alt-Right As Racist

   Is this ok? Or creepy? Is it true? Hell, I still don't know what the alt-right is... If it were just Vox saying this stuff, I'd doubt it...but if the AP, the NYT, and the Washington Post (which may not have such guidelines, but it's made its position on the alt-right pretty clear) all agree...I guess I'm inclined to think that where there's smoke there's fire...
   My first introduction to the alt-right was guys like Milo, who are all about poking left-wing pieties and yanking people's at first I concluded that this was just another case of lefties calling everybody to their right racist...but there do seem to be real racists in the mix...I just don't know enough to conclude for myself that racism is definitive of alt-right-ness. But since I haven't done the work of really trying to figure it all out, I expect that I'd better defer to the judgement of the AP et al.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Rener and Ryron Gracie: Awesome Kimura Counter Counter

Very cool.
Haven't tried it out yet myself though.

World War Trump: Trump Might Start WW III Before He's Even In Office

A god. damned. buffoon.

Trump Has Already Started Screwing Up Our Foreign Policy

Jeez what an embarrassment.
Oh and also: dangerous...I mean...there's that part too...

(Though, sidebar: is Farage actually anti-immigrant? Or is this akin to one of those intentional conflations of 'anti-immigrant' with 'anti-illegal-immigrant'? I don't know anything about Farage.)

Danger Zones contra "safe Spaces"

   I've been meaning to post on my fascinating idea that those of us derisive of "safe spaces" should start characterizing our offices and other parts of campus as "danger zones"--that is places where "dangerous" ideas and conversations are welcome. Yancy's recent characterization of himself as "dangerous" makes me think that the sane campus center really ought to seize on something like that idea and that locution before the far campus left co-opts it.

George Yancy And the "Professor Watchlist"

   Ok so there's this "watch list" thing. I said this, and I guess it's still about what I think. I haven't looked at it and don't know much about it...but I don't like it. I'm actually going to check it out after I write this...but there's some value in doing some thinking whilst (been looking for a chance to deploy a good 'whilst' for awhile now) behind a veil of ignorance. This is not the sort of thing I'd be crazy worried about...and, as I wrote, if the list is accurate, then, by a familiar PC argument, PCs shouldn't complain about it. If they care about consistency. Which...most don't... But still!
   Anyway, then there's this by George Yancy, who I've talked about here before (George Yancy Gives You The Gift Of You Being Racist). I started off prepared to be sympathetic. By the time Yancy is done comparing himself to Socrates and indicating that his classes are a parade of not-very plausible far-ish left orthodoxies...jeez...I've got to say...way less sympathetic here. (There's also a completely unmotivated gesture at Newspeak, which we, here at the institute, frown upon. There's nothing about Newspeak in anything substantive that Yancy writes.)

   One way people get polarized, according to me, goes like this: we aggregate opinion on the other side in such a way that we end up attributing to everybody over there all the worst ideas. This comes into play most notably when we gleefully go for consistency ad hominems. HA HA! BUT YOU GUYS THINK THAT P AND NOW YOU SAY THAT NOT-P! Which, in practice, often turns out to mean: somebody over on your side thinks that p, and you think that not-p.
   So that's bad.
   Buuuut.... Imma gonna do it anyway.
   Such points sometimes aren't valueless... Anyway: the PC left on campus is famed for shouting down dissent and demanding conformity to their newly-minted orthodoxies. Consider Jordan Peterson who has ignited a firestorm by simply refusing to use the language in non-standard and poorly-justified ways. (I don't completely agree with all of Peterson's arguments, and I'm somewhat less certain about singular uses of 'they'--but I'm disinclined to nitpick when he's right about so much and besieged by people who are crazy about almost everything.) Even small deviations from PC demands can land you in hot water with a left that is powerful on campus, on-line, and in many disciplines. The PC left is fine with this. In fact, they think it's good. In fact, they make it clear that, were they unchecked by liberal policies, their wrath would have far more dire consequences. Against that backdrop, a website that keeps track of (let's suppose) only the most egregious excesses of left-wing professors...doesn't seem all that bad. Does it? But maybe it's just the backdrop talking.
   As I wrote before, I'm not so sure that it's all that bad that there should be a list of professors who exhibit actual, excessive bias in the classroom. Students are, to some extent, a captive audience. We retrograde folk think that they have an obligation to approximate objectivity. Scholars on Yancy's side of things often don't. Objectivity, as they sometimes put it, is your liberal hang-up, bub. Knowing what I know about people and their crap, I'll bet that this list won't be particularly good...OTOH, a truly accurate list of biased profs...uh...wouldn't that actually be a good thing? Theoretically?
   Anyway, by the time Yancy is done talking about his views, I'm thinking: if an undergraduate asked me about taking one of Yancy's classes, and I had to answer, I wouldn't be able to recommend it. Sounds like a load of standard-issue PC/neo-pomo confusions to me. You got all the credits in the world, and you have some interest in hearing the take of someone whose views are skewed way, way in that direction? Then by all means, knock yourself out. You have three or six or twenty precious credits and you want to hear the best which has been thought and said? Well, I'd not recommend spending them on such classes. Others will disagree.
   Finally, and again: the PC left is very fond of what I called the freedom from criticism argument. That is, they commonly say: we're not against free expression (note: that is false.) But you can't expect to be exempt from criticism for your views. (Note: no one does expect to be. What they expect is not to be accused of bigotry for non-bigoted positions. They also expect to not be shouted down for expressing reasonable views. But anyway.) So this argument seems applicable here. Yancy is free to teach what he wants. But he can't expect to be free from criticism for it--or to be free from being classified as biased. Especially if he actually is. Which it sounds as if he might well be.
   In the end, I suppose that this will largely come down to how reasonable and accurate the list is. Honestly, I'm not at all sure how to answer these questions in general / in abstraction from facts about its accuracy.

[Also: what's the real harm of showing up on this list? I see that profs are already clamoring to get on it. They seem insulted that they aren't already. Being "persecuted" for your leftism is basically the dream of many an academician. I used to have a conservative Christian student who kept trying to get the department to sponsor a mock trial in which philosophers tried to convict Jesus (played by him, natch') of perjury. I pointed out to him that (a) he was getting the burden of proof wrong, and (b) we were never going to stop laughing that idea out of the room... But anyway...the glee with which he contemplated that idea reminds me a bit of what's going on with profs eagerly looking to get on this list.]

Trump Surrogate Hughes: "There's No Such Thing...Anymore, As Facts"

You in the reality-based community will probably find it shocking for an actual grow-up human person to say:
And so Mr. Trump's tweet, amongst a certain crowd—a large part of the population—are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some—amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up. Those that do not like Mr. Trump, they say that those are lies and that there are no facts to back it up.
But...uh...well...I think that's shocking...but...huh?
   Maybe the Trump camp is trying find some common ground with the pomo/PCs...

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The N&O Gets Even More Desperate And Even More Sleazy

   Dan Kane and the N&O have dedicated themselves to harming Carolina and Carolina athletics especially. As it's become clearer and clearer that the "paper class" scandal really was centered on two people in the AFAM department and not MBB or football, Kane and the N&O have become downright desperate. Their sleazy, dishonest hit piece on Eric Hoots today was a new low even by their denigrated standards. By all accounts Hoots is a great guy, and no one with more than an ounce of brains and honesty is going to buy this latest and lowest effort by the Nuisance Observer.
   Give it up, Kane.
   You've lost.
   Oh and: your team sucks.

Maureen Sullivan: Are There Really More Hate Crimes At Schools Following Donald Trump's Election?

   Sullivan's guess, like mine, is: probably not.
   She notes, as I have, that a whole lot of these stories sound alike: roving bands of generic, unidentifiable white males pushing down non-white women...with no witnesses. And the alleged victims seem to rarely contact the police. Also, I'd add: there's seldom any actual physical harm involved.
   Also: there are several verifiable incidents of violence against Trump supporters since he election. There are witnesses, and there's actual, physical harm.
   And remember: the left has an extensive history of perpetrating "hate-crime" hoaxes.
   Of course I'm not saying that there are no such incidents...but I'd bet money that there's no "hate-crime"-wave.

PC Denialism: Moira Weigel Explains That PC Is Totally Made Up By Trump And All In Your Head And Stuff

   This, by Moira Weigel, is pretty terrible.
   It's that time of the semester, and I don't have a lot of time to spend on this, but...the bottom-line: Weigel is either massively and systematically mistaken, or she is being intentionally dishonest, or some combination of the two.
   The relevant fact of the matter is:  political correctness is a real phenomenon.
   There is simply no seriously disputing this. Weigel's piece is just the latest in a long line of efforts by the left (see elsewhere hereabouts...I'm too lazy to link to it) to straightforwardly deny the facts. But saying so doesn't make it so, pomo-y gibberish notwithstanding. Weigel's piece is full of fallacies and outright falsehoods. I'm inclined to say that the very fact that the left is so desperate to deny the existence of PC should tell us something...but such protest-too-much arguments are notoriously shady and ripe for ( I trying to have my cake and eat it too, here? Suggesting that criticism but explicitly disavowing it? I hope not... I don't mean to be...or do I?)
   But look: in a way, articles like this are good news. Here is a major, empirical claim by the PC left: PC does not exist. This is not some abstruse Foucauldian mumbo-jumbo, nor some pseudophilosophical sophistry that might, with sufficient deviousness, be defended until everyone loses interest...this is a straightforward empirical claim. And it is (relatively) straightforwardly refuted by the facts. Definitional niggling to the side, it is extremely easy to show that PC denialism is false. There are whole websites devoted to chronicling the antics of the kooky campus left. Here's one. Here's another. This is just a fast refutation: those sites are fairly low-grade, they get things wrong a fair bit, they spin, they covertly stump for Trump and so on. But they're far from valueless. FIRE's a much more serious place/organizatoin, and one dedicated to defending against just one particular type of craziness (right and left). If even half--even 1/3--of the widely-available reports of PC lunacy were true, we'd still have a very significant problem. But even without any effort at seriously gather evidence, here's something that's perfectly clear:
   The proposition that PC is not a real phenomenon is an empirical one
   It is provably false
   It's also somewhat interesting, I suppose, that the assertion that PC is not a real phenomenon can itself plausibly be construed as a PC claim...but there's probably not a lot of reason to make too much of that.
   Weigel does get a fair bit of the straight history of political correctness right, to her credit--that is, of course, if you ignore the blatantly polemical parts of her account.
   There's really nothing new in the piece, so I won't bother to refute it in detail, but here's a depressingly representative paragraph. The author is writing of stuff by e.g. Chait and Haidt and Lukianoff:
These pieces committed many of the same fallacies that their predecessors from the 1990s had. They cherry-picked anecdotes and caricatured the subjects of their criticism. They complained that other people were creating and enforcing speech codes, while at the same time attempting to enforce their own speech codes. Their writers designated themselves the arbiters of what conversations or political demands deserved to be taken seriously, and which did not. They contradicted themselves in the same way: their authors continually complained, in highly visible publications, that they were being silenced.
   This is a stew of falsehoods and fallacies. Chait et al. don't "cherry-pick" anecdotes: they point to real incidents which, though often notable, are also representative of the broader phenomenon. Admittedly, when we're discussing phenomena of this kind at an informal level, we tend to focus on extreme examples--but this is standard practice and nothing peculiar to Chait and Haidt.  At any rate, at some point "cherry-picking" becomes just giving examples. And that's what critics of PC typically aim to do. But reasonable people might disagree on this point.
   But then we get:
They complained that other people were creating and enforcing speech codes, while at the same time attempting to enforce their own speech codes. 
That's some fairly high-grade intellectual dishonesty. First, the PCs did and do actually advocate for actual codes restricting expression, and they have been notably successful in getting them adopted. To the best of my knowledge, no prominent critic of PC has ever advocated for anti-PC speech codes. Chait, Lukianoff and Haidt certainly have not. To criticize policies limiting expression is not yourself to advocating a policy limiting expression. As sophistry goes, that bit above isn't even good sophistry.
   Furthermore, even if true, it would still be a fallacious tu quoque. Even if anti-PCs had advocated speech codes, that would not show that PCs had not advocated speech codes. Speech codes are wrong, and whoever advocates them is in the wrong. PCs undeniably advocated them--as even Weigel does not directly deny. Her only defense is the other side does it too! Which is false...but, even if true, would only be of marginal relevance.
   Furthermore: here we have another empirical claim: critics of PC advocate anti-speech codes. This should be provable, if true... So perhaps Weigel might cough up the evidence?
  I wouldn't hold my breath for it.
  Ok, these crap arguments are not worth this much time, so I'll condense the rest. Here's the next bit of the paragraph above:
[The] writers designated themselves the arbiters of what conversations or political demands deserved to be taken seriously, and which did not.
   To criticize a position is not to "set yourself up as an arbiter of what should be taken seriously. An arbiter is someone who has the power to decide more-or-less by fiat. To offer arguments that some view is false is nothing of the kind. Everyone has a right to speak on a subject of this sort, and to point to relevant arguments. To offer your opinion--especially when it is well-informed--is not to claim the power to rule on the issue. It's to exercise your right to participate in a discussion. Weigel's point here is unadulterated casuistry.
   (It might also be worth noting, as a kind of sidebar, that the PCs do seek to set themselves up in such a role. That's not a tu quoque against Weigel, it's just a relevant aside.)
   Finally, another bit of nonsnse:
They contradicted themselves in the same way: their authors continually complained, in highly visible publications, that they were being silenced.
If this argument were valid, it would mean that any prominent complaint about being silenced would be self-refuting. This really is a shabby bit of dishonesty. There is nothing self-refuting about writing in the Washington Post that some opinions on campuses are being silenced. I can complain here about infringements of rights there without thereby disproving my own point. Furthermore, no one anywhere has ever argued that the PC suppression of opinion is absolute. To argue that dissent is being stifled or discouraged is not to argue that dissent is impossible. Two seconds of serious thought should make this clear. There is simply no inconsistency involved in saying that someone is impeding your freedom to say things.
   And this is just one paragraph of Weigel's piece--though, admittedly, one of the worse ones. (Am I cherry-picking??)
   Political correctness is a significant problem. It's significant problem even if Donald Trump says it is. Even a stopped clock... But here I'm interested in a more minimal point: PC exists. It is a real phenomenon. The evidence for this is widely-available and not seriously refutable. Weigel's piece is merely the latest failed effort in a long line of failed efforts by PCs and their allies to deny that the movement/problem even exists. However, Weigel's arguments are patent sophistry, and the reality of PC is an empirical, provable matter.

Did You Know that It's Legal For Illegal Immigrants to Illegally Vote In CA? Obama Told Them They Could

   A fair bit of the American right now simply does not care about facts and evidence.

OSU Knife Attacker Was Taking A Course On "Microaggressions"

   Ok, let's not jump to any causal conclusions.

Donald Trump, Embarrassment To The Nation: Pakistan Phone Call Edition

Well, if you voted for this guy because you hate America and seek to humiliate us in a way that will endure for the rest of all of our lifetimes...however long they might turn out to be...then...well...good job, I guess.

Carolina 67-Indiana 76

Good game, Hoosiers!
Carolina channelled the spirit of the '14-'15 team, failing to show up for the first half, and being unable to dig themselves out of that hole in the second. Hoosiers played well, and, of course, Assembly Hall is a tough venue.
Next up: Radford at the Dean Dome.