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Post-Debacle Kavanaugh Impressions October 6, 2018

Posted by geoff in News.
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My favorite part of Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Brett Kavanaugh was how it totally killed off his chance to provide an alibi.

“You want to claim you weren’t there on that date? Hah! I’m never going to give you a firm date or a specific location!! Now try to claim you weren’t there!”

Not that I cared much about the Animal House-era high school/college shenanigans of, well, anybody who’s had a long, successful career. People in college do crazy things just to push the envelope, but a decade later are locked into banal lifestyles, their excesses long forgotten. And one’s youth is supposed to be mistake-ridden – what happened to forbearance and understanding toward these kids who are learning about themselves and their relationship with others and society?

The big takeaway from the whole debacle is that Democrats and their constituents didn’t exhibit any appreciation for the American justice system.* They showed themselves to be completely unqualified to opine on judicial matters.

Diane Feinstein has joined Harry Reid on the list of “say anything” Democrat fabulists.

*Hiding behind the specious “it’s a job interview” argument is dishonest. Any claim against any person should be immediately rejected if it is as vague and unsubstantiated as Ford’s was.

Some Elephants October 4, 2018

Posted by Sobek in News.
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No Mascot Safe From the Nags October 3, 2018

Posted by geoff in News.
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I’m continually perplexed by the liberal claim that they have a more nuanced view of, well, everything, compared to the over-simplified Manichean view of conservatives. It’s not that I don’t think the claim is worthy of discussion, but that all that revered nuance disappears when they find a reason to dislike something.

Consider the innocuous mascot of CSULB, Prospector Pete:

California State University, Long Beach, has decided to do away with its “Prospector Pete” mascot amid concerns that it’s connected to genocide — and some students and faculty at the university are recommending that the school avoid using any person or people-inspired replacement to avoid offense.

The Times explains that the idea of Prospector Pete originated from the campus’s founding in 1949, with the founding president — Pete Peterson — saying he had “struck the gold of education” with the establishment of the college. Many students, however, don’t see it that way. Rather, they see it as a sort of relic of racism and of the genocide of Native Americans that occurred during the Gold Rush era.

It’s an undeniable truth that nothing in this world is perfect, and that anything can upset someone, somewhere, sometime. But almost nothing is perfectly bad, either, and we can often take positive messages from even the most heinous people or events.

You can paint almost any  historical figure or event with the brush of racism, but that’s a myopic way to view history. Just as Thomas Jefferson isn’t primarily defined by his slave-owning, Prospector Pete isn’t primarily defined by genocide and racism. He is meant to symbolize the excitement and energy brought to California during the Gold Rush.

But appreciating the positives requires some of that there nuance that I apparently don’t have.

If the Social Justites are going to continue, then I suggest we replace all mascots with victim groups. Then CSULB can call themselves something like “The CSULB Survivors.”

Until a victim group with a higher intersectional victimization score takes issue with it.

How to Legitimately Overturn Precedent September 29, 2018

Posted by Sobek in News.
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From Hot Air: “ABC’s Terry Moran: Overturning Roe Won’t Be Legitimate if Kavanaugh and Thomas are Deciding Votes

And Allah notes that this isn’t really about Kavanaugh at all.  There’s enough wiggle room that the argument can change configurations as necessary to always reach the same conclusion.

Another thing that’s revealing is how many different arguments in the alternative against the legitimacy of overturning Roe are bundled into a clip that runs less than a minute in length. A simple argument capitalizing on the news du jour would be that any majority which includes Kavanaugh will be illegitimate because of the nature of the allegations against him. A more complex argument would be that any majority which includes Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas is doubly illegitimate because they’ve both been accused on the record of sexual assault. Make that claim and you’ve got your bases covered even if Kavanaugh ends up being borked and his replacement ends up on the Court as the fifth anti-Roe vote. Was Clarence Thomas one of the five votes too? Then it doesn’t count.

But Moran[] … notes that any all-malemajority with Kavanaugh and Thomas that overturns Roe would be suspect. … Was the majority composed of five men? Well, then, it’s illegitimate.

And what if, say, Amy Coney Barrett were to replace Kavanaugh as nominee and provide the fifth vote? … If Gorsuch and a second Trump appointee are part of a majority that overturns Roe, it would mean that two of the five votes came from justices nominated by a president who lost the popular vote. … Plenty of people grasping for reasons to believe that an outcome they despise is unfair will grasp at it.

I agree with all of that – if you’re anti-fetus, then no set of circumstances could possibly arise that would mean you can legitimately overturn Roe.  It was a decision handed down from Mount Sinai itself, as canonical as Genesis and as inerrant as Revelation.

I want to talk about the problem with judicial activism that liberals have created for themselves.  I’m going to assume (contrary to the evidence) that their arguments are based on intellectual rigor, rather than stating the conclusion and working backwards for a justification.

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CBS Twists Statistics and Reality in Their Attempted Trump Debunking September 20, 2018

Posted by geoff in News.
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Another day, another failed Trump debunking.

Today we have Irina Ivanova of CBS news telling us that Trump is incorrect when he claims that the recovery from the Great Recession was the slowest since the Great Depression. Here’s her first chart:

job-recovery-recessions.png

Looky looky! That darn Bush had worse job recovery than Obama!

But.

Let me start by saying that this is a stupid chart to measure recovery, because it gives no indication of what you’re recovering from. A better measure would be: how long did it take the job market to recover the jobs lost in the recession?

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Poseidon September 19, 2018

Posted by Sobek in News.
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Double Crested Cormorant September 18, 2018

Posted by Sobek in News.
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So named because during mating season, it gets big white plumes of feathers on either side of the head, which makes it look very much like Bernie Sanders.

Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo September 18, 2018

Posted by Sobek in News.
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The oldest mosque in Cairo still surviving in its original form, and the largest in terms of land area. It was completed in 879 AD.

Untitled September 17, 2018

Posted by Sobek in News.
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Common Grackle September 14, 2018

Posted by Sobek in News.
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September 2018 Employment Report September 7, 2018

Posted by geoff in News.
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The Employment Situation Summary report is out today, with some accolades from the press for “Higher Than Expected Job Growth“. By the IB employment metric, however, we’ve had no real progress in almost a year.

FullTimeEmpvsCivPopSep2018Report

The IB metric is a harsh one, only counting full-time jobs, and dividing by the civilian non-institutional population rather than the working population. But it’s a fair measure of how tough life is: it counts how many people with decent jobs are supporting how many people.

And by that measure, we’ve stalled out since last September. At least we’re still above 0.5, though.

About That Missing American Flag in ‘First Man’ August 31, 2018

Posted by geoff in News.
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So the (supposedly very good otherwise) movie about Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon didn’t include the planting of the American flag.

“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement (and) that’s how we chose to view it,” he said. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

“So I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero,” Gosling told the Telegraph. “From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil.”

So, in a landmark space mission where weight is essential, mission planners decided to build a custom designed flag assembly to carry to the moon because . . . it wasn’t important? There certainly was a sentiment that the achievement was an advancement for all mankind, but the fact that Americans spent 7 years and the equivalent of $65 billion/year (2015 dollars), and that American lives were on the line when the mission was conducted, certainly suggests that some Canadian actor shouldn’t be trying to diminish the American contribution.

Finally, I’m willing to buy that Neil Armstrong didn’t view himself as an ‘American hero’ because I doubt he viewed himself as a hero.

But I’m pretty sure he thought of himself as an American.