Thursday, June 01, 2017

Cruising the Web

If Hillary Clinton were searching for a way to demonstrate why she lost, her interview yesterday blaming everyone and everything under the sun for her loss proved it once again. Of course, there were the old standbys like James Comey and his letter to Congress before the election. (Gee, remember when James Comey wasn't a Democratic hero - like a few weeks ago?) The media were also at fault since they covered news that made her look bad and also portrayed her as the favorite.
“I was the victim of a very broad assumption that I was going to win,” she said.
Gee, wasn't her inevitability the reason that she was able to clear out all reasonable opponents in the Democratic Party? Remember, this is a woman whose campaign thought of using the slogan "Because it's her turn." Yeah, entitlement is always a great way to rally voters.

Hillary has a new target for her loss - the Democratic National Committee.
Perhaps Clinton's most fresh and savage criticism on Wednesday was directed at the Democratic National Committee. She went as far as to say that when she became her party's presidential nominee, she inherited "nothing" from the committee.
"I'm now the nominee of the Democratic Party. I inherit nothing from the Democratic Party," Clinton said. "It was bankrupt, it was on the verge of insolvency, its data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong. I had to inject money into it -- the DNC -- to keep it going."
Remember, this is the DNC that was working behind the scenes to stifle Bernie Sanders' campaign and schedule debates to hide them so people couldn't hear opposition to Hillary. Remember that some leaders of the DNC lost their jobs when it came out through the Podesta leaks how they'd been helping Hillary defeat Sanders. This is the DNC whose data strengths in 2012 were credited for reelecting Obama so easily. Somehow, the DNC, Obama's DNC was a miserable shell of itself a few years later?

This is a woman who lost to a candidate who was caught on air bragging about grabbing women by their private parts. She lost to a man who clearly knew very little about public policy and changed his positions publicly as it suited him. She had considerably more money than he did and all the Hollywood celebrities eager to help her and bash him. Yet, somehow she lost to that guy. She was probably the one candidate the Democrats could have put up who would have lost to Trump. I get that that would be a difficult reality to swallow, but she isn't doing herself any favors by continual appearances to blame everyone else and then try to cover up her blame-shifting, by proclaiming that she takes "full responsibility." Just saying those words doesn't mean that she is actually taking any responsibility. If I were a Democrat, all I'd want is for her to disappear so that my party could get down to the business of rebuilding and winning future elections. The last thing I'd want is her hanging around to remind us of the opportunity missed.

Kyle Smith writes
Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t merely in a state of denial. She has become Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense. Politically speaking, she is dead, but she doesn’t know it. Her staffers are so many Haley Joel Osments — too kind (and too attached to their salaries) to tell her that her career is over. She doesn’t need briefings. She doesn’t need to do interviews. She doesn’t need to write the book she is writing (after so many indigestible volumes, why bother with one more?). She doesn’t need to stake out a politically nuanced position on James Comey’s firing or scramble to get out in front of the Resistance parade. She lost two exceedingly winnable presidential campaigns in Hindenburgian fashion. There is no demand for her to run again and there is nothing left for her except to receive whatever ceremonial honors and sinecures may come her way. She has been handed her political retirement papers by the American people. She’s done.
Except she won't go away.
In Traister’s profile, Clinton (again) deflects attention from her own self-evident flaws to blame her defeat on others. She again blames James Comey, with zero acknowledgment that her own actions to evade scrutiny of her e-mail were the cause of Comey’s entirely justified and indeed shockingly forgiving criminal investigation. She (again) blames the Russians, even though even she acknowledges that the actual content of the WikiLeaks e-mails from her own fellow Democrats was “inconsequential.” She (again) blames misogyny, a non-falsifiable theory with no evidence behind it except that citizens supposedly came up to her and said things like, “Gosh, I’m not sure we’re ready for a woman president,” with the added fillip that women who voted against her are internalized misogynists. She blames “the suppression of the vote, particularly in Wisconsin,” channeling an investigation from progressive fantasists published in The Nation that is so lacking in credibility that it was debunked by Slate and ignored by most of the Hillary-friendly media.

The former director of data for the DNC isn't taking Hillary's blame game lying down.
The former director of data science for the Democratic National Committee utterly rejected Hillary Clinton's complaint that the DNC gave her no help in running against Donald Trump.

"DNC data folks: today's accusations are f***ing bullshit, and I hope you understand the good you did despite that nonsense," Andrew Therriault tweeted Wednesday.

"Private mode be damned, this is too important," he said in a second tweet. "I'm not willing to let my people be thrown under the bus without a fight."

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Senator Mike Lee of Utah has just published a book about some of the lesser-known Founding Fathers and their efforts to rein in the size of government, Written Out of History: The Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government. It looks like a fun read that will help modern readers rediscover the debates of that time about what sort of government we should have. National Review has published an excerpt about how Thomas Jefferson, a much overrated president in my view, sought to remove Federalists from the federal judiciary through impeachment. His efforts were stopped by an unlikely hero, Vice President Aaron Burr.
Burr also earned praise for his “judicial manner” in presiding over the Chase impeachment trial. He studiously resisted any effort to enforce Jefferson’s will on the outcome. His presence was felt in touches large and small. He demanded that Chase, who was afforded no place to sit or even a table to place his papers, be given a chair when he requested one. One newspaper wrote that Burr had conducted the proceedings with the “impartiality of an angel, but with the rigor of a devil.” Burr’s decision to respect the rule of law was at least partially responsible for swaying a few other Jeffersonians who would otherwise have been inclined to do the president’s bidding. Chase was acquitted on every count in what might fairly have been described as Jefferson’s Senate.
I knew that Jefferson's efforts had failed, but hadn't known of Burr's role.

It sounds like a hoax but, apparently, this is a real article.
A feminist scholar has published a paper claiming that Newtonian physics is oppressive and that we must use “quantum feminisms” to make the science more intersectional.

In a paper for The Minnesota Review, culture and gender-studies researcher Whitney Stark argues that Newton’s understanding of physics is oppressive because it has “separated beings” based on their “binary and absolute differences” — a structure that she calls “hierarchical and exploitative” — and the same kind of system is “embedded in many structures of classification,” making it “part of the apparatus that enables oppression.”

....According to Stark, the tendency to categorize in this way particularly hurts marginalized people because it can cause the activist efforts of minority groups to be “overshadowed” by the efforts of dominant groups.

“For instance, in many ‘official’ feminist histories of the United States, black/African American women’s organizing and writing are completely unaccounted for before the 1973 creation of the middle-class, professional National Black Feminist Organization,” Stark writes.

“Part of this absence is the frequent subsuming of intersectional identities under supposedly encompassing meta-identities more readily recognized by/as hegemonicized groupings,” she continues. “For instance, black women subsumed under ‘black,’ equated with male, or ‘feminist’ equated with white women.”

Thankfully, Stark has a solution to this very clearly serious problem: “quantum feminisms” and “intersectionality.”

“By taking a critical look at the noncentralized and multiple movements of quantum physics, and by dehierarchizing the necessity of linear bodies through time, it becomes possible to reconfigure structures of value, longevity, and subjectivity in ways explicitly aligned with anti-oppression practices and identity politics,” she writes. “Combining intersectionality and quantum physics can provide for differing perspectives on organizing practices long used by marginalized people, for enabling apparatuses that allow for new possibilities of safer spaces.”
Does any of that make any sense? I can't even parse all that. Is no sphere of intellectual endeavor safe from this modern gobbledygook?

You know what else is terribly misogynistic - the Beatles' album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Who knew? Heat Street reports on a Salon essay by Amanda Marcotte.
Amanda Marcotte, a staff writer at the publication, wrote a 1,200 word essay arguing how the Beatles’ album is actually the worst because it made rock a serious genre.

This, she says attracted crowds of men at the expense of young girls who just “wanted to f***” the group.

“Sgt. Pepper’s,” according to Marcotte, ” is the album that marked the shift in rock music away from the grubby fingers of the teenybopper crowd and into the hushed halls of Great Art.”
I guess females were in control of rock when teenboppers were screaming over the Beatles, but then men got to be in control once the music became more mature. The mind reels.

Stanley Kurtz details what he calls the "Year of the Shout-Down" about the incidents around the country when disfavored speakers were not allowed to speak because of mobs of student who shouted them down. There were a lot more incidents than I was aware of and this is a subject I have a particular interest in. It's a painful list, much more than the professional provocateurs like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos. Many of the targets are speakers invited by pro-Israel groups being shouted down by pro-Palestinian groups. The common link in all these stories is how the administrators at each college just bowed before the student tyrants. And just as toddlers will continue to throw tantrums when they perceive that there are no negative consequences to doing so, one successful intimidation of a speaker leads to another and another as the cycle continues to spiral down.
And shout-downs are not being disciplined. Universities regularly move to calm public outrage with vague promises of action against disruptors. Yet rarely is anything done. I know of no single instance of serious discipline for any of this year’s many shout-downs. Unsurprisingly, UC Irvine’s hollow “warning” for last year’s shout-down did nothing to prevent this year’s shout-down. Wisconsin’s disruptors positively brag about skating free. Last year’s student intimidators got an award from Yale, while the student who stoked the Ann Arbor debate shout-down received an award from that school’s Women’s Studies Center. Not only are universities failing to discipline disruptors, some are actually patting them on the back.

Administrative malfeasance on shout-downs is pervasive and profound. Despite public statements of “disappointment,” administrators at Wisconsin and Northwestern effectively collaborated in the very shout-downs they later deplored. Police protection is frequently inadequate, and administrators often say nothing even when present at the shout-down itself. Disciplinary hearings are virtually unknown. Middlebury’s hearings, held under intense national scrutiny and pressure, are the exception that proves the rule, given the weak sanctions that resulted.

If constantly broken promises of serious discipline are somehow secretly being fulfilled, that is also a failure. The point of discipline is to deter future shout-downs. Student privacy can be protected even as the results of serious discipline are publicized. Despite the protestations of administrators in states where campus free-speech legislation is under consideration, the system is clearly broken.

So where are we headed now? The optimistic view would attribute this year’s occasionally violent shout-downs to passing distress with the election of President Trump. That is not persuasive, since the previous academic year’s campus disturbances can just as easily be attributed to the Left’s ascendance under President Obama. In truth, the campus left is now emboldened regardless of who’s in power. The left is on offense for reasons that include, but also run far deeper than, whoever happens to be president.

The future now looks to be a contest between two trends: 1) increasing violence by a campus Left that has learned administrators will do nothing to stop it, and 2) efforts by administrators to prevent disruptions by locking out conservatives and other controversial speakers.
First they came for the conservatives. Professors, however liberal they might consider themselves, should not feel that they are immune.

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This graph from Pew Research Center on how views of NATO differ by ideology are a rather sad indication of how partisanship affects views on public policy. There is no reason for views to change except that Republicans are more critical because Trump has been critical and the Democrats have a corresponding sudden affection for NATO because Trump has been critical. It's mindlessness. Either you think NATO is still worthwhile today or you don't. What Trump says shouldn't affect your view.

Of course, I always discount any poll of the public's view on policy. Most people barely know what NATO is so who cares what their opinion is. What this poll is measuring is opinions of Trump rather than opinions of NATO.

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538 looks for patterns in the words missed in the National Spelling Bee. It's not really informative for helping a contestant, but still interesting. Good spelling is a dying art as my students unfortunately demonstrate every dang day.

This Onion post is just perfect. " headline made me laugh out loud: "‘Washington Post’ Reporter Frustrated Every Space In Parking Garage Taken Up By Anonymous Source"
WASHINGTON—Circling every level multiple times with no luck whatsoever, Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker was frustrated Tuesday that every space in the parking garage was taken up by an anonymous source. “I’ve gone around and around, but I can’t find a single spot that isn’t already filled by an unidentified White House leaker,” said an exasperated Rucker, who recalled how easy it was to nab a prime parking place to clandestinely receive privileged information only a few short years ago. “It’s such a nightmare driving all the way to the very top of the whole fucking structure to hold a secret meeting with an informant and then have to squeeze into a spot reserved for compact cars that another journalist who’s meeting with a whistle-blower is halfway parked in anyway. Seriously, I have to start scheduling these rendezvous earlier, because as soon as dusk settles in, you can forget it.” At press time, Rucker was idling his car near the space occupied by a New York Times reporter who had just received a thumb drive and appeared to be wrapping things up.