Category Archive 'Uncategorized'
26 Sep 2016

Seattle Sign

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makeamericagrate

Hat tip to Paul Rahe.

26 Sep 2016

Racial Politics in Chicago and Crime

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chicagoshootingmap

Black people are always shooting one another in Chicago, thousands of times a year, in their own neighborhoods. The numbers get into the papers and the level of violence is mentioned on the news.

Late last year, the Obama Department of Justice began investigating Chicago Police treatment of criminal class blacks.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the creation last December 1st of a Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, which predictably issued a blistering report finding that the cats were hostile toward rats and mice and prone to treat them roughly.

So, the Chicago Police, long noted for their toughness, have obviously been obliged to take a step back and avoid provoking complaints from the urban underclass population.

Whoever could have imagined that the next thing we read in the papers would be the shooting death of middle-aged white Chicagoan at what would previously have been considered a location totally safe from street crime in the very heart of downtown Chicago?

Jeffrey Carter, a blogger and upper middle-class resident of downtown Chicago, was naturally shocked and alarmed.

Yesterday, we drove back from Minnesota. As I pulled down Wabash an unmarked police car raced down the street in front of me. A policeman got out, left the door to his car open, and drew his gun. He started running.

We wheeled our way into our garage. There were police cars all over Michigan Avenue. That’s where the shooting was.

Turns out, a person on a bicycle shot a person walking on the sidewalk at Millennium Park. You hear a lot of stories about the violence in Chicago. Most of it is contained in one area of the city, not close to where you and your family would be if they were here.

This looks to be a random act of violence, not a gang crime or terrorism. No law in the world would have stopped it.

My neighborhood has the usual city crime. It has a lot of it-but it’s crimes of opportunity. Shoplifting. Stealing personal items from people. Small time robbery. Never shootings. There are bums on every street corner panhandling and many of them have gotten very belligerent. I saw that they are having similar problems in New York City. I have seen the same people panhandling in the same spots for years and years and years. …

The police force in Chicago is overtaxed. They are under assault from independent groups, and from politicians. Certainly, there are some bad apples and they can be taken care of. But, it feels like it’s a part of a much broader organized top down movement. Many of the arrests in Charlotte, NC were not local people. They were imported from out of state. No doubt, it’s because North Carolina is a state in political play. I noticed there were no protests in Oklahoma.

The shootings that go on in other neighborhoods are part of a broader gang war. If the US would change drug policy, the violence would decrease. Milton Friedman was right about the War on Drugs. There is only so much a city government can do to stop that kind of violence, although very liberal gun laws might help. Changing educational policy to allow for school choice would help. Lowering minimum wage and mandatory union laws so people could have better opportunities to find work would help.

Politicians say they want to do something-but their solutions are always the same. More laws, more regulations, higher taxes. At the same time, the gang leaders help them get out the vote, so there is little incentive to change when politicians are just interested in power and not helping the electorate.

If you lose the lakefront and the Loop, you will lose Chicago. My wife and I have always said, upper middle class and wealthy people will put up with a lot to live in a city. They’ll pay taxes to a point and absorb the increased cost, to a point. It is convenient and all the things that come with city living are great. But, as soon as they don’t feel secure, they are out.

We haven’t reached that tipping point, but that’s the way momentum is going right now.

The shooting victim, Peter Fabbri age 54, died on Sunday. (Chicago Tribune)

Chicago is a one-party city, and its democrat rulers are dependent on votes from minorities. If those pols continue to represent preferentially that particular constituency and to address its grievances, Chicago police will continue to be handcuffed, crime will increase dramatically and violent crime will expand into good neighborhoods. The inevitable consequence will be white flight, the collapse of commerce and real estate values, and the transformation of Chicago into Detroit.

26 Sep 2016

Today’s Politics All About the Culture Wars

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smugliberals

Tim Black argues that choice of life-style has become politicized which in turn has inflamed politics.

In one of his last speeches as Labour leader in 2006, [Tony] Blair said that the new debate in politics was not left against right, but ‘open vs closed’ – openness to immigration, to diversity, and so on. And he was right. Politics has been waged as a war on those with supposedly ‘closed’ minds, those who ‘cling’ to older traditions and rituals, those who, in the case of Brexit, prefer a national democracy to a transnational oligarchy. And this year, the ‘closed’ fought back.

But there’s something else, too. Not only has culture been completely politicised, and turned into an object of public contestation; politics has also become culturalised, aestheticised. It has been turned into a way of expressing oneself, of marking one’s distinction to others, of showcasing one’s superior political taste – a question, as one Guardian journalist put it, of ‘who we are’. Being political today – whether that involves expressing one’s feminism, or proudly proclaiming ‘black lives matter’ – has become a way of saying something determinate not about the world, but about oneself, and, in the process, negating others. Conservative lettrist Joseph Epstein calls this new political type ‘the virtucrat’ – ‘the new prig… [who] will nail you for not having his opinion on Israel or the environment’. He is ‘a moral snob’, Epstein continues; ‘not only is he smug about the righteousness of his views but he imputes bad faith to anyone who doesn’t share them’.

And this is a profound problem. The aestheticisation of politics, the emergence of an intense political snobbery, lends debate an intractable, compromise-defying quality. It comes to appear not just as a conflict between utterly incompatible ways of life, but also as an intensely personal conflict, where arguments take the form of personal insults, and electoral defeats are experienced as personal affronts. In the strangely emotional reaction of Remainers to the referendum result, which included vituperative columns about racists in our midst, public tears and, absurdly, post-vote marches, one can see the the flipside of the polticisation of culture and lifestyle; the stylisation of politics, its mutation into a means not of winning the support of others, but of asserting their inferiority, of casting their lives into arbitrariness.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Matthias Storme.

26 Sep 2016

Answering the Really Important Questions

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How many rounds does it take to cut a telephone pole in half?

25 Sep 2016

Yale Snowflakes Got New Residential College Head

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laurie-santos
Current Head of Silliman College: Laurie Santos, Harvard ’97 A.B psychology & biology, ’03 Ph.D. psychology.

A Yale alumn I know from Silliman (I was in Berkeley myself) passes along an email:

Excerpt below from actual email I received from actual grown-up in an important position at a once-prestigious Ivy League university (“HoC Santos,” who is the new don’t-call-it-Master of Silliman). Am I just old and out of it, or is it fundamentally undignified for someone in that sort of role to adopt the tone of a perky 19-year-old sorority social-events chair at some perfectly-okay state university somewhere out in flyover country?

    “Our first ever Sing-Along will take you back to the days of flannel clothing, huge scrunchies and boy bands. It will be the ultimate celebration of all things ‘90s! From the Britney to Backstreet Boys, with plenty of Alanis and Nirvana mixed in, this is how we Sillimanders do it, even as we smell like teen spirit cuz we’re livin’ la vida loca.
    8-9:30pm in Silliflicks. Word to your mutha.”

There was no email, not even any PCs, back when I was an undergraduate at Yale. In those days, all Yale Residential College Masters were middle-aged White Anglo-Saxon Protestant males and distinguished scholars. In Silliman’s case, the Master was one Elias Clark, a law professor with a background which included Yale and Andover and WWII military service.

Somehow, I cannot really picture Master Clark sending out to the Silliman Salamanders of my day a mimeograph announcement of a college shindig celebrating the music and pop stars of the 1950s couched in the Beatnik vernacular of Maynard G. Krebs. Still less, his screwing up and inadvertently forwarding such a missive to graduated alumni.

Professor Santos may very likely have been specifically chosen to make the Snowflakes of Color of Silliman College feel safer from improper Halloween costuming and more comfortable and at home there, which we all learned last year is the most essential function of the heads of Yale residential colleges.

Former Associate Masters Nicholas and Erika Christakis fell afoul of diverse student sensivities, when La Christakis responded to an admonitory Intercultural Affairs Council email edict warning students sternly against such Halloween transgressions as wearing blackface, sombreros, or turbans with a skeptical email of her own wondering aloud about the propriety and necessity of such politically correct pronunciamentos.

In response to Erika Christakis’s chin-stroking email, students went absolutely wild. Nicholas Christakis was confronted, shouted down, told he was not doing his job properly, and urged to resign. An African-American dean was similarly mobbed and lectured on his responsibility to be on the side of his own people. There were marches, one of which occurred at Midnight and featured the delivery of some pretty outrageous demands to the timid Yale President Peter Salovey at his house on Hillhouse Avenue.

The Yale Administration announced that it was firmly behind the free speech rights of the Christakises, which announcement was followed by Erika’s rapid departure in under a month, immediately thereafter by husband Nicholas’s departure on sabbatical, and finally (surprise! surprise!) by the announcement of his resignation during the summer. Yale was ever so solidly behind them. Adieu! Christakises and Adieu! the title of Master itself.

President Salovey previously announced that Yale would pay $50 million in Danegeld for more privileged-victim-group faculty recruitment and development (aka remedial education) and whatever else our contemporary Danes might desire. Yale’s concessions and surrenders will be continuing.

eliasclark
Master of Silliman College 1962-1981, Charles Elias “Eli” Clark, Andover ’39, Yale ’43 B.A. American history, Army Air Corps pilot 1944-1945, Yale Law ’47, Yale M.A. ’58.

25 Sep 2016

Clueless iPhone Owners Believe Spoof Video

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The Sun breathlessly reports:

A fake YouTube video claiming to show users how to get the much-missed sound input has gone viral – with many unknowing victims following its lead.

Owners have copied the video’s instructions to place the phone in a clamp and take a 3.5mm drill to where the headphone hole used to be.

Needless to say drilling a hole into your iPhone will leave you with a very broken handset – and not the promised addition.

Of course, it was not a “fake YouTunbe video,” it was a spoof YouTube video, and it was published as part of a series of wrecking technology humor videos. But a lot of Apple aficionados are sooo dumb…

milksheep

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Why did Apple kill the headphone jack?

25 Sep 2016

Return of the Jaguar

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jaguar1

The Jaguar (Panthera onca), third largest feline predator in the world, has been described as extinct in the United States since early in the last century, but rumors and scattered alleged sightings on the tops of the “sky island” mountains south of Tuscon, Arizona were followed in recent years by photographs and videos, and even treeings and collarings of real jaguars in the Arizona mountains.

Smithsonian has a typical bleating nincompoop piece gushing over the return of the jaguar (in reality, doubtless, jaguars have always been present in the same area in very small numbers, their existence simply denied and overlooked by the authorities), complete with naming the kitty, publicity and promotion for particular self-appointed experts, partisan turf war accounts, and anti-capitalist agitation (development of a single copper mine south of Bisbee might threaten or somehow impede the peregrinations of the odd jaguar).

The real threat to the presence of jaguars in the United States is Donald Trump’s “great, beautiful wall,” 35 to 50 feet high, which would probably not stop really determined humans, but which would put the final kibosh on rare cross-border species like the jaguar.

If you can put up with all the cant, it is still worth reading.


Jaguar filmed recently in Arizona (February 2016 video)

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

24 Sep 2016

Why Ted Cruz Endorsed Trump

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ted-cruz

Ben Domenech, at the Federalist, explains that Cruz’s unexpected move was indeed a calculated and prudential sell-out.

[Cruz’s change of position] came due to those who had been some of Cruz’s most prominent backers. The Mercer family and Peter Thiel played critical roles in elevating Cruz from a virtual unknown in the state of Texas to knocking off a popular Lieutenant Governor in an extremely competitive primary. Now they are prominent backers of Donald Trump, and the threat of a well-backed primary campaign for Cruz in 2018 was increasingly real, with Rep. Michael McCaul and former Gov. and DWTS star Rick Perry showing themselves to be very competitive against him. Cruz’s former media backers had turned on the populist, and the potential for a well-backed challenger against Cruz in Texas was real. Had Trump lost narrowly to Hillary Clinton, as seems the likeliest outcome today, the timing of Cruz’s race would’ve made him public enemy number one among the Trump crew.

A move by Ted Cruz to endorse Trump in Cleveland wouldn’t have satisfied anyone already opposed to Cruz, but it would’ve seemed like par for the course among all the Republicans who’ve lined up to back the nominee, which now includes all the candidates this cycle except for Jeb Bush and John Kasich. The move to endorse now seems ideologically baseless, because it is. It seems like an act of political self-defense, because it is. And it seems opportunistic, because it is.

24 Sep 2016

The Nearly Extinct Gharial

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gharial

Ark in Space:

This strange looking creature, with its immensely long and delicate snout is the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). Until very recently it thrived throughout the Indian sub-continent but now it numbers less than a few hundred in the wild. …

Once it flourished and could be found in all of the major rivers of India and Pakistan. The Indus, which has its source in Tibet and flows through Pakistan and Northern India had gharials along almost its entire length. Now, in this vast river not a single one may be found.

It is the same in many other major river systems. The list is depressingly long. The Irrawaddy in Myanmar holds none, neither does the Brahmaputra of Bhutan and Bangladesh – and this is not counting the many tributaries of these vast waterways. In fact the gharial can now be found in only 2% of its former territory.

These survivors from the age of the dinosaur need our help to survive – or it will be goodbye to them forever within a few decades. There are nine protected areas in India for the gharial. Eggs are often collected in the wild and raised in captivity. …

Over 3,000 young gharial have been released under these operations. Even so, it is thought that at most there are only around 400 breeding pairs in the wild. …

There are about ten places in Asia where the gharial is bred in captivity with the young released in to the wild at around the age of three. Another 8 centers in the US and 3 in Europe also offer some hope to the gharial.

gharial2

24 Sep 2016

Deer Season Coming Soon

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hillarybambismother

23 Sep 2016

Ötzi the Iceman Speaks

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otzi

Science Alert:

We already know what Ötzi the Iceman was wearing when he died more than 5,000 years ago in the Italian Alps, as well as how many tattoos he had.

But now scientists have taken things one step further: they’ve managed to recreate the “best possible approximation” of his voice.

By using CT scans to measure the structure of the famous mummy’s vocal cords, throat, and mouth, scientists from Bolzano’s General Hospital in Italy have been able to digitally reconstruct what Ötzi might have sounded like while pronouncing vowels in Italian.

22 Sep 2016

The Firing Squad Blank Cartridge Election

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2016choice

Sara Hoyt, on FB, has a good suggestion:

You know how if you are ever on an execution squad, one person has blanks instead of bullets, and you don’t know which of you it is?

To save the national conscience, I think those in charge of the elections this year should have two identical boxes. One is a ballot box, one a shredder.

Each person is given two ballots, and puts one in each box. You don’t know which box is which.

If you’re absolutely decided for one of the horrors running, good for you. you can vote both ballots the same. But if you don’t want to vote for either, and don’t want it on your conscience, you can leave it in the lap of the gods. Vote the down ticket according to your conscience, fill the top of each ticket with one of the ass-clowns and rest easy. It was not you but the fates.

22 Sep 2016

Twitter Suspends Instapundit

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instapunditlogo

Glenn Reynolds announced today:

OPENED UP TWITTER TO SEE THIS:

[ACCOUNT SUSPENDED GRAPHIC]

Can’t imagine why they’d do that, except that it seems to be happening to a lot of people for no obvious reason. It’s as if, despite assurances to the contrary, Twitter is out to silence voices it disagrees with or something.

UPDATE: Ah, it was about this tweet.

Sorry, blocking the interstate is dangerous, and trapping people in their cars is a threat. Driving on is self-preservation, especially when we’ve had mobs destroying property and injuring and killing people. But if Twitter doesn’t like me, I’m happy to stop providing them with free content. …

I don’t even know that this is why I was suspended, as I’ve heard nothing from Twitter at all. They tell users and investors that they don’t censor, but they seem awfully quick to suspend people on one side of the debate and, as people over at Twitchy note, awfully tolerant of outright threats on the other.

Twitter can do without me, as I can certainly do without Twitter.

Infuriating. Who do they think they are? I’d like to see massive retaliatory hacking, denial of service attacks, and mobs armed with pitchforks and torches besieging these douchebags’ offices.

————————————–

Glenn Reynolds’ tweet was obviously intended as a quip, expressing frustrated indignation at the form of protest, blocking highways, that has recently become popular. Twitter censors took advantage of its dark humor to strike an exaggerated moralizing pose and punish the person whose politics they do not like.

But, really, faced with a crowd of racially-chauvinist rioters from the inner city criminal class getting through the blockers by threatening to run them down would simply be the most prudent course of action.

Just check some of the headlines: Rioters beat man who begs for mercy in parking garage.

Protestors Try to Burn Photographer Alive.

Better to force them out of your way than to be beaten or burned alive. If one of them gets run over, too bad.

22 Sep 2016

Joss Whedon Almost Got Me to Vote For Trump

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Regular readers must be aware by now what I think of Donald Trump. The hell of it is: Joss Whedon’s tv programs and movies are good. They are filled with wit and with a genuine appreciation of the human capacity for heroism. But, politically, Joss Whedon is obviously a totally self-congratulatory conformist airhead.

Whedon has started his own Super PAC, called “Save The Day,” which is intended, just like Spike’s self-sacrifice in the final episode of Buffy to close the hell mouth, save the world from ending, and… elect Hillary Clinton!

Joss Whedon is going to do his personal bit to save the world from a Trumpocalypse by producing a series of videos featuring famous Hollywood actors, all self-importantly preening for the camera while delivering cutesy, but puerile, admonitions to register and vote… against Trump and in favor of everything really stupid people believe to be good.

Yech! One wanted to believe that Tony Stark (Robert Downey) is smart. The sad truth is obviously that he is a total waste, and might just as well go back to the cocaine. One used to believe that Julianne Moore was desirable. The sad reality is that she is a left-wing shrew with a foul mouth.

These people are so incredibly stupid, so incredibly self-entitled, and so incredibly annoying that one could almost be in favor of letting the Great Old Ones rise again and destroy the world just to be rid of them (“The Cabin in the Woods” (2012) allusion), or vote for The Donald just to spite them. Almost.

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