Archive for December, 2014

Memo For File CXCI

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

So, this happened…

Number Eleven, yay! Our proggie friends will be quick to remind you, though…along with our hippie friends, and who can blame them…there’s a dark side to this. “Don’t encourage him, nothing good can come from it!” Heh. They’re right. Or, mostly right anyway.

On the other hand, there is one good thing about it. If you follow the link, and you have a Facebook account that allows you to read, you’ll notice there is a lively discussion ensuing under the statement that won this coveted honor. Said lively discussion is drawing topic drift the way a new wool sweater attracts cockleburs, and cat hair. So the award offers the opportunity to pick up where the earlier observation gave way to all these charged agendas…like, thou shalt not speak ill of ANY immigration, legal or otherwise…makes us look like racists…what broke Detroit…

Here’s the full statement, in context:

We have things that are supposed to be illegal that “really” are not, like sneaking across our national border, and we have things that are supposed to be allowed but are “really” against the “law,” like for example forming a Young Conservatives group on a college campus, smoking cigarettes, or wearing a “Proud to be American” tee shirt to a high school on Cinco de Mayo.

It is dangerous, living under two sets of laws like this. It’s not an Obama problem, it’s a baby-boomer problem. The hippies have reached the age where they’re expected to be in charge of things, but they still want to rebel against authority when they are the authority. Their generation has manufactured a contradiction which, I’m afraid, is not finished with doing all its damage yet.

Elsewhere, I waxed lyrically of the great schism that is taking place: People are arguing about definitions. I summarized it more elegantly off-line, in an e-mail:

Our “civilization” at the moment…is embroiled in a cold civil war, in part because it has grown quite the appetite for young people who are not curious, youth who have little or no use for definitions, who can easily be told what to think. This cold civil war is between people who refuse to define things, and people who MUST see to it that things are strongly defined before they can do what they do.

Architects and Medicators. People who solve the problems they encounter by way of thought, versus people who address every thought-challenge by way of feeling, often losing sight of the difference between feeling & thought. The “cold civil war” is still cold, but it’s been heating up for awhile, and is approaching an ignition point as we close out Anno Domini Twenty Fourteen.

I continued this observation in Thing I Know #435:

I notice there is an ability some people have and some people do not have. We might think of it as the ability to comprehend definitions that have provide no objectively discerned meaning, applying interpretations that require the human element. Is this room tastefully decorated, is that joke funny, is it fun to watch that person give a speech. In our time, this ability is generally mutually exclusive from the ability to perceive truth. It isn’t hard to demonstrate: Was so-and-so only kidding when he said such-and-such. We see people heckled, ridiculed, scolded, for failing to “get the irony” or for having taken something too literally. The danger involved in diagnosing learning disabilities in, and prescribing medication for, these people is that it sidelines most of the people who might have the ability to get something useful built. An irony-genius, or denizen of a relative-reality universe, isn’t in a good position to build anything involving any level of complexity because you have to perceive hard, concrete, cause-and-effect relationships to do things like that.

People like me who entirely lack that other ability, that “comprehend fuzzy definitions” ability, actually can get irony pretty well. Matter of fact, we can see irony better than those who accuse us of not being able to get irony.

For example: The irony of this cold civil war, in which those who seek to avoid definitions, find they must labor toward entirely defrocking the other side of any status or influence whatsoever, so that nobody of note or significance is taking the time or trouble to define anything — is this. Should they win this cold civil war, they will lose everything. I mean everything. The things they want, the things they need, all these things rely on something being properly and meaningfully…defined.

But the cold civil war is approaching some sort of flash-point. Or anyway, it’s in some state of ascension, unprecedented ascension, about to get as bad as it can get. Because those who have worked their entire lives to rebel against authority, now find themselves in the position of being the authority. It’s on them to find some way to reconcile this. It’s a job that can only be done poorly, or not at all.

And so, as I said, we have two sets of laws. We have things that are illegal but “really,” wink-wink nod-nod, aren’t. And other things should be legal — in fact guaranteed rights — but actually are, wink-wink-nod-nod, Verboten.

Right or wrong, good or bad, that’s where twenty-fifteen finds us. Can’t wait to see what happens next. Happy New Year!

Can’t Find Enough (Excellent) Programmers Here

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Paul Graham says

American technology companies want the government to make immigration easier because they say they can’t find enough programmers in the US. Anti-immigration people say that instead of letting foreigners take these jobs, we should train more Americans to be programmers. Who’s right?

The technology companies are right. What the anti-immigration people don’t understand is that there is a huge variation in ability between competent programmers and exceptional ones, and while you can train people to be competent, you can’t train them to be exceptional. Exceptional programmers have an aptitude for and interest in programming that is not merely the product of training. [1]

There’s a footnote there. What’s the footnote?

[1] How much better is a great programmer than an ordinary one? So much better that you can’t even measure the difference directly. A great programmer doesn’t merely do the same work faster. A great programmer will invent things an ordinary programmer would never even think of. This doesn’t mean a great programmer is infinitely more valuable, because any invention has a finite market value. But it’s easy to imagine cases where a great programmer might invent things worth 100x or even 1000x an average programmer’s salary.

That’s all very true. And yet, there is something about this that doesn’t quite fit. There is a shortage of programmers in the United States who “have an aptitude for and an interest in programming” and it has to be filled by way of immigration? So, the home-grown programmers are programming, but ordinarily and not exceptionally. They’re not thinking outside the box. We need to import some talent to think of these new ideas.

If this really is true and it is causing such a grave crisis — and, in my experience, I’ve not seen much support for this pattern, but that’s anecdotal so let’s let it go for now — the thing for us to immediately ponder is not how we can tinker with our immigration quotas, but what might have led us culturally to this sad state of affairs. What is the experience of a home-grown programmer with “an aptitude for and interest in programming that is not merely the product of training”? What becomes of his ideas? How welcome are they? How much resistance does he encounter when he comes up with them? Or she. What are the consequences, stateside, for thinking outside of the box?

I’ve heard others gripe about the “Not Invented Here” syndrome. I’ve had my taste of it. Hearing about it from others preceded my own experience with it, so I know it isn’t just me. Great programming implies great engineering, and if we’re going to value great engineering, we’re going to be attacking problems at their roots, as in root causes. Not hacking away at the leafy part. This is America. Whether you want to argue the point about whether we deserve our reputation for creativity and innovation, we do have it, and we had to have gotten hold of it somehow.

If American schoolkids show a little bit too much creativity where they’re not supposed to, they get medicated until they stop showing it. Are these technology firms, so desperate to get hold of this exceptional programming talent, but failing at it and being forced to ship the talent in from overseas, weighing in on this? Before you accuse me of topic drift, keep in mind I’m merely taking Graham’s argument seriously and this question just arises naturally out of that. It would be dumb of them not to do something to exert influence here, if the crisis is so acute.

And how acute is it?

The anti-immigration people have to invent some explanation to account for all the effort technology companies have expended trying to make immigration easier. So they claim it’s because they want to drive down salaries. But if you talk to startups, you find practically every one over a certain size has gone through legal contortions to get programmers into the US, where they then paid them the same as they’d have paid an American. Why would they go to extra trouble to get programmers for the same price? The only explanation is that they’re telling the truth: there are just not enough great programmers to go around. [2]

I asked the CEO of a startup with about 70 programmers how many more he’d hire if he could get all the great programmers he wanted. He said “We’d hire 30 tomorrow morning.” And this is one of the hot startups that always win recruiting battles. It’s the same all over Silicon Valley. Startups are that constrained for talent.

Another footnote. What’s this one say?

[2] There are a handful of consulting firms that rent out big pools of foreign programmers they bring in on H1-B visas. By all means crack down on these. It should be easy to write legislation that distinguishes them, because they are so different from technology companies. But it is dishonest of the anti-immigration people to claim that companies like Google and Facebook are driven by the same motives. An influx of inexpensive but mediocre programmers is the last thing they’d want; it would destroy them.

Well, that last part is simply not true. Microsoft got fed up awhile back with running into expensive reversals due to the human factor, even in situations in which everybody had done their jobs competently, even excellently. And so they did something Graham hasn’t done here. They defined something (via Coding Horror):

Just last week we were having a meeting where the subject of personas came up. This may have been blogged about in the past… but… we have three primary personas across the developer division: Mort, Elvis and Einstein.

Mort, the opportunistic developer, likes to create quick-working solutions for immediate problems and focuses on productivity and learn as needed. Elvis, the pragmatic programmer, likes to create long-lasting solutions addressing the problem domain, and learn while working on the solution. Einstein, the paranoid programmer, likes to create the most efficient solution to a given problem, and typically learn in advance before working on the solution.

So, the CEO of the startup would hire 30 Einsteins tomorrow morning, is that what we are to infer from this? Graham doesn’t say because he doesn’t make the distinction. From my own experiences, I would have to doubt this very much. You’re apt to be just as frustrated trying to get an Einstein or an Elvis to do Mort work, as the other way around. The “Mort,” when all’s said and done, tends to be the most precious. At least, in the sense being discussed here, in supply versus demand. You always need more Morts.

Think of the conceptual knowledge as a large cake, not only gargantuan in size, but expanding continuously. I myself have sometimes compared programming personas to spatulas and icepicks. Some programmers move laterally, as if spreading frosting, not penetrating much. Some stab through and drive downward all the way to the pan. The problem with these icepick people is they don’t generate this horizontal movement too quickly. And this creates a supply-and-demand issue not too friendly to them, because when you’re talking about staffing a campus full of buildings with tens of thousands of “programmers,” the horizontal frosting-spreading motion is what you really want. Yes you need a few of the vertical-stabber-learners who can isolate just a few particularly arcane fields and then learn every little facet of those fields. But you won’t fill up buildings with hundreds or thousands of those. You’re going to fill them with Morts.

And, these tech firms are doing exactly that. Consider what would happen if this were not the case. Think of the math. Two hundred people to a floor of a building, between two and four floors to a building, somewhere between five and fifty buildings to a campus. Well up into the thousands…and then you go to the next campus in the next city, and count it again. Then you go to the next company that has buildings on campuses, and count it again. This is in service of “a great programmer might invent things worth 100x or even 1000x an average programmer’s salary”? The math doesn’t work. These aren’t lottery tickets that you buy for a dollar and then toss aside when the game is over. These are smart, talented people, whose time is valuable. But, there is a misstatement being made here about what exactly it is that they do.

And then there’s this counterpoint. It’s completely devastating:

No, we need to leave all those people sitting at home and rewire all our immigration laws to ensure that some mythical ‘exceptional programmers’ can get here. We’re not told why that’s such an imperative, it’s just asserted. We’re not told why tech companies are supposed to be so super-picky (and why we’re supposed to indulge this super-pickiness in job-matching), it’s just taken for granted.

This isn’t a minor quibble. I mean by the same sloppy logic –

The US has less than 5% of the world’s population. Which means if the qualities that make someone a great programmer are evenly distributed, 95% of great programmers are born outside the US.

we might just as well assert that 95% of ‘great’, oh, let’s say, construction workers, or librarians, or dental techs, are born outside the US. But I mean, and I hate to be the one to ask this, but so what? Does this mean we need to displace all the domestic construction workers/librarians/dental techs so that we can suck up only the ‘great’/’exceptional’ ones from elsewhere? If so, why? That’s ridiculous. But if not why not, and what’s so special about programming in particular that national policy should be bent around the one pole-star of making sure all companies are packed with supposedly ‘great programmers’, to the exclusion of all other considerations?

I have a “lawyer rule” about this: When someone wants to propose something be done to some particular industry, like should the “workers” be forced to unionize, and then surrender part of their paychecks in “dues” that go to supporting democrat politicians whether they want that to be done or not — ask yourself, could it, should it, would it ever work the same for lawyers? Is anyone going to insist that lawyers unionize, and pay dues to elect politicians they don’t like? That agenda item fails the test. And, so does this one. Lawyering, if you need it, is critically important. Nobody ever asks for an “adequate” lawyer, especially someone who’s in need of a divorce lawyer. Should we start meddling with the immigration quotas so we can import some really excellent divorce lawyers? After all, it stands to reason 95% of them weren’t born here!

So in conclusion, my inferences about this are,

1. Graham is right. Americans may have a commanding lead over the rest of the world in using this-or-that technological toy, but they don’t lead the rest of the world in understanding how the toys work, and that is bound to mean that the United Stats doesn’t possess any sort of monopoly on the world’s programming talent.

2. However, it is dishonest to suggest our domestic resources have been exhausted, or that these tech firms are struggling in futility trying to locate creativity, inventiveness — those things that have historically been part of the American landscape. If that was really what they were trying to find, as they hire new bodies by the tens of thousands, and we knew they were starting here and then ending up begging for immigration quotas to be lifted, then that ought to sound big, loud alarm bells with anyone. Heck, it should sound those alarm bells with the situation the way it is. But that’s another matter.

3. I’m sure there are programmers coming in under Visas earning salaries comparable to the few programmers who were born here or live here, and manage to find work. But there are a lot of costs outside of salary. Before you hire the talent, you have to find the talent. How expensive is it to find the talent here in the United States? How sure is the process, how much faith can you put into it?

4. What Congress is being asked to do, by these tech firms, is to assist them as they give up hope in the country. You can say the situation is not that simple, but you’d be wrong. And this is a significant point, since Congress is the country. This country has a legacy of inventing new things, thinking up new ideas, then making them happen. If that’s nothing more now than an echo in the ash bin of history and the snapshot of the present is some approximate reverse of that, the concerned patriot should be asking why. If his attention is not focused there, he forfeits any claim of concern about the country’s future.

5. We have advocates for more imported and excellent programmers, but not advocates for more imported and excellent divorce lawyers…or bankers or construction workers or dental techs. The issue is not “programming.” If I do yield to the temptation of drawing too much on my own experiences, the one thing about this industry that really sets it apart, and might make it a special target for this effort that ignores the other vocations, is what everyone seems to be overlooking: Independence. This makes sense, at least insofar as it’s something that deserves inspection, because independence always scares a lot of people, and it always scares them a lot more than they’re willing to admit. Their own, along with someone else’s. Me, I’m a high school grad. Without programming, I’m supposed to be…I dunno. Construction worker, librarian or dental tech? Guy who stacks the soup cans in a pyramid on aisle four? Something not as independent. Through my mixtures of success and failure, I’ve often had to bear that in mind, without this livelihood I’d be doing something not-as-independent. And, I’ve met my share of people who would like that, a whole lot. I continue to meet them, and be made aware of them. And that’s how I see this Paul Graham piece, to be honest about it. Wonder how he feels about high speed rail? It has not escaped my notice that these people laboring long and hard for more immigration in the tech fields, seem to be the same as the ones who love trains so much.

“Intelligent Design, Anyone?”

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

From behind the WSJ paywall, via Gwynnie at Maggie’s Farm.

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself.

Respect the paywall…tease only…

Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang,” said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments. He later wrote that “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology…The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

It offers food for thought, not only about the origins of the universe, but about the nature of atheism. How can “atheism,” as we have classically known it as more a lack of belief than a presence of it, be “shaken”?

And then there is the other matter: What does it take to make it so?

Related: (update 12-29-14) How’s this for an attention-grabber? severian points out, true atheism actually is not even possible.

Not so sure I can go so far as the disbelieve the disbelievers, although there is a certain delicious irony in entertaining the idea. I have met those who’ve made up their minds there is no god, and insist on the ‘g’ being lowercase if anybody writes about this belief, as I just did. But — by that time, it is a belief. We’re back to that troubling differentiation between the presence of a belief, and the absence of one, and strident atheism most certainly is more presence than absence. It is a catechism of beliefs, sequences of events that provide alternative explanations, whether they can be supported by evidence or not. And how does the militant atheist respond to challenges against these alternative explanations? They simply blot them out, just like any militant religious-person.

By that time, the doubt has become a doctrine. It is a religion, just like any other, simply lacking the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent humanoid being. But, religious in all other aspects.

I Made a New Word LXXII

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Wanna-conomy (n.)

This one is a bit complicated…

Years ago I had learned, along with many other people interested in the subject I suspect, that the forces at work in an economy are supply and demand. My learning was that they are like at opposite ends of a seesaw. If one is in ascension then the other will be in a state of descent, both of these have some effect on the price of a product or service, and eventually things will stabilize — supply, demand and price. If we’re looking at a commodity on the stock exchange, then this search for supply/demand/price stabilization will be renewed daily. Also, an abundance of the one will intensify the power exerted by the other: If many people are demanding a certain item, and there is a limited number of suppliers of it, then the price will go up. If there are many suppliers and only limited demand, conversely the price will go down. This results in signaling. An “economy,” when you study it awhile and think about it awhile, turns out to be nothing more than a network of those signals. Because of this signaling, the tendency is toward benefit for all because the supply will respond to the signals; people will labor toward creating whatever it is that other people need. They’ll move their vocations around, away from the products and services declining in price due to this signaling, toward the products and services that are becoming more precious, so that abundances are relaxed and scarcities are cured.

My new word describes, essentially, a newer economy in which this circuit is being shorted because the whims of the suppliers are unnaturally affecting the nature of demand. Retail consumer technology has devolved to become a good example of this. When a new phone comes out and people line up around the block to get hold of it, there is no tug-of-war between supply and demand because the supply is the demand. Apple made something; I want whatever it is. Have no clue what it does. I just want it.

It can work the other way too. Let’s say my lawn is too big for me and I need to have it mowed. This is one of those jobs Americans won’t do. In that classic economy loaded up silly with signals, there would be no such thing. We lawn-owners would have trouble getting someone to cut the grass for a little while, then we’d offer a bit more money, and more, until finally some intrepid hard-working kid says “Okay, I’m in.” But nowadays, they just don’t wanna. And they’re not the only problem in this, of course. So supply affects demand. Eventually, the homeowner hires an illegal alien to do it, or gives up on the whole cycle, plows up the grass and replaces it with bark.

The point is, when there is a connection between the two ends of the seesaw, it can no longer operate like a seesaw. Today, we still have signaling. But the signaling is, too much of the time, from the suppliers to the those who demand, such that the demand ends up being nothing more than a reflection of whatever is in supply. The suppliers, in turn, then end up doing whatever they wanted to do. It’s then up to the consumer to find a way to make it fit.

The first casualty of this is the signaling. Without suppliers of valueless products being told to go get stuffed, there is no way to measure what does & does not have value to the consumer. And so, after the signaling, the next thing to go is the value. There may be a frenzy of economic activity going on, but without measured value there isn’t much value in the transactions at all, and it all becomes just a bunch of work. Value-less work. Like an electric fan someone forgot to unplug.

At the end of it, you just have a bunch of spoiled, first-world hipsters standing around, each one with a million dollars or more in his bank account, but capable of buying nothing with it, holding signs on the sidewalk that say “WILL SURF THE INTERNET FOR FUD.” That’s the ultimate consequence. I think we’re well on our way at the end of 2014:

Fiber optics. New technologies. Obsolescence. We’re dead alright. We’re just not broke. And you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure.

You know, at one time there must’ve been dozens of companies makin’ buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best goddamn buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company?

In order to understand what is going on with the US of A at the end of 2014, you have to understand the changing global dynamic. It isn’t just new technology. It’s the difference in what happens to you, if you keep making the best goddamn buggy whip anyone ever saw.

The lunacy of the times in which we live is that the spirit of Danny De Vito’s speech about obsolescence, has itself become obsolete. A company that makes buggy whips won’t be “dead, just not broke,” staggering on for a year or two before collapsing into debris. These days, suppliers decide demand. Apple has proven it over and over again. So with a little bit of advertising, in such a scenario there would emerge a crushing demand for buggy whips, to match the undemanded supply.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? It isn’t. It’s terrible. It’s a disease. The market has lost its ability to send signals, which when you think about it, you come to understand that that’s all a market really is, a network of signals.

Our “market” produces an awful lot of stuff nobody ever needed. The people who produce these things are terribly busy meeting deadlines and they may have a great sense of purpose about them. But too many among them are missing actual customers. Or, have customers who are reluctant customers, customers regulated into being customers. Like “clients” of a collection agency. Or, customers buying the product without any need for it in mind, often buying the thing just to find out what it does.

REAL demand would say: We need more American kids learning about technology, starting with how many bits are in a byte, then working their way up to coding, software construction, then design, then project management. Then, studying the mistakes of previous technology pioneers who started companies that way, and then messed up & killed their own companies. In the meantime, if any houses or yards or orchards have to be purchased, do the yardwork on those. But demand is dictated by supply now. American kids don’t want to pick fruit, and they don’t want to pick bits out of bytes either. So we have illegal immigrants pick the fruit and cut the grass, and among our natives who actually want to do something with technology, it seems the thing to do has become to create more & more & more certification tests. Why bother with being the guy who builds stuff, when you can be the guy who dictates how other people build stuff? Just like, why be the guy who cuts grass, when you can be the guy who hires the illegal alien to cut the grass?

I’m convinced, at this point, if we were all a bit more motivated to ask on a daily basis “Waitaminnit, am I building a buggy whip?” — there’d be a lot more Americans cutting their own grass and picking their own fruit, nudging their own kids to do those things, dishing out the “You’re under my roof” speech my peers heard so much during our own childhoods. And things would be different in technology. Lots more new products. Not games. Not yet-more computer languages. Regulatory requirements, in Year N, would be a lot more similar to the ones in Year N+1, or Year N-1. Our innovation would not be in innovating new rules. It would be in building things other people can actually use. We seem to have gotten away from that a bit.

How did it happen? What it is, and has been, is an invasion. There is work that has something to do with supply-and-demand, and then there is work that doesn’t have to do with this. Non-producing work. Unproductive work. The electric fan someone forgot to unplug. Stuff you have to buy even though you’d rather not; regulated stuff. Supply that dictates the demand.

The unproductive work has been invading the productive work. And then, as invaders always do, it has started to tell the invaded what’s-what, and what-for. It began with the bureaucrats. Non-producers who want to dictate to producers how, when, and where they do their producing. The consumers are then left to consume whatever is produced — and, not to question it.

Dave Barry’s Year in Review 2014

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Yeah, and I can see what he did here

On the domestic front, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the rollout of Obamacare, resigns from the cabinet to take a position overseeing email storage for the Internal Revenue Service.
In Washington scandal news, the Internal Revenue Service, responding to a subpoena, tells congressional investigators that it cannot produce 28 months of Lois Lerner’s emails because the hard drive they were stored on failed, and the hard drive was thrown away, and the backup tapes were erased, and no printed copies were saved — contrary to the IRS’s own record-keeping policy, which was eaten by the IRS’s dog. “It was just one crazy thing after another,” states the IRS, “and it got us to thinking: All these years we’ve been subjecting taxpayers to everything short of rectal probes if they can’t produce EVERY SINGLE DOCUMENT WE WANT, and here we lose YEARS worth of official records! So from now on, if taxpayers tell us they lost something, or just plain forgot to make a tax payment, we’ll be like, ‘Hey, whatever! Stuff happens!’ Because who are we to judge?”

But all kidding aside, you can bet that before this thing is over there will be a strongly worded report.

These things always make me think something like “Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about that.” The Lois Lerner thing is seriously depressing, you have to discard so much common sense in order to take the dog-ate-the-homework excuse seriously, after awhile it just gives you a migraine.

And then you think — wait, this is how the administration behaved before losing the last election to which they will ever be beholden. Let’s face it, good stuff happened in 2014, bad stuff happened in 2014, all in all it was a very wild, loud year, and most of us are hoping 2015 will be a bit quieter. In the category of elected & appointed officials acting like overlords who own us lock stock & barrel, and putting on these little shows to pretend they’re somehow accountable to us, hoping to fool only those who follow along most casually and think most slowly…there isn’t much reason to hope for a slowdown.

The IRS told Congress to go stuff it, in response to a subpoena no less, while the midterm elections loomed. Now those elections are over. What happens next?

American Achiever of 2014

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Sarah PalinWho else?

[Sarah] Palin achieved what such luminaries as President Obama did not: a place in the Smithsonian’s prestigious “Most Significant” list. After being written off by many in the media, and especially the left, as “irrelevant” and predicted by MSNBC’s Krystal Ball as “not going to have an effect on the [2014] midterms,” Palin’s record of success of her endorsed candidates was nothing short of phenomenal.

Governor Palin endorsed 22 candidates for various offices during the midterm finals, including senators, governors, lieutenant governors, congressmen, and attorneys general. Of those so endorsed, an incredible 20 were elected – contrasted with, for example, Hillary Clinton’s record of 8 wins out 24 endorsed candidates.

Beyond the success of her endorsed candidates lies a much deeper reason for Palin being seen as “Achiever of the Year”: those Palin endorsed in their respective primaries who then went on to win the general election battles. As in the past with, among others, senators Ted Cruz, Kelly Ayotte, and Deb Fischer, and Governor Nikki Haley, who owe their elections in their primary campaigns to Palin’s endorsement at a critical juncture, so too could new senators Ben Sasse and Joni Ernst, and new Alaska governor Bill Walker (and, remarkably, his Democrat lieutenant governor Byron Mallott) be considered to owe all or a substantial part of their nominations to Palin’s endorsement.

The Party of Weakness

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Mona Charen:

Democrats have done very well politically by convincing voters that they are, in a very broad sense, on the side of the little guy. “Republicans,” they say, “take care of the rich, but we Democrats are the party that brought you Social Security, Medicare, Head Start, the Civil Rights Act, free school lunches, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and Obamacare. We are the party that will tax rich Republicans to fund government programs that help poor and middle-class Democrats.” Like mothers, Democrats are nurturing and supportive.

There are a few little problems with this narrative. Most of those programs, for good or ill, had bipartisan support. Further, Head Start has been a colossal failure; the school lunch program is overly broad and encourages waste; civil rights laws have been interpreted to permit quotas and “reverse discrimination”; AFDC wound up encouraging unwed childbearing and arguably contributing to poverty; and Obamacare is causing the middle class to pay higher premiums for more limited medical care while still covering only a fraction of the uninsured.

Still, the “mommy party” retains its “caring” image.

The Democrats have another reputation. They are perceived as the party of weakness — against both criminals at home and enemies abroad. Events of the past several weeks and months have underlined that second reputation in (pardon the expression) red ink.

The Democratic senators’ decision to release a report excoriating the CIA for “torture” after the 9/11 attacks was designed to impugn the Bush administration and the nation’s security agencies. In weak-minded fashion, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her colleagues insisted that the harsh interrogation of terrorists was immoral and also completely ineffective.

There is nothing intellectually dishonest about rejecting torture or anything close to it. But when the senators insist that it didn’t work — despite the contrary assessment of five CIA directors of both parties — they betray a fundamental unseriousness. Of course it worked. That’s why it presents a moral dilemma. Otherwise, they’re asserting that the CIA is manned by sadists who did these things for kicks. Presumably, if that had been true, Eric Holder’s Justice Department, which conducted a lengthy investigation, would have brought charges. But it didn’t. Finally, the senators’ claims that they were kept in ignorance have been abundantly contradicted by the public record and by statements from the CIA officers who did the briefings.

The attempt to discredit the Bush administration and engage in moral preening failed. Polls showed that despite the Senate report, Americans support the limited use of harsh interrogation by a 2-1 margin.

I’m not in complete agreement with all this. The corollary of motherhood with the democrat party, to me, seems flimsy. When mothers are nurturing, it’s supposed to be out of a vision that the child should eventually become stronger. Admittedly, some small-em moms present some problems for this, some of them even become emotionally attached to their childrens’ lack of ability to provide for themselves. But, they are the freaks, the exceptions that prove the rule.

The democrat party, on the other hand, is deeply invested in weakness. Of everybody. If we can think for ourselves and provide for ourselves, we’re less likely to vote democrat. They know it, we know it, they know we know, we know they know.

We only pretend otherwise out of a lazy, habitual form of misguided etiquette, just to prop up the empty “not a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties” narrative.

The “party of the little guy” thing doesn’t hold up either

Democrats bagged the bulk of big dollar donations in the 2014 midterm elections according to an analysis by the Associated Press.

Out of the $128 million spent by the top 10 individual donors to outside groups, Democrats hauled in $91 million or 71% of donations.

“Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats—a group favoring the GOP doesn’t appear on the list until No. 14,” reports the AP.

Democrats also enjoyed a 3-to-1 cash advantage when it came to the 183 groups stroking checks of $100,000 or more. The liberal National Education Association (NEA) topped the list of big money donors at $22 million. The top ten list contained zero Republican-leaning groups.

“They’re total hypocrites when it comes to this subject,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “They’ve made a living off campaign talking points when, in reality, they’ve been raking in more money from millionaire donors than Republicans for quite a while.”

You Can Thank the Supreme Court For Credential Inflation

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Jesse Saffron, writing in National Review Online:

Before the early 1970s, many employers did not require that applicants have college degrees – even for well-paying jobs necessitating advanced skills and intelligence. A high school diploma and a passing score on an employee aptitude test were, in many instances, enough for a worker to advance in a rewarding and lucrative career. Unfortunately, as George Leef points out in today’s Pope Center feature, the Supreme Court’s decision in Griggs v. Duke Power (1971) effectively precluded employers from basing hiring decisions on aptitude test results. The reverberations of that decision are still being felt today.

In Griggs, the Court deferred to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) interpretation of section 703(h) of the Civil Rights Act (CRA), which permitted employers to use a “professionally designed ability test” so long as the test was not “designed, intended or used to discriminate…” The EEOC, which enforced the CRA, had promulgated a broad interpretation of that provision, making it illegal for a test to have a “disparate impact” on minorities. For example, if an employee aptitude test disproportionately weeded out black applicants, it would be considered illegal.

As Leef makes clear, the end result of the Griggs decision was that employers became paranoid about using aptitude tests, for fear of potential litigation costs. Instead, they began to use the college diploma as the new employee screening device. “We probably have a college ‘bubble’ just from the effects of easy federal college aid and the push by politicians for educational attainment, but by making employee testing legally dangerous, the Griggs decision helped inflate it,” he writes.

From the Leef article that was mentioned & linked above,

The justices ignored the legislative history and gave deference to the federal agency charged with enforcing the law, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC had promulgated guidelines on employment testing. Those guidelines advanced the idea that had been rejected in the debate over the Civil Rights Act, that tests would be illegal if they had a “disparate impact” on minority groups. Furthermore, the EEOC declared that if a test had a disparate impact (that is, minority workers were disproportionately affected), the employer would bear the burden of proving that it had a “business necessity” for using the test.

Chief Justice Burger’s opinion deferred to the EEOC’s reinterpretation of the law. Duke Power was in violation because its educational and testing requirements had a disparate impact on minority workers. The law, he wrote, required “the removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment where the barriers operate invidiously to discriminate on the basis of racial or other impermissible classification.”

Requiring either a high school diploma or ability to pass the two tests seemed to be artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary, so out they went.

The full Griggs opinion is here.

The decision, with the ramifications defined above, is — was — a continuation from a regrettable trend that had become pronounced during the Earl Warren era of the Supreme Court: The burden of expectation shifting toward anticipation of what will happen next when someone says “I’ll see you in court.” Progressives, and they are not alone in this, think that makes the Supreme Court decisions great decisions. They make the Supreme Court more powerful, don’t they? So they’re “landmark” decisions. Trouble with that is, there was a reason that people who made these on-the-job judgment calls were forced to reckon with what the Supreme Court would say, should litigation follow: There wasn’t any other way to predict what would happen. SCOTUS became more and more nonsensical, and so “common sense” became unequal to the task of prediction.

And so, “testing” became all about not-testing, just as enforcing the law became all about not enforcing the law. Might as well let the bad guy go, the courts are going to toss the case out anyhow.

An interesting, if unanticipated, side effect of this is that all these years later even a high school diploma isn’t good enough. Not even for picking up dog crap in a park or sweeping leaves off a sidewalk. The history shows that this isn’t due to high school graduates having done an inadequate job of sweeping sidewalks, but rather a power struggle between common sense, and the power lust & overreach of federal agencies.

Global Warming’s Upside-Down Narrative

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Bjørn Lomborg, by way of Kate at Small Dead Animals:

When politicians around the world tell the story of global warming, they cast it as humanity’s greatest challenge. But they also promise that it is a challenge that they can meet at low cost, while improving the world in countless other ways. We now know that is nonsense.

Political heavyweights from US Secretary of State John Kerry to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon call climate change “the greatest challenge of our generation.” If we fail to address it, Kerry says, the costs will be “catastrophic.” Indeed, this has been the standard assertion of politicians since the so-called Stern Review commissioned by the British government in 2006.

That report famously valued the damage caused by global warming at 5-20% of GDP — a major disruption “on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the twentieth century.”

Tackling climate change, we are told, would carry a much lower cost. The president of the European Commission promised that while the European Union’s climate policies are “not cost-free,” they would amount to just 0.5% of GDP. Indeed, politicians of all stripes have reiterated the Stern Review’s finding that global warming can be curtailed by policies costing just 1% of world GDP.

Climate policies, moreover, are said to help in many other ways. US President Barack Obama promised that policies to combat global warming would create five million new green jobs. The EU claimed that green energy would help “improve the EU’s security of energy supply.”

With the completion of the latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we can now see that this narrative is mostly wrong. The first installment of the IPCC report showed that there is indeed a climate problem – emissions of greenhouse gases, especially CO₂, lead to higher temperatures, which will eventually become a net problem for the world. This result was highly publicized.

But the report also showed that global warming has dramatically slowed or entirely stopped in the last decade and a half. Almost all climate models are running far too hot, meaning that the real challenge of global warming has been exaggerated. Germany and other governments called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted.

The second IPCC installment showed that the temperature rise that we are expected to see sometime around 2055-2080 will create a net cost of 0.2-2% of GDP – the equivalent of less than one year of recession. So, while the IPCC clearly establishes that global warming is a problem, the cost is obviously much less than that of the twentieth century’s two world wars and the Great Depression.

Again, not surprisingly, politicians tried to have this finding deleted.

Goddard has been noticing this as well: So fragile is the narrative, that you have to keep deleting inconvenient and inharmonious facts in order to keep it believable. And it seems this is getting harder and harder to do.

Obama the Uncollegial Consensus-Shredder

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, notices President Obama unilaterally altering our relations with Cuba, along with other things; she doesn’t offer a list of examples, but it wouldn’t be hard to compile one. Taking executive action on the illegal alien invasion is another example, as is the reversal of position on gay marriage, of what she describes: “…what he has always really wanted…is to be either a King or a Dictator: someone who decrees something and then briefly tells the world why it should be grateful, before heading off to the links.”

I’ve noticed this for awhile. The process of Barack Obama going off to mull things over in His head, however that is done — seems to receive an awful lot of weight. Infinite weight, in fact, in this new Obama-era vision of how government should work, since nothing else matters. Who are you to say? Who is Congress to say? Heck, who is the Barack Obama of 2007 to say? King Barack went & mulled it over for a bit, why consider anything else?

What’s interesting to me about all of this is not really Obama. I identified his presidential-singularity a long time ago, so nothing he does surprises.

No, what’s interesting to me are the people who are captivated and energized by his authoritarianism, and utterly silent on questions of constitutionality or collegialism.

They’re interesting because — by and large — the people who are cheering Obama’s moves to stop talking and simply push his wishes through, are the same people who gush over the collegiality that Pope Francis is bringing to the leadership of the church.

The pope is reaching out, drawing bishops into discussion; he is bringing them to advisement committees; respectfully hearing them out as first among equals — he’s doing all he can to eliminate the old perception that the papacy is a dictatorial, authoritative office — out of touch with either the leadership or the people he serves.

In general, people think this is a good thing, as do I.

Obama, on the other hand, will not reach out; he will not draw legislators into discussion or bring them in for advisement; he is not respectfully hearing anyone as, as “first among equals.” Rather, he is doing all he can to redefine the presidency as a dictatorial and authoritative office, not only out of touch with either the leadership or the people he (ostensibly) “serves,” but prone toward telling them to eat their peas and take what’s good for them, unless they’re Goldman Sachs.

In general, most people think this is a bad thing. The president is supposed to lead, which means practicing the art of persuasion, of bringing people around; he is not supposed to simply rule.

There are some people out there who are strangely competent at holding two opposing thoughts in their heads: Pope Francis is a collegial consensus-builder, and that is an unqualified good. Obama is an uncollegial consensus-shredder, and that…is also, somehow, an unqualified good.

Something profoundly dishonest in that, don’t you think?

The checks and balances of America’s constitutional republic, and the questions-and-answers they inspire, apart from occasionally annoying America’s First Holy Emperor, apparently are a bit much for a few others to try to handle. They demand a bit of inspection and deep thought, in an era in which people can’t muster up much appetite for such things.

Your Status Updates Are Coming Across a Little Arrogant

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Finally found this clip again, over here, where I compared the two characters to myself (left) and our good blogger friend in New Mexico (right), who I learned a few days ago shucked his mortal coil.

Seems he noticed the similarity too. Glad he saw the humor in it, and that at curtain call, he was surrounded by family. He was one of our first readers, and over the last decade there were signs the end might arrive while he was in solitude. I recall there was one occasion on which he worried that the his time had come, with no one around. It was obviously not his preference.

He chastised me many times that I needed an editor. He was right about that, I never managed to put the budget together. But he was qualified to criticize, since he had a talent for making fascinating writing out of situations that others, myself included, would not be able to make interesting. And on top of that, he had class and wit. I will miss him. As you can see from the comments, it isn’t just me.

“Scrooge Was A Liberal, Studies Show”

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

John Merline, Investors Business Daily:

Just about every year at this time, “A Christmas Carol’ shows up somewhere on TV, as do headlines about how one Republican or another is the modern equivalent of the tale’s greedy miser, Ebenezer Scrooge.

“The GOP’s sad Scrooge agenda.” “GOP Protecting Ebenezer Scrooge.” “Maher Likens Republicans to Ebenezer Scrooge.” “Republicans play the role of the stingy Scrooge.”

Ebenezer ScroogeYou have to wonder if these folks have actually read “A Christmas Carol” or spent any time pondering what Scrooge actually says and does. Because if you do, you come to realize that Scrooge more closely resembles a modern liberal than a conservative.

A major clue comes early in the story, when two men collecting for charity arrive at Scrooge’s office. After asking Scrooge for a donation to help the poor and needy, Scrooge responds: “Are there no prisons? And the Union workhouses? Are they still in operation? The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor?”

He goes on to say, “I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

Modern translation: I pay taxes to support the welfare state, why should I give money to you?

Turns out, that’s a decidedly liberal viewpoint.

And there’s more. There, and here, and here and here. Blogger friend Phil presented the same argument a few years back. We’ve said so ourselves.

It stands to reason, really. Like Robert Mitchell said:

The real difference between conservatives and liberals, today:

Liberal: Someone should take care of this! Or, We need a program to take care of this!

Conservative: ++sigh++ It looks like it’s up to me to take care of this…

Prisons and workhouses, prisons and workhouses…programs. Versus, trot your wrinkled ass down to the butcher shop, and buy the Cratchit family a big turkey yourself.

Just went and watched it last night, the good version, to make sure it’s still good. It is. And it’s always rewarding to see a left-winger turn into a God-fearing, fix-it-yourself, rightward-leaning Tea Party guy…even if it is in Victorian England, and the conversion job requires an extra shove from the supernatural realm.

Of course, some people still don’t get it. There it is again: Someone else should do something, someone else should stop worrying about how expensive something is. A liberal is a fellow so nice, he’ll give you the shirt off someone else’s back. But whatever. Merry Christmas to all.

Rosie and Whoopi

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Two rich media whore starlets yelling at each other about who makes a better victim.

This is what victimology — trying to create an identity for yourself based on your weaknesses instead of your strengths — does to you. It warps thinking. Even within those who never had a chance to think through anything rationally, it takes whatever lopsided, ramshackle, crooked-line thinking they can manage to bring, and warps it more.

It’s not just these two airheads, it isn’t even just rich media whore starlets. The root cause of the consternation here is the question of influence. There’s an unwritten and unspoken rule here, that there is a class to be defined and anyone outside of that class should have zero influence. Those within the class, of course, should have infinite influence. On that, the two rich media whore starlets agree. Their disagreement, clearly, is on where & how the periphery should be drawn. Who should be in, who should not be.

But the premise of the question, on which they agree, is flawed. It isn’t sustainable. It promises the rest of us nothing, no solutions to any problems, only more fighting. And maybe that’s the whole point.

Climate Change is Dead Last

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Via Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm: Climate Change… Who Cares?

Thanks to the blog of the irrepressible Hilary Ostrov, a long-time WUWT commenter, I found out about a poll gone either horribly wrong or totally predictably depending on your point of view. It’s a global poll done by the United Nations, with over six million responses from all over the planet, and guess what?

The revealed truth is that of the sixteen choices given to people regarding what they think are the important issues in their lives, climate change is dead last. Not only that, but in every sub-category, by age, by sex, by education, by country grouping, it’s right down at the bottom of the list. NOBODY thinks it’s important.

You could make the argument that “nobody” has the right idea about this thing, that all these assorted demographic groups, along with “everybody” as a whole, are guilty of making an awful mistake. Whether or not I agree with that, it bears the beginnings of a semblance of rationality.

What would not be rational, is an argument that “climate change” has failed in any way to garner the sort of widespread attention it might merit. That would be bollywonkers. The issue has had its shot. It had a fair shot. Plus a whole lot more.

Here we get into one of the observations I’ve made over the years about experts, or rather, the people who busy themselves with propagating the experts perceived opinions, questionably secure in the idea that they know the subject matter because they’ve “listened to the experts.” There is: Concluding that the expert opinion must be the correct one. There is: Listening to experts. Those two are two different things. They are not the same.

Conversely: There is not listening to the experts, and then there is listening to the experts and concluding that the experts, for whatever reason, are full of crap. Those two are two different things. They are not the same.

The world has listened, already, to the experts. First one to yell something about fixing the problem by “raising awareness” gets a slap across the face. With a glove. With a brick in it. It’s a dead issue, let’s move on to the next problem.

The Republican-Hating Lady

Friday, December 19th, 2014

I was going to duplicate the headline from the original piece, but I found out that that headline has been in a state of flux:

Editor’s note: This article was originally titled “We Can’t All Just Get Along” in the print version of the magazine. The title was then changed, without the author’s knowledge or approval, to “It’s Okay to Hate Republicans.” The author rejects the online title as not representative of the piece or its main points. Her preferred title has been restored. We have also removed from the “Comments” section all threats to the author’s life and personal safety.

At this point I’m doing an eyeball roll anytime anyone says they’ve received death threats due to their public remarks, regardless of their ideology or position. I doubt like hell I’m the only one. Double-eyeball-roll if the evidence has been scrubbed. But, back to the change of headline: “Not representative of the piece or its main points”? Let’s just skip forward to her strong finish…

According to researchers, the two core dimensions of conservative thought are resistance to change and support for inequality. These, in turn, are core elements of social intolerance. The need for certainty, the need to manage fear of social change, lead to black-and-white thinking and an embrace of stereotypes. Which could certainly lead to a desire to deride those not like you — whether people of color, LGBT people or Democrats. And, especially since the early 1990s, Republican politicians and pundits have been feeding these needs with a single-minded, uncomplicated, good-vs.-evil worldview that vilifies Democrats.

So now we hate them back. And for good reason. Which is too bad. I miss the Fred Lippitts of yore and the civilized discourse and political accomplishments they made possible. And so do millions of totally fed-up Americans.

Well gee, I’m not quite seeing how “It’s Okay to Hate Republicans” is an unfair summary. I think most people of all ideological persuasions, reading this piece casually, would make that their main take-away.

Let’s see how she starts it, up-top:

I hate Republicans. I can’t stand the thought of having to spend the next two years watching Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted Cruz, Darrell Issa or any of the legions of other blowhards denying climate change, thwarting immigration reform or championing fetal “personhood.”

This loathing is a relatively recent phenomenon. Back
 in the 1970s, I worked for a Republican, Fred Lippitt, the senate minority leader in Rhode Island, and I loved him. He was a brand of Republican now extinct — a “moderate” who was fiscally conservative but progressive about women’s rights, racial justice and environmental preservation. Had he been closer to my age, I could have contemplated marrying someone like Fred. Today, marrying a Republican is unimaginable to me. And I’m
 not alone. Back in 1960, only 5 
percent of Republicans and 4
 percent of Democrats said they’d
 be “displeased” if their child married someone from the opposite
 party. Today? Forty-nine percent 
of Republicans and 33 percent of
 Democrats would be pissed.

According to a recent study 
by Stanford professor Shanto
 Iyengar and Princeton researcher 
Sean Westwood, such polarization has increased dramatically 
in recent years. What’s noteworthy 
is how entrenched this mutual animus is. It’s fine for me to use the word “hate” when referring to Republicans and for them to use the same word about me, but you would never use the word “hate” when referring to people of color, or women, or gays and lesbians.

And now party identification and hatred shape a whole host of non-political decisions. Iyengar and Westwood asked participants in their study to review the resumes of graduating high school seniors to decide which ones should receive scholarships. Some resumes had cues about party affiliation and some about racial identity. Race mattered, but not nearly as much as partisanship. An overwhelming 80 percent of partisans chose the student of their own party. And this held true even if the candidate from the opposite party had better credentials.

How did we come to this pass? Obviously, my tendency is to blame the Republicans more than the Democrats, which may seem biased. But history and psychological research bear me out.

Let’s start with the history. This isn’t like a fight between siblings, where the parent says, “It doesn’t matter who started it.” Yes, it does.

A brief review of Republican rhetoric and strategies since the 1980s shows an escalation of determined vilification (which has been amplified relentlessly on Fox News since 1996). From Spiro Agnew’s attack on intellectuals as an “effete corps of impudent snobs”; to Rush Limbaugh’s hate speech; to the GOP’s endless campaign
to smear the Clintons over Whitewater, then bludgeon Bill over Monica Lewinsky; to the ceaseless denigration of President Obama, the Republicans have crafted a political identity that rests on a complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all.

I think I can see why some well-intentioned editor put a headline on her story that wasn’t in concert with her “main points”: She hasn’t supported them. The Republicans are more to blame than the democrats, because some Republicans had some bad things to say about democrats? To establish a relative superiority in the blame department, you would have to compare. You would have to at least look at the bad things democrats have had to say about Republicans. The Republican-hating lady didn’t even bother.

She’d better brush up on her main-point-making skills before she goes someplace where they’re going to be tested, like for example, college! Oh…uh…wait

Susan J. Douglas is a professor of communications at the University of Michigan and an In These Times columnist. Her latest book is Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism’s Work is Done (2010).

Well now. I would hope people of all political persuasions would be inclined to agree — that is a problem. A “professor of communications” has to go running around, getting the last word in on her arguments, enforcing how people interpret her messages, persuading one editor to overrule the other editor to get the headlines “right.” This doesn’t impress me as a stellar job of communicating, nor does it impress me as professorial work. Well, nowadays, maybe it is. The University has weighed in:

On Thursday, university released a statement saying that the “views expressed are those of the individual faculty member and not those of the University of Michigan.”

“Faculty freedom of expression, including in the public sphere, is one of the core values of our institution,” university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said, according to M-Live. “At the same time, the university must and will work vigilantly to ensure students can express diverse ideas and perspectives in a respectful environment and without fear of reprisal. The university values viewpoint diversity and encourages a wide range of opinions.”

So if I’m a Republican student in her class, I know I can rest assured I’ll be all, you know, graded fairly and everything.

Actually, I’m less concerned about that than I am about the irony-immunity involved in saying things like “complete repudiation of the idea that the opposing party and its followers have any legitimacy at all” — in context of the rest of her remarks. That isn’t just failing to support a point, or lunging to alter a point after it’s gotten a little bit too much publicity in the wrong places. That last one, there, borders on a mental feebleness. And it’s not just Susan J. Douglas who suffers from this problem.

What’s really going on here though is the black-and-white thing. I’m not talking about race, I’m talking about the “need for certainty…lead[s] to black-and-white thinking.” We, here on this blog, have been dragged into that thing about black-and-white thinking. Yes, there is something going on here and it does have to do with the differences in the way liberals and conservatives see opposites. Affirmative action is a good example, although there are many, many others. You have equal treatment, without regard to race, sex, creed, nationality, sexual preference, et al. Then you have unequal treatment. Libs will make the point, unequal treatment is really equal treatment; conservatives will respond, correctly, no those two things are opposites. The lib, reliable as a sunrise, will observe that the opposition is engaging in this “black-and-white thinking” which is supposed to be somehow erroneous…

Uh, problem. Opposites are opposites. When things are opposites, they are not the same.

On Planet Liberal, I’ve noticed, it is seen as a proper rebuttal to find some increment between the extremes. In other words, they don’t seem to understand relativity. East. West. Ah ha, but here is a point that is East of some things, West of some other things! This shows how your black-and-white thinking fails! Er…actually, when you find an increment between two extremes, that doesn’t prove the two extremes are the same. They still remain opposites. If anything, finding an increment between two extremes proves, or at least provides support for the idea, that the opposite extremes are indeed opposite extremes.

Proggies do that an awful lot, I notice. They support arguments that rely on things being the same, when those things are really different, like the equal/unequal-treatment thing with affirmative action. Just as often, they support arguments that rely on things being different, when they’re actually — for all practical purposes — the same. And they do an awful lot of what Professor Douglas did here, accuse the other side of having some sort of monopoly on exclusionary or negative feelings about the opposition, and then within a few short sentences go on to prove that it isn’t so. They seem genuinely ignorant of the irony.

Nuclear Surgeon General

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I’m not sure why there’s so much fuss…Barack Obama is doing the picking, so you knew we weren’t going to get a “Top Doctor” who would be concerned about, you know, doctoring…

The idea that members of the President’s Cabinet work for the Congress, acting as their agents in concert with the President, was briefly popular during the Reconstruction era. It’s been given a fair shot, and it doesn’t work. They’re not reflecting the will of the Senate, certainly not of the House — they work for their boss. He hires them. He fires them.

From IJ Review:

Vivek’s confirmation is the result of the nuclear option, that allowed the Senate to override a rule or precedent by a simple majority vote. This option ruled out any possibility of a GOP filibuster from senators in opposition to Murthy’s confirmation.

If this is an example of why we should have kept the Senate filibuster for confirmations, it isn’t a very good one. Surgeon General? I’m still not following why we have one.

“Guns are a health issue.” So, a silly person with silly ideas got parked in a silly place. Where does the grave damage happen? Now if Murthy is nominated for the Supreme Freakin’ Court, that’s a different conversation. But, again, constitutionality. Can it be reasonably said that “advice and consent” have not been forthcoming, when the Senate can manage 51 out of a 100 votes in favor, but not sixty?

Attack the problem at the source. The electorate has some responsibilities. If we have fifty-one senators in favor, there are much bigger problems that need fixing.

And then there’s this:

However, now that the nuclear option is within control of the GOP, it will certainly be interesting to see their response.

“Their” who? In context, seems like it’s gun control supporters, but it could be the White House. Doesn’t matter much, I guess, it’ll be interesting to see responses all-around.

Especially with a Republican President doing the choosing and a Republican Senate doing the confirmations, with 51 votes.

Back to Murthy: This is an asterisk by his name, is it not? What is there for the Surgeon General to do, other than appear on television and speak with the air of gravitas, as in “Nobody knows medicine better than this guy because he’s the country’s top doc”? Which hasn’t actually been confirmed, is never tested, and ultimately the bureaucrat ends up being just another gasbag, another high profile clown. The gig doesn’t add prestige, it ultimately diminishes what the individual has brought. But when the whole point of the job is, the Senate says this guy is the top doc, that’s about the only way the 51-against-60 thing matters. And it isn’t in a good way.

And there’s another thing: If guns are a health issue, what all else is a health issue? How about public debt and bloated government? We could start quite a list…I might start such a list with, “People affecting the public policies affecting guns, when they don’t know anything about guns.” Followed by the destructive effect the welfare state has on families in America. And then go from there.


Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Brevity has its advantages.

You Shouldn’t Have to Make a Cake You Don’t Want to Make…or Something…

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Free speech for me but not for thee.

I was actually leaning toward the baker-lady’s side, in the beginning. It started off in the same situation as the guy who was bullying the Chick Fil A cashier just because she was showing up for work and doing her job. But, then she lied about being that person. Said he needed to speak to someone else, then insisted she was standing up for HER beliefs, trying to have it both ways. Then she started swearing a blue streak at the guy.

Ultimately, the point is made. The “You should be forced to accommodate customers against your beliefs” thing fails. It is the successful saturation of our society with this viewpoint, ironically, that reveals how the viewpoint doesn’t work; if it doesn’t apply to everyone, it shouldn’t apply to anyone. And it obviously goes only one way.

So if we’re really about “equality,” we’ll jettison it right away. Let’s sit back and see if that happens.

Wright on Left

Friday, December 12th, 2014

John C. Wright, via Gerard at American Digest:

If the Left were stupid or insane, they would sometimes, by sheer statistical random chance, sometimes voice real outrage over a real injustice, or dismiss as unreal a complaint that actually was, for once, unreal. But they are always silent over real outrages and injustices, except when (“Little Eichmanns”) they applaud them, and always outraged over imaginary outrages.

The only way to get a nearly perfect score of absolute unreality and absolute injustice in each and every stance voiced by countless people over countless years is if three things are true:
1. They all share, openly or tacitly, the same assumption
2. That assumption influences, informs, or controls each and every stance
3. That assumption, either directly or indirectly, substitutes justice for injustice in their thinking, reality for unreality.

If this were true, then the Left would have for unreality the same longing, adoration, loyalty, and hunger for truth which philosophers, scientists, reporters, engineers, and all men of good will by rights should have, and the same longing, adoration, loyalty, and hunger for justice which both victims and those lawmen and law-abiding citizen eager to avenge them by rights should have.

I submit that the one assumption all Leftists share in order to be Leftists is that life is unfair, and the unfairness is manmade, springing from the laws and customs, institutions and habits of mankind, which exploited a unsuccessful victim to the benefit of the successful victor; ergo any man, church or nation who is successful won its success under the crooked rules and corrupt practices of these same unfair laws and practices; ergo the successful are in the wrong, and the more successful they are, the more wrong; ergo again the only way their victims can be made right is for the successful to give away the ill-gotten fruits of success to the victims, and the laws and practices of man shall and must change to prevent the unfairness from happening again.

That assumption controls their every stance…
Any man who does not blame his fellow man for the injustices of nature is not a Leftist. He lacks the proper level of resentment to qualify.

Leftism is politicized envy.

You see, the Left are losers. They are stupid people who want to be thought smart; people with no taste who want to be thought cultured and artistic; selfish cowards who want the palm leaf of martyrdom and the gold medal of heroism; but who, in no case, can actually perform.

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, give a bunch of fancy speeches to offer the superficial impression that they’ve done something. And start a political movement to find fault with others who have done.

Releasing the Report

Friday, December 12th, 2014

CNN Reports. And I sense something…something I have not felt since…

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein aggressively defended her decision to release a controversial Senate torture report Tuesday, despite assertions from the CIA that interrogation techniques detailed in the report were effective in thwarting attack plans, capturing terrorists and saving American lives.

In a testy interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room,” Feinstein said she wasn’t going to get into whether CIA Director John Brennan was lying about the torture techniques’ effectiveness, but that “there’s a big difference of opinion.”

Yes — there it is again. Someone “winning the argument” by refusing to discuss something.

Someone female. A female person no sane straight male person would ever want to take to bed & see naked…never, ever, ever ever ever. Which doesn’t matter, of course, except for one thing: Jumping Jehosephat, we certainly have been seeing a lot of this, haven’t we? Every place there is an idea being practiced, or proposed, that is execrable and cannot be defended. If you can’t win by accusing your opponent of racism, you go for the “yard duty teacher” approach, with I’m-not-gonna-do-this. Do the “bitch pitch.” I refuse to discuss this! I’m not gonna go there! I’m not going to get into that! Me, me, me, it’s all about me…anything to avoid discussing that which should not be discussed.

What a poor fit that is for her sales job. Here’s a report! Thought you should know! We need to discuss this some more! Okay, let’s discuss it. Oh, whoa, hey I’m not gonna get into that…

I remember ten years ago, I was seeing at least some persuasive thoughts delivered on both sides of this “torture debate.” It took some mulling-over for some people to realize, duh, hey waitaminnit: If this is wrong only because we would not want to have it done to us, and that’s all it takes to call something “torture” and therefore to intone with an air of finality that it ought not be done to anybody else, then that should apply to everything we do to these people (who want to kill us) that we wouldn’t want to have done to us. We’d have to turn them loose. If it doesn’t work that way, then why? What’s the difference?

No one’s come up with one.

Now, with the passage of a decade, we see people have started to noodle out the obvious. No longer are we seeing strong, persuasive points presented on both sides of the torture debate, points that make you think. What we’re seeing now is just a big turd. A turd being left by a lame-duck Congress.

What’s the upside? There isn’t one, except if you’re a democrat, or someone who wants to see democrats win. By 2006 this was working for them: We’d put them in power, and our government would stop dripping water on the heads of people who want to kill us…which would somehow make us all more morally elevated in some way, or something. We gave it a fair shot. It didn’t work, democrats did very little to elevate our moral standing, they did much more to elevate our debt, along with the cost of living. Which is what happens whenever they’re put in charge.

So we fired them, and now they want to make the discussion cyclical, so we can all revisit the parts of it that produced electoral results more to their liking. But it isn’t working, because in the interim, everybody’s been doing some learning. Well, maybe not everybody. But enough of us.

It isn’t that I doubt anyone will find out anything new from the release of the report. The surprise will be in who will do the learning, and what exactly it is that will be learned. I don’t think these are going to be in sync with the expectations of those who made the decision to release. Yeah, DiFi, I don’t think I’d want to get into that either.

“All Lives Matter” is Controversial Now

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Warner Todd Huston’s column appears in Liberty News:

Trounced by race-based protesters, a college president found out that all lives don’t matter and only some lives matter when she accidentally sent out a message that said “All Lives Matter” instead of saying “Black Lives Matter.”

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney sent out an email to students and administrators in which she inadvertently said “all lives matter.” Her message provoked the ire of racebaiters who don’t want the phrase “black lives matter” to become a message of inclusion.

McCartney was told in no uncertain terms that she isn’t allowed to say “all lives matter,” because only black lives matter to these activists.

In the original email, obtained by Campus Reform, Kathleen McCartney used “all lives matter” in the email detailing the “struggle” and “hurt” the Smith community was experiencing following the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

“We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest; yet we wake again to news of violence that reminds us, painfully, of the stark reality of racial injustice,” McCartney wrote.

McCartney also announced the college’s plan to institute a new Chief Diversity Officer to support programs and conversations to advance social justice.

However, it was the subject line that had Smith students up in arms. Students took to social media to chastise McCartney, blaming her skin color for her lack of understanding.

“No, Kathy. Please do not send out an email saying ‘All lives matter.’ This isn’t about everyone, this is about black lives,” Sophia Buchanan, a Smith student, said on Twitter.

McCartney soon sent out a second email apologizing for daring to think that everyone’s life is important.

McCartney is not an opponent of the protests. As Allahpundit pointed out at Hot Air:

Some critics of the protests had been answering the “black lives matter” slogan with the phrase “all lives matter.” McCartney, who was palpably not being critical — she announced a vigil for Garner and Brown in her first e-mail and refers to herself in the second as a “white ally” — unwittingly used the same phrase to make the protesters’ point, i.e. that Garner’s and Brown’s lives shouldn’t matter less because they’re black. Her sympathy couldn’t have been clearer. She got flamed anyway.

On the one hand, she “got flamed” by just one or two special snowflakes on the campus; is this really that important? On the other hand though, she was compelled to apologize, which suggests that if the one or two snowflakes had been ignored, there would be more and more special snowflakes taking the college president to task; and, it isn’t just them, nor is it just here. There’s been a hubbub about this for at least a few weeks now:

Race brings on individual issues for each minority group. Saying “all lives matter” causes erasure of the differing disparities each group faces. Saying “all lives matter” is nothing more than you centering and inserting yourself within a very emotional and personal situation without any empathy or respect. Saying “all lives matter” is unnecessary…

That last one is a fascinating and telling remark. How can it be unnecessary to say something, and simultaneously, necessary to stir up a controversy about someone saying it?

What sort of a victory has been won when that person is forced to walk it back? Obviously, there is one.

What we have here is an apt illustration of the true difference between conservatives and liberals in the United States, of a difference that has endured across centuries when not too many other identified differences have. On these pages, we have occasionally grappled with this idea that “liberals” must have changed party labels sometime in the ten decades following the end of the Civil War, since at the beginning of it they were called “Republicans” and trying to abolish slavery and ratify the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments; in the 1960’s, it must have been the same people trying to pass “Civil Rights,” with affirmative action, with quotas, and so forth. The logic, as I have noted, falls apart when one considers other things, including other issues. Abortion, for example. It is our liberals who say “I would respect the rights of the person who is not yet born, if indeed that were a person, but I do not acknowledge such a thing, and because I do not acknowledge it, your ‘person’ remains nothing more than ’tissue.'” Replace the world “tissue” with “property” and you have the white Southern slaveowner’s answer to the abolitionist movement, in a nutshell. So it is logically implausible to argue the same position is “right” in one century and “left” in another one.

We’re seeing the answer to the quandary now. The “left” does not — never did — smile upon the proposition that “all lives matter.” And this has been consistent throughout the generations.

I would further submit that this explains why some among them hate Christianity so much. It holds that we are all descended from Noah, each and every single one of us, therefore we’re all worth saving. All lives. If you have a pulse, you have value; all that remains is for you to acknowledge it. Also, we’re all descended from Adam. We’re all flawed.

These thoughts are just too big for them. But some of them do have very big brains, and aren’t afraid to talk about them. So maybe there is something else going on: Ironically, such thoughts are way too liberating. Either way, they can’t hack it. Over on Planet Lefty, there never is anything happening to “everyone,” there never is any status, up or down, enjoyed by or encumbering “all.” Humanity is always on a seesaw, with some of it up, some of it down. It’s always some coveted sub-group’s turn to enjoy the time in the limelight.

They’re usually afraid to admit it. So this is an occasion worthy of notice, when they’re willing to come out and say they have a beef with the notion that everyone is worthy and that “all lives matter.” It’s a refreshing outburst of honesty, that they shun the value inherent to all human life, and will always heap scorn on anyone who points this out, chastise & deride until they get the apology they want.

Now if we could just get them to stop using that word “equality.” They don’t believe in it. When they do support it, what they’re supporting turns out to be something else entirely, masquerading under the label.


Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

By way of Fox.

“Use the Whole Damn Egg”

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

This clip didn’t make it on to SNL this weekend…it was, as they say, “cut for time“.

It’s Not About the Evidence?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

I have noticed this is going on a lot lately, both within & outside of politics. “I shall win this argument, I shall insist on that outcome and no other, and in order to achieve that I am telling you: I don’t care.”

My disposition is not soothed when I realize that the reason I’m seeing it over and over again, is the same reason I see any argument-winning or election-winning tactic I see over and over again: This shit works. People really are winning arguments by declaring that they “don’t care.” So this would have to be criticism against the rest of us as well, we must be letting it happen. Hannity is showing the first logical response. Incredulity. The second one would be a sense of dismissal: Alright, come back after you’ve read the evidence, and until you have, leave the room the adults are going to figure out what to do about this. Ironically, that’s exactly what the “not-care” people bring, I notice: Begone with you evidence-reading proles, leave the chambers, we High Priests of Apathy are going to make the decisions in your absence. We’re above all that “fact” stuff, or something.

I can see Ms. Norton’s point, there is an issue here that merits greater discussion than it’s been receiving and this is an opportunity to have that discussion. Point is, on that last part, she’s just wrong. If the justice system says the cop is innocent in this case, and the evidence says the cop is innocent in this case, and the eyewitness accounts — once you get rid of the “witnesses” who weren’t there to witness anything — provide testimony that strongly suggests the cop’s innocence…the link is deteriorated, if not severed altogether. What we then have here, at the very best, is an issue that requires more attention, an incident that’s captured widespread attention that some wish could have been directed toward that issue, and nothing to connect the two. At all.

That’s at best. I’m not sure the issue of distrust between cops and the “black community” is something that needs more attention. It’s impossible to deny there is a problem, but again, evidence. It suggests rather strongly that the increased attention has a lot to do with the problem. Across the decades, the situation doesn’t seem to be improving, and during that time we have the spectacle of race-baiting demagogues like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Eleanor Holmes Norton making careers and personal fortunes out of “fixing” it. So…no results to show, and she herself says she doesn’t know or care about what’s going on. How long would you keep a handyman around your house who was spending decades fixing something, getting rich off it, with the problem not getting fixed, then he says he doesn’t care what the problem is?

Some Overdue Wisdom About the “Ban Bossy” Campaign

Friday, December 5th, 2014

There’s about nine months of dust on the campaign, and about three months’ worth on this critique of it. But there’s an important point to be made here:

Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, has a line in her book that states “I want every little girl who’s told she’s bossy to be told instead that she has leadership skills.” As you have probably heard by now, her Lean In organization and the Girl Scouts of America have teamed up with various celebrities and some other well-known female figures to urge us to ban the use of the word bossy.

As part of their “public service” campaign they have released a short ad featuring these women lecturing us about how they were called bossy and other names as children and therefore we should “ban bossy.” The “Ban Bossy – I’m Not Bossy. I’m the Boss” video has gone viral while stirring up some controversy along the way. It has now been viewed over 2,250,000 times on Youtube.
In the Ban Bossy video Beyonce tells us that “Girls are less interested in leadership than boys,” while Lynch adds, “and that’s because they worry about being called bossy.”

Really, that’s why? Are you really telling me that the fear of being called bossy has somehow stymied generations of women? How come I’m not buying that? And so what if a somewhat smaller percentage of “girls are less interested in leadership than boys.” Is that the end of the world? Are we really to believe that there must be some sort of contest and competition between the genders when it comes to the percentages of each in perceived leadership positions. Or is this really perhaps just another attempt to fuel the fires of conflict and tension between them by those who don’t really care much for the male gender to begin with? These are questions worth pondering.
In the spirit of consensus, we should all agree that being bossy is not synonymous with true leadership and that it really shouldn’t be. And that being ambitious is not the same as being bossy, stubborn, or pushy either as is implied in the ad campaign. No one really and truly likes a bossy person, whether they be a woman or a man. [bold emphasis mine]

Synonyms offered for “bossy” include “highhanded,” “officious,” “overbearing” and “abrasive.” So yes, being overbearing and abrasive doesn’t make you a good leader, any more than it makes you a qualified engineer.

Oh yeah, engineering. We need to reform the culture there, too, to make life tolerable for these poor fragile women.

It is truly frightening that we have all these people running around, on the loose — not only that, but seeking greater influence, and then getting it! — who seem to have never made any sort of study into brilliant, accomplished, famous people who gravitated to some sort of vocation and then demonstrated that that’s where they belonged. Did anyone have to surround dead-white-guy George Washington with a protective bubble, within which he would never have to listen to anyone tell him he wasn’t a good leader? How about his successor, Barack Obama. If you buy into the idea that what Obama is doing with the presidency is what’s supposed to be done with it, it seems a stretch to say He had to be soothed and coddled into the position, or into the role. No one had to protect the young Obama from anyone who might have lectured Him about “You’re just not good at giving speeches.” Some of us don’t like what He does, but there can’t be any credible doubts that He’s awfully good at doing it.

And you can go right on down through the list. Inventors. Doctors. Sculptors. Painters. There haven’t been too many people finding success in these fields, by way of shouting down or excluding any critics who might have doubted they would be successful. Oh, a lot of successful people did have critics. Most of them did, I would guess. But the truly successful ones didn’t waste time arguing with the critics about whether success should rightfully be theirs; they simply went about proving it.

“Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.”
“But I don’t think of you.”

That may be the most famous quote out of the whole book, right there, and there’s a reason for that. People who have excelled at something, and gotten criticized in spite of their ability to excel — or perhaps because of it — know that that’s how it works. That’s the dynamic.

Controlling the narrative, on the other hand, becomes important when you’re selling a bad idea. If making a girl into a “boss” requires controlling a narrative, that’s a sign, perhaps the first of many, that this is not what she should be doing. It’s a terrible, terrible disservice this “ban bossy” campaign is doing to the next generation, especially to the next generation of women who may be casually flirting with the “boss” role, perhaps allowing their knowledge of the subject matter to languish, longing to — as I’ve said before about the perverse desires of men & women alike — “Skip to the really fun part, you know, where I tell people what to do and then they go do it.” If these boss-first-practitioner-second waifs happen to be on the receiving end of some criticism that the boss role is not the right one for them, there is a possibility that that’s exactly what they need. After all, if it isn’t true in their case, subsequent events should prove that naturally, without any guided narratives from social-media “campaigns.” But with the campaign, which fails to tease out the complexities of the stories behind each individual — it seeks, instead, to generalize, that’s what a “ban” is — how much time are the boss-first-practitioner-second girls going to waste on a role that isn’t right for them?

How much annoyance are these bossy girls going to cause their “underlings,” who may or may not have any matching desire to be the boss, but who have taken the time to understand & become effective at the work that has to be done?

The thing that really hurts the rest of us, though, is the composition of this newer and reconstituted layer of “bosses,” male and female. We can’t really afford to have too many people there who don’t belong there, who lack vision, just want to give orders. The first thing we should have been noticing that they tend to do, in fact that we should have expected them to do, is to pull emergency-stop cords. It’s far easier to stop things than it is to make things go, especially when your role as the “boss” requires an ability to form & act on a vision, and you happen to be missing this. Stopping something doesn’t usually require a vision. But if you can make it happen, it creates the appearance that you’re a strong and effective boss, in tune with what’s going on around you. It isn’t necessarily so.

And this last is not a female thing. We’ve had lots of occasion to see weak-to-mediocre, pretty-boy, speechifying, suit-wearing dudes elevated to positions of power way above their levels of competence. Coasting on old glories of looking like they know what they’re doing, eager to keep the mirage alive, when they wouldn’t even know how to work an ordinary kitchen blender. First thing they do, reliable as rain, is stop things.

We need more girls to join in on the charade? Fewer things going, more things stopped, more phony leadership from people who wouldn’t know how to sweep a sidewalk, with a side order of “strong” female caterwauling and finger-waggling and preening? And pantsuits too, I suppose…what a perfect recipe of what we don’t need, and haven’t needed for a very long time.

Well, if Facebook had any thoughts about interviewing me, guess I just blew that.

The Sexodus

Friday, December 5th, 2014


“My generation of boys is f**ked,” says Rupert, a young German video game enthusiast I’ve been getting to know over the past few months. “Marriage is dead. Divorce means you’re screwed for life. Women have given up on monogamy, which makes them uninteresting to us for any serious relationship or raising a family. That’s just the way it is…In school, boys are screwed over time and again. Schools are engineered for women. In the US, they force-feed boys Ritalin like Skittles to shut them up. And while girls are favoured to fulfil quotas, men are slipping into distant second place.”

“Nobody in my generation believes they’re going to get a meaningful retirement. We have a third or a quarter of the wealth previous generations had, and everyone’s fleeing to higher education to stave off unemployment and poverty because there are no jobs.”

“All that wouldn’t be so bad if we could at least dull the pain with girls. But we’re treated like paedophiles and potential rapists just for showing interest.”
The sexodus didn’t arrive out of nowhere, and the same pressures that have forced so many millennials out of society exert pressure on their parent’s generation, too. One professional researcher in his late thirties, about whom I have been conversing on this topic for some months, puts it spicily: “For the past, at least, 25 years, I’ve been told to do more and more to keep a woman. But nobody’s told me what they’re doing to keep me.

“I can tell you as a heterosexual married male in management, who didn’t drop out of society, the message from the chicks is: ‘It’s not just preferable that you should fuck off, but imperative. You must pay for everything and make everything work; but you yourself and your preferences and needs can fuck off and die.'”

It seems to me like a maturity problem. Checking out of society is not the answer, but there has to be an answer somewhere, and that answer has to have something to do with checking out of something. That’s where the power is. Others can say what they are offering you, but they can’t say you’re going to accept it. The young guys need to learn to aim.

Feminists have to do some growing-up too. You can see by the ones who are pushing seventy, yelling like nine-year-olds, that a lot of them aren’t good at the whole maturity thing. And they can’t aim either. These are the ones famous for printing up & shouting slogans about “all men [being] potential rapists” and so forth.

Regarding the thing about “pay for everything and make everything work, but fuck off and die,” yes, that is American politics over the last half century right there. Every self-important faction has a designated, loathed, class that they’re ready to define, isolate, de-personalize, make into a target. And, the message from the faction to the class is always the same: Get the fuck out so the rest of us can make the big decisions; leave your billfold behind. Feminists say it to men, “greens” say it to “corporations,” “blacktivists” say it to anybody who’s white, gays say it to straights, lefties say it about the “Tea Party,” “Occupy” people say it to anybody who bothers to make a living. Off you go, leave your wallet behind.

The irony is, that’s the answer. Reduce the influence of those who have no solution to their own several problems, save for targeting & reducing the influence of others, this shit stops cold. Who knows, maybe everyday life starts getting a whole lot cheaper. Maybe.

The Fake “Black Stormtrooper Controversy”

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Washington Free Beacon talks about the NEW STAR WARS TRAILER!!!111!11!!ELEVENTY!!1! And makes a point. This is brilliant:

Of course, this being the Internet Age, where Everything Is TerribleTM, soon people were talking about the “black stormtrooper controversy.” And then, all of a sudden, there were a series of denunciations of all the “racist” Star Wars fans who freaked out because a black dude was wearing a Stormtrooper costume. This Mashable post is representative of the genre. But there’s something odd about this so-called controversy. All of the people writing about it just kind of take for granted that there’s some hardcore contingent of Star Wars fans who are writing that the series is ruined because a black dude is playing a stormtrooper. It’s just assumed that this is true.

But…is it? I mean, sure, I bet someone somewhere on the Internet is ranting about minorities taking the jobs of, um, Maori clones, because the Internet is a large and terrible place filled with any number of terrible (and probably large) people. That being said, if you search Twitter for “black stormtrooper,” you’ll find 1,291,074* tweets decrying the super duper racist people who are super duper butthurt about a black stormtrooper, and roughly zero** tweets from people are actually upset about the fact that a black dude was in a stormtrooper costume.*** Go back and read that Mashable post. You know what’s fascinating about it? There’re exactly zero pieces of evidence backing up the belief that there’s any “black stormtrooper criticism.”

What we have here is a prime example of a fascinating Internet phenomenon: the preemptive denunciation of a controversy that doesn’t exist. People live to be outraged, and they’re so excited for things to be outraged about that they’ll more or less invent an outrage to get their dander up. We can see another example of this phenomenon here, in which a blogger denounces a raft of columns questioning the character of a football player who walked off the field before the game was over before a single column of that variety had even been written. The preemptive denunciation is a form of moral posturing, an effort to show that you’re a serious person who believes all the right things, unlike other, bad people who believe all the wrong things.

It’s also dumb. Stop being dumb, Internet people. Just enjoy nice things when we’re given them and calm down. Yeesh.

*Approximate figure.

**Precise figure.

***There are probably a few people raising continuity questions, given that the prequels made it rather clear that the Stormtroopers are clones of Jango Fett. That seems dumb since we have no idea if he’s actually a stormtrooper and who knows how things have changed in the 30 years since the end of Return of the Jedi. But arguing over continuity isn’t, you know, racism. It’s just being a nerd. That’s what nerds do. That’s ALL nerds do.

Guilty White Privileged Liberal Kid Feels Like He Deserved to Get Mugged

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Real or fake? Bizpac Review:

In an op-ed for The Hoya, the school newspaper, Georgetown University student Oliver Friedfeld wrote that he and his roommate deserved to be robbed at gunpoint because of their race.

“Who am I to stand from my perch of privilege, surrounded by million-dollar homes and paying for a $60,000 education, to condemn these young men as ‘thugs?'” he wrote. “It’s precisely this kind of ‘otherization’ that fuels the problem.”

Friedfeld said he didn’t think of the assailants as “bad people.”

“I trust that they weren’t trying to hurt me,” he wrote. “In fact, if they knew me, I bet they’d think I was okay. The fact that these two kids, who appeared younger than I, have even had to entertain these questions suggests their universes are light years away from mine.”

According to this dimwit, the crime of being white should be punished by muggings and break-ins and America ought to get used to it.

“We should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins,” Friedfeld wrote. “I can hardly blame them.”

Yes kiddies, I can work the Google. Breitbart version is here, original is here.

Young people who willingly or unwillingly go down this road have been dealt a bad hand. While speaking with a D.C. police officer after the incident, he explained that he too had come from difficult circumstances, and yet had made the decision not to get involved in crime. This is a very fair point — we all make decisions. Yet I’ve never had to decide whether or not to steal from people. We’re all capable of good and bad, but it’s a whole lot easier for me to choose good than it may be for them to.

If we ever want opportunistic crime to end, we should look at ourselves first. Simply amplifying police presence will not solve the issue. Police protect us by keeping those “bad people” out of our neighborhood, and I’m grateful for it. And yet, I realize it’s self-serving and doesn’t actually fix anything.

When we play along with a system that fuels this kind of desperation, we can’t be surprised when we’re touched by it. Maybe these two kids are caught, and this recent crime wave dies down, but it will return because the demand is still there, and the supply is still here. We have a lot, and plenty of opportunities to make even more. They have very little, and few opportunities to make ends meet.

The millennial generation is taking over the reins of the world, and thus we are presented with a wonderful opportunity to right some of the wrongs of the past. As young people, we need to devote real energy to solving what are collective challenges. Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them. The cards are all in our hands, and we’re not playing them.

Kid self-identifies as a “millennial.” That is interesting, given the wonderful job he’s done of illustrating the stereotype. He’s droned on at length depicting his viewpoint of what we’ve done that has not fixed & will not fix the problem, lectured away about how we need to do something different. But he doesn’t say what that is.

Poor little snowflake. It’s sad seeing an entire generation slouch from crib to crypt with these proggie scales over their eyes; we’re almost finished with allowing it to happen to the Baby Boomers. As their huge and tightly concentrated generation wandered through our cultural timestream, like an antelope meandering down the alimentary canal of a python, we really didn’t get much out of it. Miniskirts and big hair, corny movies, Disco. Along with a huge spike in violent crime as our justice system acquiesced to their “enlightened youth” demands for leniency and “greater equality.” That’s the real story here. If Friedfeld represents a majority viewpoint, we’re letting it happen again. Hope not too many people get hurt.

“‘Kid Ruins Thanksgiving’ is Fake”

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Business 2 Community, commenting on a video that’s achieved some measure of fame lately.

Across America, families are still enjoying Thanksgiving leftovers and gearing up for the Christmas shopping season. Except one family that, due to abuse, exploitation, and a dash of religious intolerance, didn’t get a Thanksgiving dinner at all, and have little to be thankful for.

At least, that’s the tone of the “Psycho Kid Ruins Thanksgiving” video you might have seen floating around your news feeds. In it, an “angry gamer” loses his patience with his father who insists his atheist/agnostic son say “grace.” Things reach their inevitable fever pitch when the gamer angrily stands and flips over the dinner table (and all of the food).

The “psycho kid” and his father throw plates and food at each other, and everyone’s Thanksgiving is pretty much effed.

The film school grad is the producer of another video that drew our notice, which is also fake.

Dan-Rather-fake, anyway. “Fake but accurate.”

The kid in the video is Jesse Ridgway, known on his YouTube channel as “McJuggerNuggets.” A Philly local and recent Rowan University grad, Ridgway enjoys a following of over 100,000 subscribers, and various videos from his “Psycho” series have raked in hundreds of thousands of views each.