Monthly Archives: December 2015

Campus Hate Crimes: Hoaxes Edition


I’m actually surprised there were not more confirmed hoaxes.  According to The College Fix, there have been a few examples of activists who couldn’t find enough hate, so they had to make their own:

BEST

November 2015: Remember that awful bag of poop found on the doorsteps of Vanderbilt University’s Black Cultural Center? How could anyone do such a thing? Racism! That’s what most of the school claimed, outraged. Well, someone could do such a thing, if they are blind,walking their dog, and could not find a trash can to throw away their guide pet’s excrement, as a student later explained to the campus.

December 2015: Probably the most ridiculously egregious hate-crime hoax of the year hails from Kean University, where an alumnus and former president of its Pan African Student Union left a campus protest against racism at her alma mater to tweet out “racist” statements against demonstrators from the campus library. [She then went back to the protests and showed her friends the racist tweets.]

Racism exists, and it shouldn’t.  These cases show that we have a long way to go in order to stop hate speech.  Including fake hate speech.

 

If Something Bothers You, Don’t Read It


 

From xkcd:

 

Now, John Hoge has been tracking one particular reader with interest. My understanding is that the individual might in the long term benefit from some non-internet time.

As I’ve said before, in the Schmalfeldt controversy,  one side is accused of saying harsh things about someone.  The other side has a long history of reaching into other’s lives through direct contact.  That means saying things to someone.  One might be harassment, and the other isn’t.

If a website bothers you, don’t read it.

In May, 2012 this was the advice Bill Schmalfeldt gave to people who did not like his writing:

This diary, short and sweet, is really dedicated to the six people who found no humor whatsoever, thank you, in the piece I wrote yesterday about how it’s the “butt stuff” that male homophobes find so scary about “teh gey”.

Duty Calls

Also from xkcd.

It is not an apology.

It’s a suggestion.

Stop reading my stuff.

 

 

 

Arctic Water Too warm, Seals Affected


The latest news from 1922:

globalwarming.jpg

 

Snopes says “Fact:”

That article in turn was based on information relayed by the American consul in Norway to the U.S. State Department in October 1922 and published in the Monthly Weather Review:

The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fisherman, seal seaL.jpghunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto underheard-of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s surface.

In August, 1922, the Norwegian Department of Commerce sent an expedition to Spitzbergen and Bear Island under the leadership of Dr. Adolf Hoel, lecturer on geology at the University of Christiania. Its purpose was to survey and chart the lands adjacent to the Norwegian mines on those islands, take soundings of the adjacent waters, and make other oceanographic investigations.

Snopes also says that it was just a local event, but all weather is local.
As interesting as this nearly century-old article might be from a modern perspective, however, it isn’t substantive evidence either for or against the concept of anthropogenic global warming. As documentedelsewhere, the warming phenomena observed in 1922 proved to be indicative only of a local event in Spitzbergen, not a trend applicable to the Arctic as a whole.
But any odd weather events can be used by Global Climate Change fanatics as proof of a trend.

 

What Liberals Think Conservatives Are All About


 

I love reading material from the web site Skepic.  It’s associated with a solid science group which debunks and educates about pseudoscience and fakery.  Sometimes it’s pretty interesting stuff.

This gem was in an essay titled “Once Upon a Time-Rethinking the Fight Against Extremists” by Tina Dupuy:

Every group of radicals nee extremists—from ISIS to the Klan to the House GOP’s Freedom Caucus—all have the same lure: Today is chaotic, unpredictable and worse than it was, so we must return to a time when things were better. A well-proven formula for radicalization is to take the disorientated, disenfranchised and disappointed; add a universal yarn about the Good Ol’ Days and stir.

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Extremist is a word which might describe the House GOP Freedom Caucus only if you’re very much on the far left of the political perspective.

The Pew Research Center described the members as conservative, “though not all are on the rightmost end of the spectrum.” But it’s fashionable to toss conservatives in with ISIS and the KLAN, because apparently each group is for some wild-eyed radical agenda like beheading infidels and keeping the cost of government down.

The Republican Party—and conservatives specifically—tout the 1950s as being the storied time they want to get us back to. That’s when America was great and it was great to be American! GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s slogan is “make this country great again.” Also-ran Carly Fiorina’s is the boilerplate, “take our country back.” That was also the battle cry of the tea party. They wanted to take their country back, I assumed they meant from the black guy running it, but they’d tell you it was to take the country back to the Eisenhower administration. “Brian Williams began his report on the death of Annette Funicello,” writes Toni Bernhard in Psychology Today, “by wistfully referring to the 1950s as ‘a sweeter era, one of genuine innocence.’”

United_Civil_Rights_Committee_LA

Well, it wasn’t sweeter for everybody.

What are Dupuy’s pieces of evidence that conservatives hanker for the ’50’s?  Two slogans which seem to indicate that both Trump and Fiorina are trying to tap into either optimism or frustration about the last few years.  Neither mention the ’50’s.

Since Brian Williams probably isn’t a conservative, his use of the phrase about a sweeter era really has more to do with Williams and his writers than it does about conservatives.  Dupuy’s other example was from somebody on the forum Topix.  Really?

Do Republicans yearn for the glory days of the 1950’s?  Big cars, mom in the kitchen?  Minorities in the back of the bus?  Blacklists?  Two superpowers aiming nukes at each other?  A rising standard of living? Commies in the State Dept?  Duck and cover drill?  No.  Not all of it.

Like everyone, conservatives and liberals alike want to take what we have now, and improve it.  I’d like the Eisenhower economy, or even the Clinton economy, and the patriotism of the post-war years.  It’d be nice to have a common culture that tolerated, if not supported all religion. America had optimism and pride, well earned in both respects.

I know we won’t get there if both sides only know each other only as radicals or extremists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Microaggressions of 2015


From Campus Reform, a short list of things some college students found offensive, because they’re victims, you guys!

4. ASU students: ‘walk-only zones’ are ‘microaggression’ to disabled people

In May, a group of students at Arizona State University petitioned the university to change the name of its pedestrian walkways from “Walk-Only-Zones” to something more inclusive. According to a petition started by ASU students, the walkway “marginalizes disabled bodies who cannot walk” and could be considered a “microaggression.”

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7. U-Cal. system: saying America is ‘land of opportunity’ a microaggression

The University of California school system distributed a list of “microaggressions” to all of its faculty members in order to “broaden faculty leaders’ capacity to support faculty diversity and enhance department and campus climate toward inclusive excellence.” According to the list, statements asserting that “race or gender does not play a role in life successes” are offensive and perpetuate a “myth of meritocracy.” Examples of statements of this kind are “America is the land of opportunity” and “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.”

 

Related: Minding the Campus – The University as Nursery and Too Many Hollow Men on Campus

UPDATE: Syracuse University student says if you’re not up to date with latest music, that’s a microaggression.

 

Very Hard to Prove Some Things


 

What follows is not legal advice, just an observation.  Bill Schmalfeldt is suing people who write about him in part because of what he figures is false light.  Brett Kimberlin sued under the same issues. In August 2014, he had his day in court.  The following is from the transcript.  The judge is addressing the issues of defamation and false light:

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Brett Kimberlin had been mocked as the “Dred Pedo Kimberlin,” and had his non-profit groups connected with his previous life as a serial bomber.

Now, I didn’t do well on the LSAT (Law School entrance exam) so I never got to be a lawyer.  And different judges view things differently.  But assume for a moment these issues were dealt with in a similar manner in Schmalfeldt’s case.

Daddy

Formerly Sterling Reputation

  • In both cases, the complaint is about writings directed at a mass audience about, but not to an individual.
  • In both cases, the individual objects to the material, and claims their reputation has been harmed.
  • Do the people being sued by Bill Schmalfeldt have a legitimate reason to believe as they do? Do they have photographic evidence?
  • Has his reputation ban sullied?  What was his reputation before the writings?
  • Can Bill Schmalfeldt find anyone who will state that they held him in good regard, and now have a diminished opinion of him? Is that even possible?
  • What activities has Bill Schmalfeldt participated in which might have caused his reputation to suffer? (I’m thinking here about writings which are still available online, comedy recordings written and produced by Bill Schmalfeldt, and statements he made on Twitter.)
  • Would now be a good time for Bill to quit this madness, before everybody has been served?

    Jerk Bill

    Bill briefly offered well-wishes to someone who he wrongly thought was divorcing.  What a guy!

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BILL NITRO

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This Idea Will Come Here: A ‘Basic Income’


The idea that everybody should get a basic wage, paid by the government, is getting traction in Denmark and the UK.

From the Guardian:

“We don’t call it a basic income in Utrecht because people have an idea about it – that it is just free money and people will sit at home and watch TV,” said Heleen de Boer, a Green councillor in that city, which is half an hour south of Amsterdam.

Nevertheless, the municipalities are, in the words of de Boer, taking a “small step” towards a basic income for all by allowing small groups of benefit claimants to be paid £660 a month – and keep any earnings they make from work on top of that. Their monthly pay will not be means-tested. They will instead have the security of that cash every month, and the option to decide whether they want to add to that by finding work. The outcomes will be analysed by eminent economist Loek Groot, a professor at the University of Utrecht.

I’m sure the eminent economist will find that some folks won’t actually work extra, but will instead mooch off the rest of the productive folks. Which is the system now, but the new scheme will be easier to administer, since everybody qualifies.

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Denmark, 2016

The motivation behind the experiment in Utrecht, according to Nienke Horst, a senior policy adviser to the municipality’s Liberal Democrat leadership, is for claimants to avoid the “poverty trap” – the fact that if they earn, they will lose benefits, and potentially be worse off.

The idea also hopes to target “revolving door clients” – those who are forced into jobs by the system but repeatedly walk out of them. If given a basic income, the thinking goes, these people might find the time and space to look for long-term employment that suits them.

Or, they might sit around eat the Danish equivalent of cheese doodles and beer.

The plan is to start small, with just a few municipalities, which will be crowded with Danish layabouts within a year.  Eventually, everybody will get this basic income, because well, governments never run short of money.