It’s one thing for liberal activists and journalists (forgive my redundancy) to go off like a bunch of idiots about how the new immigration law has created Nazizona, where anyone with skin darker than an Alpine White Nazimobile gets beheaded and catapulted southward over the border. I expect it from them, because they’re a bunch of idiotic race mongers.
It’s another thing for a congressman, and a somewhat important Republican congressman at that, to bring this sort of idiocy to the party.
People who have no conception of what “probable cause” means should just STFU on this topic until they do a little reading. If I were a betting man (and I’m not), I would wager all of my earthly possessions that “probable cause” is the single most litigated issue in all of criminal law. There are literally thousands of court cases, including dozens (perhaps hundreds) of Supreme Court cases discussing what, precisely, constitutes “probable cause.” And, contra the great Mr. Mack’s unfortunately existent great-grandson, police cannot simply stop people walking down the street and demand to see their papers. Even if a state passed a law stating “Police can simply stop people walking down the street and demand to see their papers” – which the new Arizona law definately does not say – police could not simply stop people walking down the street and demand to see their papers. Such a law would be unconstitutional. If I were writing a legal brief and felt like overemphasizing this point, I could make a 50-page string cite of federal cases that would support that proposition.
Congress is an utter disgrace, and has been for quite some time. It would be difficult for my opinion of Congresscritters to get lower. Still, Mack’s ignorant diatribe shocks me. He’s an embarrassment to Congress, to his party, to his state, and to the man who dominated early 20th Century baseball. Shame, thy name is Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV.
How low-level is racial hatred in America today? The Telegraph story has a quote that about gets it. In 1963, Byron de la Beckwith murdered Medgar Evers, who had been a prominent NAACP activist in the Emmet Till murder and in James Merdith‘s enrollment in Ole’ Miss. As those who are familiar with the Civil Rights Movement, or with Bob Dylan well know, it was a Big Deal. A Really Big Deal. Twice in 1964 Beckwith was tried for Evers’s murder, and both times the all-white jury hung. In 1994, he was tried before a multi-racial jury using nearly identical evidence as was used in 1964, and he was convicted. After his conviction, one Richard Barret, the white racist who was murdered this last Wednesday, led an [unsuccessful] effort to get the governor of Mississippi to pardon Beckwith, who was obviously and undeniably guilty.
So what is the great quote The Telegraph has? It comes from Medgar Evers’s brother, Charles:
Evers’ brother, Charles Evers, said Thursday he has long thought that Barrett didn’t really believe the things he said, but used them to entice people to donate money to his cause.
‘I think it was just a way he had to live,’ Evers said. ‘He made a living talking all that racist talk.’
And that’s about the truth of it. Whether it’s Sharpton and Jackson on the one side, or any number of low-level white supremacists on the other, the whole thing is pretty much nothing more than a money racket. God bless Charles Evers for all that he’s gone through, and for speaking the truth.
Apollo posted this at 11:53 PM CDT on Saturday, April 24th, 2010 as Amer-I-Can!, Race
In light of the vile threats and controversy surrounding the most recent episodes of South Park I’ve decided to post this video in support of the most patriotic and American show on tv. It contains NSFW language, but who cares, this is what America is all about:
Let me start by saying this is silly and counterproductive. Whatever criticisms may or may not exist regarding Obama’s failure to produce a birth certificate, his mother was an American citizen, so he is an American citizen. The notion of excluding from the presidency Americans born overseas, such as George Meade or John McCain, is stupid.
Nonetheless, I find it very, very hard to disagree with this:
[There is a subset of birthers] where I would put myself – a person:
1) who wonders why it is so difficult for Obama to provide an actual Birth Certificate; and
2) who sees a connection between the lack of details and secrecy regarding Obama’s birth and the lack of details and secrecy about so much else of Obama’s life – his connections to Ayers, his grades in college, the papers he published, the lectures he taught, etc.
I don’t think Obama was born in Kenya or any other place other than Hawaii.
But I find it outrageous and ridiculous that we know more about Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber than we know about Obama.
There was an effort during the 2008 campaign to hide and misrepresent parts of Obama’s life. I have a feeling that in 2012, those who raise questions about unaccounted for periods of his pre-presidential life will be asked, “Why didn’t you ask that in 2008?” Of course, we did. Of course, we didn’t get answers. And, of course, the next time these questions are relevant we’ll simply be told that they’re old news, or somesuch.
Obviously, Obama didn’t produce a birth certificate in 2008 because he wanted to let his detractors continue on like rabid dogs and make fools of themselves. In the words of Borat, “Great success!” But the real story behind that is that the same news media who dared to ask who Trig’s real mother was is perfectly content with the “other-people-say-it’s-so-so-it’s-so” story from the Obama camp.In a world where journalists were actually curious quesiton-askers, instead of partisan ass-kissers, every reporter for every paper in the land would be a birther to one degree or another.
I wasn’t expecting a PhD thesis (and in fact had hoped to write a post supporting the book as a well-reasoned case for certain principles that upset academics just because it didn’t employ a bunch of pseudo-intellectual tropes). But when I waded into the first couple of chapters, I found that – while I had a lot of sympathy for many of its basic points – it seemed to all but ignore the most obvious counter-arguments that could be raised to any of its assertions. This sounds to me like a pretty good plain English meaning of epistemic closure. The problem with this, of course, is that unwillingness to confront the strongest evidence or arguments contrary to our own beliefs normally means we fail to learn quickly, and therefore persist in correctable error.
I’m not expert on many topics the book addresses, so I flipped to its treatment of a subject that I’ve spent some time studying – global warming – in order to see how it treated a controversy for which I’m at least familiar with the various viewpoints and some of the technical detail.
It was awful. It was so bad that it was like the proverbial clock that chimes 13 times – not only is it obviously wrong, but it is so wrong that it leads you to question every other piece of information it has ever provided.
There are many reasons to write a book. One view is that a book is just another consumer product, and if people want to buy Jalapeno-and-oyster flavored ice cream, then companies will sell it to them. If the point of Liberty and Tyranny was to sell a lot of copies, it was obviously an excellent book. Further, despite what intellectuals will often claim, most people (including me) don’t really want their assumptions challenged most of the time (e.g., the most intense readers of automobile ads are people who have just bought the advertised car, because they want to validate their already-made decision). I get that people often want comfort food when they read. Fair enough. But if you’re someone who read this book in order to help form an honest opinion about global warming, then you were suckered. Liberty and Tyranny does not present a reasoned overview of the global warming debate; it doesn’t even present a reasoned argument for a specific point of view, other than that of willful ignorance. This section of the book is an almost perfect example of epistemic closure.
I’ve had a half-mind to read Liberty & Tyranny for much of the same reason I read Twilight and saw Avatar: not only because they’re all wildly popular, but also because people I know and trust found profoundly disliked them, and I’m curious to see who’s right. Next time I’m a the library, I’ll borrow a copy.
But I will purchase — at full price, if necessary — Manzi’s next book.
Update: Predictable reactions form Manzi’s fellow Cornerites, K-Lo and Andy McCarthy.
Despite the fact that there’s no conclusive evidence that salt is unhealthy, and despite (because of?) the fact that salt makes food taste good, Big Nanny wants to regulate salt. How can we be confident that this is hogwash? It’s a movement headed up by the “Center for Science in the Public Interest,” perhaps the single most inaccurately named institution in all the land.
So what’s the best evidence they can muster in favor of regulating salt? I hope it’s not this, which is the only evidence cited in the story:
A recent study by researchers at Columbia and Stanford universities and the University of California at San Francisco found that cutting salt intake by 3 grams a day could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks, strokes and cases of heart disease.
Well, 3 grams, that doesn’t sound like much, right? Unhelpfully, the journalist doesn’t mention how much salt people normally consume in a day. Helpfully, though, there’s this neat chart included with the story:
Wow, we consume 3500 grams and only need to reduce intake by 3 in order to save tens of thousands of lives. Regulate away, Big Nanny!
Oh, wait, I remember learning about the metric system in grade school. That chart says we consume 3500 mg. A few minutes of clicking on my calculator tell me that that’s . . . 3.5 grams. If we reduce that by 3 grams, we get .5 grams. For breakfast this morning, I had an English muffin (200 mg) with unsalted butter (1 mg), two eggs (156 mg), and half and half in my coffee (30 mg). In my rather unsalty breakfast, I’ve consumed 72% of that .5 grams.
So in a story about the government regulating salt to save lives, the only evidence cited is a study showing that if we reduce salt consumption by 6/7 (86%), there’ll be less heart disease. But check out the pie graph, showing that 12% (425 mg) is naturally occuring, like in the completely unprocessed eggs I ate this morning. To reduce consumption by 3 grams a day, then, you’d basically have to get rid of all non-naturally occuring salt. No salt for flavor. No salt for preservation. No salt for texture. And please, please, don’t think of eating a bag of chips.
I’m not sure I will ever understand the Big Nanny urge to control the health of my fellow citizens. But regulating salt goes beyond that; this isn’t about health, it’s about controlling people’s lives, and regulating the American diet to correspond to the tastes of a few hairshirt liberals.
The classic definition of science is that it creates theories that are falsifiable. Compare that definition to this story.
Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo, climate scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, say that only about half of the heat believed to have built up in the Earth in recent years can be accounted for. . . .
“The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later,” Trenberth said. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”
This sounds like something I would have written on the write-up for a high school chemistry project when asked, “Why didn’t you get the result you expected?” Of course, in high school chemistry I was running experiments based upon centuries-old fundamentals, and deviance from the expected answer was always my fault. Also, I wasn’t expecting governments around the globe to rearrange their economies based on my results.
I find this story quite fascinating. The Vatican has linked the Roman church’s child abuse issues to homosexuality. In a strictly definitional sense, I’m not sure why this is the slightest bit controversial; every single case I’ve seen involved a male priest assaulting a boy. Homosexual, in the strictest sense.
Gay rights groups, obviously, feel the need to differentiate what perverted priests do from what your average gay man does. I sincerely hope this isn’t their best answer:
“This is a scientific absurdity. The World Health Organization calls homosexuality a variation of human behaviour. It is paedopholia that is a pathology, a crime, not homosexuality,” said Franco Grillini, a former parliamentarian who was at the vanguard of Italy’s gay rights movement.
Of course, 40 years ago homosexuality was considered a pathology, and in large parts of the civilized world was a crime (it’s still a crime in vast swaths of the globe). If the difference between right and wrong hinges on the definitions provided by some politically influenced international agency, humanity is doomed.
Even if the need for an age of consent is objectively obvious, any particular age of consent is going to be arbitrary. 12? 14? 16? 18? 20? – one could make a case for each of those; one could also find a society in the world that adhered to each, or to another. In contrast, legal definitions that divide the genders are (with very rare exceptions) objectively correct. If this were a line-drawing competition, there’s not question of which side would win. The difference between heterosexuality and homosexuality is obvious and concrete. The difference between pedophilia and consensual sex is one that varies significantly across cultures and times periods, and, at the margins, at the individual level.
I’m not here to equivocate between homosexuality and pedophilia. Obviously, one, by definition, hurts an innocent party, while the other does not. But no thinking person can, as Mr. Grillani does, simply point out that one is illegal in some Western countries and the other isn’t and say that the difference, therefore, is obvious.
The gay rights movement’s obsession with normalizing homosexuality doesn’t help things. I think it’s perfectly reasonable for one to observe that, obviously, heterosexual intercourse between post-pubescent males and females of child-bearing age is the norm, while also observing that some individuals have impulses, of varying strength, toward other types of sexual behavior. We don’t have to expand the definition of the norm, or destroy it altogether, to allow that there is some natural variance, and that those who vary should be tolerated. And it is obvious that certain kinds of variances are harmful to the innocent, while other variances seem to harm no one.
But how far can these variances go before they cross the line between moral and immoral? The Catholic Church has offered a coherent answer (one that I don’t necessarily agree with), that any non-procreative sex is a sin. It’s a shame that their critics don’t put as much thought into the matter.
The lede paragraph of this story is the most disturbing thing I’ve read in months:
Leading voices in the Senate are considering a new tax on gasoline as part of an effort to win Republican and oil industry support for the energy and climate bill now idling in Congress.
In what surreal world does raising taxeshelp get Republican support? Oh, right, the senate, on a day when Goober has decided to be a baddie.
Obama and the Democrats are setting Republicans up for an epic win this November. The only way Republicans can avoid being swept into control of [at least] one house of Congress is if the party signs on to Obama’s bigger government, higher tax agenda. With the predictability of tomorrow’s sunrise, that is precisely what Goober wants to do.
I think I have finally coalesced my aversion to listening to Mark Levin into a workable theory. First listen to this. From my experiences listening to Levin over the last 2 years (admittedly not every day, but once or twice a week), this clip is pretty emblematic. I’ve come to the following conclusion:
I just don’t have the desire to be that angry for 3 hours a day.
I have other things going on in my life, work, friends, relationships. I just don’t need my blood pressure spiking like that. Ignore the fact that Levin is making sweeping generalizations about a fictional person that hasn’t even been nominated to a Supreme Court vacancy that doesn’t exist yet, and focus a moment on the style. Levin’s schtick (an admittedly very successful one) is a combination of bombast and anger filtered through an incredibly high pitched nasally voice that causes his screams to feel like nails on a chalkboard. The fact that this outpouring of rage stems from a truly impressive intellect is almost totally lost to me.
I guess some people have a desire to be enraged all the time. I’m just not one of them.
On the one hand, we have some white racists giving the old facist salute. On the other hand, we have some black guys going on about confiscating land from whitey. On the third hand, we seem to have the sport of soccer, the preferred recreation of hooligans and socialists the world over. I’d give 4, maybe 5 dollars for all parties to lose.
Granted, the Dobos torte doesn’t intuitively follow, but I’ve never found anyone who complained about receiving a slice. To drink, we had a Texas pinot grigio (the ’08, not the ’07), and then a white Rias Baixas, which I wasn’t familiar with before tonight, but enjoyed quite a bit.