August 22, 2019

SOUTH CHINA SEA: Has Beijing Given Up Fortifying Its Illegal Islands?

More than a century before France built the ill-fated Maginot Line, Napoleon Bonaparte supposedly was presented with a similar fortification plan, and his response (perhaps apocryphal) was, “What are you trying to defend me against, smugglers?” American General George S. Patton is on the record saying, “Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.” More broadly, from the SWAT team preparing to bring in a criminal holed up in a bank, to a bunker-buster bomb crippling the best-engineered underground fortress, if there’s one thing governments know how to do, it’s how to bring overwhelming force down on a known location.

That’s been my line of thinking while most everyone else has been fretting about China’s unprecedented fortification of the South China Sea (SCS) — and now it seems that even Beijing has caught on to their error.

Read the whole thing, if you don’t mind me saying so myself.

THE JOYS OF BUYING YOUR OWN FIGHTER JET. A colleague of mine looked into buying a surplus Mig-17 but basically concluded that despite the low purchase price it would be a money pit.

NOT SO FAST! NYT Sr. Staff Editor Thomas Wright-Piersanti deletes anti-Semitic and racist tweets after being outed (we got ’em!).

More here: ‘Crappy Jew Year’: New York Times Editor’s Antisemitism, Racism Exposed.

Between Wright-Piersanti and Sarah Jeong’s racism, no wonder the Times recently embarked on its “1619 Project” — it’s pure projectionism. Or as Andrew Sullivan, astonishingly enough, wrote last year, “I don’t think the New York Times should fire [Jeong] — in part because they largely share her views on race, gender, and oppression. Their entire hiring and editorial process is based on them.”

UM, REALLY? The Surprising Surge of Andrew Yang.

Andrew Yang was sitting here in a rented silver Suburban outside a black chamber of commerce surrounded by five members of his rapidly growing campaign staff when he saw a new Fox News poll in which he was tied for fifth in the sprawling Democratic presidential primary.

He stared at the screen of his phone and scrolled.

“Three percent!” Yang said, in his characteristically dry, droll way. “This team. Is the team. That’s going to go … all. The. Way. To the White House!”

Yang breezily walked into the chamber building and got onto a packed elevator. To the county party chair squeezed into a corner, Yang excitedly passed along the results of the poll, listing in order the only people who were ahead of him—a former vice president (Joe Biden) and three high-profile senators (Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris).

“And then me!” he exclaimed, flashing a goofy, exaggerated smile.

Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but Andrew Yang is … surging?

He’s trading at 10-to-1 or sometimes 11-to-1 on the PredictIt market.

SHOCKING NEWS FROM THE WORLD OF SCIENCE: Study: Selfie-takers viewed as self-absorbed, less successful.

CROWDSOURCING LIBERTY: How the Hong Kong Protestors’ Tactical Brilliance Backed Beijing into a Corner.

One of the reasons for the effectiveness of the protest movement is the decision to remain leaderless. In an op-ed article in 2017, Nicholas Berggruen, chairman of the Berggruen Institute, suggests that resistance movements need strong and charismatic leaders to succeed. Many resistance movements such as the Civil Rights Movement with Martin Luther King Jr., the resistance to apartheid with Nelson Mandela, and the India Independence Movement with Gandhi benefited greatly from such leadership.

But the outcome of Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy movement suggests that the current protests would not be nearly as robust or effective if it did have such leaders. Joshua Wong, the strong and charismatic leader of the Umbrella movement in 2014, was jailed in 2017 for unlawful assembly. With strong leaders present, the authorities can arrest them, fatally weakening a movement. Given the deterioration of the rule of law in Hong Kong, the authorities could conceivably jail all of the movement’s linchpins with considerable ease. But with a leaderless movement, the authorities have no such power. So far, the Hong Kong Police Force has arrested hundreds of protesters while the movement has not lost any momentum because the contribution of no single individual is vital.

Didn’t somebody write a book about this, once upon a time?

OLD AND BUSTED: Avoid Gas Station Sushi.

The New Hotness? Avoid Gas Station Sex Pills: Major League Baseball warns of stiff penalty over gas station sex pills.

NOBODY, NOT EVEN A HOLLYWOOD ACTOR, IS ACTUALLY THIS STUPID: Lori Loughlin reportedly thought college ‘bribe’ was like donating a library.

DEPRESSION LUST: No One Wants a Recession… (Video):

(Classical reference in headline.)

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Intimidation-Produced Silence at Stanford.

Cost of attending the toxic environment of Stanford University: $68,152 per year.

HATE CRIMES:  The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights just voted to adopt a mammoth report on hate crimes that liberally cites the Southern Poverty Law Center.  I voted against it for several reasons.  One of those reasons is that the federal hates crimes statute, which purports, in part, to be an exercise of Congress’s authority to ban slavery, is unconstitutional, as explained here.

IT’S THE SAME OLD SONG: Biden Promises Unions Can Keep Their Health Insurance Plans if He’s Elected.

MSM LAUNCHES JIHAD AGAINST RIGHT MEDIA? Tuesday, it was The Epoch Times in the cross-hairs of the fact-free-zone newsrooms at NBC/MSNBC today it’s the New York Times going after Floyd Brown and the Western Journal. Anything contrary to the elitist MSM narrative is branded “disinformation,” or worse.

The people in those newsrooms call themselves “journalists,” yet, with few exceptions, that is no longer a credible label for what they do. Who will be tomorrow’s target, The Federalist? The Daily Caller? Washington Examiner? Washington Free Beacon? Instapundit?

GONE WITH THE WIND: Strong wind blows dozens of air mattresses through Denver park (video).

YOUR DAILY TREACHER: Team Biden to Dems: Sorry, You’re Stuck with Joe.

SOME THINGS ARE BETTER LEFT UNSAID: Ring asks police not to tell public how its law enforcement backend works.

A VIPER ON ITS WAY TO WORK: A USMC AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter takes off from the deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer. The ship is passing through the Strait of Hormuz– which means Iran is nearby. Note the Light Assault Vehicle (LAV) on the deck. That seems to be a standard procedure. Here’s a LAV on the deck of the USS Wasp. I put this photo up on Instapundit earlier in the month. At the earlier post you’ll find a link to a discussion about Iranian small boat “swarm” tactics.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Study finds ‘ideological similarity, hostility, and discrimination’ rampant in academic philosophy. Remember, when taxpayers tire of funding this, we’ll be told it’s because of “anti-intellectualism.”

“WE BLEW IT:” 50 Years Later, the Spirit of ’69 Feels Like a Hangover.

THIS DOESN’T SURPRISE ME: The Truth About Faster Internet: It’s Not Worth It.

The Wall Street Journal studied the internet use of 53 of our journalists across the country, over a period of months, in coordination with researchers at Princeton University and the University of Chicago.

Our panelists used only a fraction of their available bandwidth to watch streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube, even simultaneously. Quality didn’t improve much with higher speeds. Picture clarity was about the same. Videos didn’t launch quicker.

Broadband providers such as Comcast Corp., Charter Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. are marketing speeds in the range of 250, 500 or even 1,000 megabits a second, often promising that streaming-video bingers will benefit. “Fast speeds for all of your shows,” declares one online ad from Comcast.

But for a typical household, the benefits of paying for more than 100 megabits a second are marginal at best, according to the researchers. That means many households are paying a premium for services they don’t need.

What follows is our evidence that you’re being oversold.

We upgraded our speed when we ditched cable, figuring why not, because the overall bill was lower. But except for being able to complete large downloads in less time — which I hardly ever do — I haven’t noticed any real-world difference.

INDOCTRINATION DISGUISED AS TOLERANCE: NC art prof slams faculty diversity workshop, claims admin using Orwell as ‘instruction manual.’ And the disguise has worn pretty thin.

KRUISER’S MORNING BRIEF: Spicey’s Dancing With the Stars on Liberal Feelings. “Democrats all across the land are having yet another foot-stomping, snot-bubbling, toddler-esque meltdown, this time because a Republican guy they don’t like is going to be on a television show they’ve never watched.”

WHAT HATH HONG KONG’S PROTESTS WROUGHT?: China is the Pentagon’s “number 1 priority” says Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Of course those fake islands filching territory in the South China Sea and Beijing’s pervasive spying and intellectual property theft (theft of American creativity) factor in America’s military and economic response to China’s aggressive expansionism.

My latest Creators Syndicate column examines the disinformation campaign Beijing is waging against Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

DEEP BACKGROUND: Chapter 3, Cocktails from Hell. The Dragon Revives. Beijing’s cocktail from hell of intimidation and lies isn’t working out as the ChiCom leaders thought it would.

QUESTION ASKED: If Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib can boycott Israel, why can’t Israel boycott them?

Of course, there’s no guarantee such a boycott could work

 

SKYNET FROWNS: Google DeepMind Co-Founder Placed on Leave From AI Lab.

POSEURS GONNA POSE:

How does one “bully” a prince and a duchess?

Related: How green is St Greta’s Ark? Er, not very. “Some intriguing revelations about the crewing arrangements emerged soon after departure. It turns out that the three westbound crossing crew will be flying back from New York to Europe, while the replacement crew of five will be flying from Europe to New York for the return passage.”

HMM:

THINK OF THEM AS LEFTIST OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE: I was an Irish student at the YAF conference – the entire Irish media lied about it.

Related: The Irish media’s despicable smearing of Killian Foley Walsh.

THE PROVOCATIONS OF CAMILLE PAGLIA: The maverick critic and scholar has championed great art, defended free speech, and offered groundbreaking analysis of popular culture.

A professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she has taught since 1984, Paglia became an intellectual celebrity after the 1990 publication of Sexual Personae, her first book, which carries the subtitle Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. Melding history and psychology with art and literature and laced with references to popular culture, the book delivered a one-two punch to academe. A feminist critical of the modern women’s movement, Paglia insisted on the greatness of Western civilization, though it was already unfashionable to do so. And she asserted that its greatness resulted from a creative but violent tension between male and female—between the Apollonian male principle of order (civilization) and the Dionysian female principle of chaos (nature). Two of the book’s most quoted lines are “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts” and “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.” Reading Sexual Personae, one reviewer wrote, was “a bit like being mugged.”

Now, nearly 30 years later, Paglia has once again found herself in the middle of the culture wars. Taking aim at the #MeToo movement, she told an interviewer that it is “ridiculous that any university ever tolerated a complaint of a girl coming in six months or a year after an event. If a real rape was committed, go frigging report it to the police.” In April, students at her university, upset by such statements, tried to de-platform Paglia, a lesbian who identifies as transgender. When they failed to get her scheduled lecture, “Ambiguous Images: Sexual Duality and Sexual Multiplicity in Western Art,” canceled or moved off campus, they organized a protest during the talk—and someone pulled the fire alarm. Later, the protesters urged the university to replace Paglia with a “queer person of color.”

Fortunately, the university’s president, David Yager, did what many of his peers at other schools roiled by such protests have failed to do: issued a statement defending freedom of expression. “Artists over the centuries,” Yager wrote in an e-mail to campus, “have suffered censorship, and even persecution, for the expression of their beliefs through their work. My answer is simple: Not now, not at UArts.” Paglia was delighted. An outspoken defender of free speech, she is horrified by the rise of censorship in academia—and was especially aghast, given her own history, at Yale’s attempt to police students’ Halloween costumes in 2015.

In her latest book, an essay collection called Provocations, she states that she’d like to be remembered as a “dissident writer who defended free thought and free speech.” But Provocations is not just a polemic against political correctness. The career retrospective, which includes writings from the last 25 years, covers subjects like gender, education, popular culture, and art. It showcases Paglia’s sweeping scholarship and puckish irreverence for PC pieties. “To questioning young people drawn to the siren song of hormones and surgery,” she writes, “I say: Stay fluid! Stay free!”

Read the whole thing.

IF PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, WE’LL FEEL LESS BAD ABOUT BLOWING THEM UP: Russia develops unmanned T-72s Main Battle Tanks.

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: “The notion that the world might not be real may seem like madness but it is a serious proposition at least in academic circles.”

JON CALDERA: I want to give away one of my guns to a first timer.

I’ll say it for the millionth time — politics is the lagging indicator of culture. And the anti-gun left knows how to influence culture through government-run education, Hollywood and the media.

There was a time when schools had shooting clubs. Now they are not just gun-free zones, but political tools for gun control. Just ask my high-school-aged daughter after being bullied to tears for her pro-gun stance.

We could be just a generation away from losing our guns.

I have an idea and I hope you will follow my lead. I want to see it turn into a movement.

If you weren’t raised with guns, getting into your first gun can be very intimidating. We need to make it easy and enjoyable. We gunnies all know that one friend, co-worker or family member that should be a gun owner, but yet isn’t.

Let’s give, yes give, that person one of our guns. Let’s help them learn to shoot it properly. Help them go through the process I went through.

I love this idea.

CHANGE: ‘We will continue to represent men at their best’: Gillette’s backflip after ‘toxic masculinity’ backlash.

Advertising is increasingly the battleground of the culture wars, with big brands like Target, Nike and Starbucks copping backlash, and praise, for taking sides in divisive social and political issues like race, gender and sexuality.

But by alienating roughly 50 per cent of potential customers, many brands end up taking a hit to their bottom line — “Get woke, go broke.”

Hey, where have I heard that before?

WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND THAT SNOPES IS JUST A DEMOCRATIC PARTY MESSAGE-CONTROL TOOL, IT ALL MAKES SENSE: A ‘Fact Checker’ Declares War On Satire: When we make fun of liberals, Snopes pretends to take us seriously and labels our jokes ‘false.’

If your job is to make people laugh, what do you do when your brand of humor is classified as dangerous?

I run the Babylon Bee, a satirical website, and we’ve had to face that question a lot lately. The “fact checkers” at Snopes.com—once a reliable source for distinguishing reality from urban legends—have been smearing the Bee as “fake news.” They don’t seem to have a problem when we make fun of Trump-worship, conservatives, fundamentalism and megachurches. But when we target Democrats and the left, suddenly we’re branded liars.

The most recent controversy began when Snopes published a thorough “debunking” of our satirical take on Georgia state Rep. Erica Thomas ’s false claim that a white man in a supermarket told her to “go back to where you came from.” Our humorous headline: “Georgia Lawmaker Claims Chick-fil-A Employee Told Her to Go Back to Her Country, Later Clarifies He Actually Said ‘My Pleasure.’ ”

Snopes knew this was a joke but questioned our “brand” of satire. The website called us “junk news” and a “ruse.” It accused us of intentionally “muddying the details” of a current event to “fool” people. . . .

This ugly dispute has demonstrated the danger of assigning authority to supposedly unbiased fact-checkers. They have the power to slap a joke they don’t like with a “false” rating and defame the authors as purveyors of lies and fakery. Last year Facebook threatened to forbid us to collect money from ads, and even to boot us entirely, after Snopes “fact checked” a piece of ours headlined “CNN Purchases Industrial Washing Machine to Spin the News.”

The Left understands and employs the power of mockery. And it wants to keep that power to itself.

“AS USUAL IN AMERICAN JOURNALISM, WHERE THE TIMES LEADS, ITS ACOLYTES AROUND THE COUNTRY WILL FOLLOW:”

CART ON A HOT TIN ROOF: All Fired Up: Walmart Sues Tesla.

No, Walmart was not using fleets of pricey electric vehicles to get 56-cents-a-pound bananas to budget-conscious shoppers; rather, the chain had outfitted a slew of its stores with rooftop solar panels assembled and managed by Tesla subsidiary SolarCity.

Now Walmart’s feeling burned. Literally.

Following rooftop blazes at at least seven stores and a recent investigation, the shopping giant filed a lawsuit against Tesla on Tuesday, alleging the company “engaged in widespread, systemic negligence and had failed to abide by prudent industry practices in installing, operating, and maintaining its solar systems.”

Walmart’s relationship with SolarCity goes back a number of years; a trio of earlier fires in 2012, 2016, and 2017 were brushed off as random flukes. Then the fires began occurring with greater frequency.

That’s not good.

BOTTOM STORY OF THE DAY: Jay Inslee ends his Democratic presidential bid.

JOHN KASS: Robert Mueller crushed their dreams, so Democrats pivot to race.

They had invested so much in their fantasy that President Donald Trump was a treasonous agent of Russian boss Vladimir Putin. But when special counsel Robert Mueller’s report came out, and there was no collusion, no crime charged, their fantasy collapsed.

And so, after a brief spasm of despair, the left pivoted to their default position: race.

Race. Race. Race. Race. Race.

With Americans working and with money in their pockets again, with the 2020 election approaching, Democrats are reaching for the race card the way a sick man reaches for the waters of Lourdes. Desperately. Their allies in media followed suit, with Trump called everything from a white supremacist, to a Nazi, and on and on.

Meanwhile, the New York Times embarks on an ambitious new series, the 1619 Project — marking the 400th anniversary of the first slave ships to our shores.

The newspaper said it hopes “to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”

NYT editor Dean Baquet, a former colleague of mine at the Chicago Tribune, a thoughtful man now with his newsroom in turmoil, expressed the pivot in a different way.

In terms of Mueller.

In a transcript of a newsroom meeting with his liberal staff that made its way to Slate, Baquet said this:

“The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened,” Baquet said. “Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy s—, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?”

So the Times pivoted.

The story of slavery in America is compelling and worthy of such attention. But reducing the whole of America to the sin of slavery and racism that America has tried so hard to reject — by shedding blood in the Civil War, by passing the Civil Rights Act, by twice electing Barack Obama to the White House — is absurd. But revealing.

They are awful people who don’t care what damage they do, so long as they regain power — or at least manage to feel superior to their countrymen.

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: More Private Colleges Cut Tuition As Discount Rate Hits All-Time High Of 52%.

If only there had been some sort of warning.

UH-HUH: Facebook Pulls Trump Campaign Ads Over Alleged Policy Violations.

UNFAIR — IT WAS ONLY EVER MEANT TO HOLD MEN ACCOUNTABLE: Katy Perry has a #MeToo problem, and she’s the one who’s in trouble.

DEIRDRE MCCLOSKEY: Slavery Did Not Make America Rich. “Slavery made a few Southerners rich; a few Northerners, too. But it was ingenuity and innovation that enriched Americans generally, including at last the descendants of the slaves.”

AND AN UNEXPECTED AND HEARTENING PERSONAL BOOST:  Monsters Among Us.

AS LONG AS THEY DON’T MAKE US USE WAFFLE STRAWS:  Better for the Planet?

IT’S A VIRUS. AND WE CAN’T ALLOW IT TO KILL US:  Howard Zinn’s Anti-American Propaganda Takes Over The Smithsonian.

IF IT’S NOT THE ROMAN THING, WHERE YOU WILL EVERYTHING TO THE EMPEROR WHO ORDERED YOU TO COMMIT SUICIDE; AND IN THE PUBLIC READING THE WILL REVEALS ALL THE CRIMES AND TRANSGRESSIONS OF THE EMPEROR, I’M GOING TO BE DISAPPOINTED:  Epstein’s will.

AND SPEAKING OF IGNORING THE LESSONS OF HISTORY:  Europe Considers The Nazi Idea Of Requiring Jewish Businesses To Identify Themselves On Labels.

GIVEN HOW MANY VOTES THE DEMOCRATS HARVEST FROM DEMENTED PATIENTS, HE’S THE IDEAL CANDIDATE:  Biden Botches Assassination Dates of MLK and RFK.

DEMOCRATS LOSE THEIR MINDS:  DHS Announces New Plan For Migrant Families.

LOOK. THEY CITE THE GREEN NUDE HEEL AS A GOOD IDEA. WHEN I FEEL LIKE GIVING CONSEQUENCE TO PEOPLE WHO BY RIGHTS SHOULD BE LOCKED IN A PADDED CELL, I’LL LET YOU KNOW:  March for Our Lives Issues Gun Grabbing Manifesto.

ABSOLUTELY RIGHT:  Republics.

WAITAMINUTE! WEREN’T THEY TELLING US THE EXACT OPPOSITE LAST YEAR?  Women more likely to have ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms than men – know the signs.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS INCLUDE NAUSEA, WEIGHT GAIN, SWELLING ANKLES, AND A LIFETIME OF WORRYING ABOUT THE KIDS, EVEN AFTER THEY MOVE OUT:   Why sperm is actually good for women: study.

On the other hand, you’ll also feel you created a bit of the future. So there’s that.

TRUST ME. CELEBRATE WITH JIM BEAM, JACK DANIELS AND CAPTAIN MORGAN. YOU’LL FEEL BETTER ABOUT IT LATER AND HAVE LESS OF A HANGOVER:  Demi Lovato celebrates birthday with Ariana Grande, Scooter Braun.

LOOK, WE TRIED TO KEEP THIS FROM INCOMERS, BUT IT’S TIME TO LEVEL WITH YOU GUYS:

If you came to Colorado recently, particularly if you’re a liberal and/or from California? Yeah, Colorado is a horrible state. It’s not just the cute groundhogs who carry plague. The squirrels do too. and there’s hantavirus in those cute little mice that infest your yard. And that’s not counting our extreme weather and the altitude. Everything in Colorado can kill you. Go back while you can. Sauve qui peut:  Plague-ridden prairie dogs pose danger to Colorado tourists.

SCREW VACCINES. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITHOUT BACON:  Urgency for vaccine grows as virus ravages China’s pigs.

DEAR LORD. THE THINGS THESE PEOPLE BELIEVE:  Spiders are getting ANGRIER because of evolutionary trick to survive ‘climate chaos’.

HAVE THEY CHECKED THE VOLCANO’S ALIBI?  Iceland holds funeral for glacier lost to climate change.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Ignoring Tlaib and Omar’s Antisemitism Is the Real Scandal.

NEWS YOU CAN USE: I’m A Professor, And I Carry A Gun On Campus. Here’s Why.

Meanwhile, some good sense from Prof. Erik Gilbert: Stop Worrying About Guns in the Classroom. They’re Already Here.

If you work at a Texas college and are worried by the prospect of having guns in your classroom, relax. The new campus-carry law changes your risk of gun violence very little. I can almost guarantee that if you have a few semesters of teaching under your belt, at some point there have been students with guns in your classroom. If those illegally armed students were not moved to violence by the content of your course or the statements of their fellow students, it seems highly improbable that a new group of legally armed students will prove to be more volatile or violence-prone than their scofflaw peers.

If you really think that there are no guns on college campuses in Texas, or elsewhere, because there is a law that forbids having guns on campus, you are mistaken. On my own campus in Arkansas, despite a strict prohibition on guns, in the last decade there has been at least one accidental discharge of a gun in a dorm room, several students who have been found to have guns in their cars, and at least one faculty member who was caught with a gun in on-campus faculty housing. And those are just people in “casual” possession of guns with no intention of causing harm or mischief who ran afoul of the campus police because they were foolish or indiscreet with them.

And here he is talking about it on NRA News.

FAKE NEWS? This New York Times story about Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to the MIT Media Lab includes this about Marvin Minsky:

Mr. Epstein may have had ties to people in leadership positions at the lab before meeting Mr. Ito. In a deposition unsealed this month, a woman testified that, as a teenager, she was told to have sex with Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in artificial intelligence, on Mr. Epstein’s island in the Virgin Islands. Mr. Minsky, who died in 2016 at 88, was a founder of the Media Lab in the mid-1980s.

Minsky is dead and can’t defend himself, but physicist/SF author Greg Benford, who I know and am inclined to trust, writes:

Typical Crap Journalism from NYT:

“In a deposition unsealed this month, a woman testified that, as a teenager, she was told to have sex with Marvin Minsky, a pioneer in artificial intelligence, on Mr. Epstein’s island in the Virgin Islands. Mr. Minsky, who died in 2016 at 88, was a founder of the Media Lab in the mid-1980s.”

Note, never says what happened. If Marvin had done it, she would say so. I know; I was there. Minsky turned her down. Told me about it. She saw us talking and didn’t approach me.

Just for the record.

HISTORY: Environmentalists Killed More Europeans Than Islamic Terrorists Did.

SEVERAL WOMEN HAVE COME FORWARD: Retaliation: White House staffers now leaking about how badly Scaramucci treated them.

ON THIS DAY IN 1959, HAWAII OFFICIALLY BECAME A STATE: There was dancing in the streets that day.

Some members of Congress were especially keen to bring Hawaii into the union, because it was seen as a successful multi-racial society. Alas, things haven’t looked quite as good on that front in the last 15 years or so.  The link is to some testimony I gave 10 years ago.  There have been some twists and turns since then, but the basic story discussed in the testimony is still worth knowing about.

COLLUSION:

Full thread here.

Plus:

CONCERNING SURVEY FINDS TOO MANY PEOPLE BELIEVE SNOPES IS A LEGITIMATE FACT-CHECKING WEBSITE.

I’m so old, I can remember when the Babylon Bee was still a satirical Website, before morphing into America’s paper of record.

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: Colorado Teachers Asked to Take ‘White Privilege’ Survey.

OPEN THREAD: Talk, talk.

WEIRD, I WONDER WHY? Paging more doctors: California’s worsening physician shortage.

KURT SCHLICHTER: If you’re too poor to birth control-up, you’re too poor to screw and you need to get your ass a job before you start hitting it. Banging is for closers.

“Banging is for closers.” Sounds like he’s got the title for his next book. . . .

CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Michigan Court of Appeals Has Reversed the Felony Assault Convictions of a Gun Owner Who Acted in Self-Defense.

Related: A Michigan Court Case Shows the Right of Armed Self-Defense Is Broader Than You Might Think. “It justifies the brandishing of a gun as pre-emptive measure to block the use of unlawful force. . . . Police officers, for example, sometimes point a weapon at an individual as a means of preventing unlawful force even when they don’t have the legal right to fire a shot. . . . A contrary rule places civilians in an untenable position. They could not even pull their weapon until the threat of death is actively upon them. They would be forced to maintain maximum vulnerability right up until the point of maximum danger — a legal position that would be most threatening to people of slight physical stature who lack alternative effective means of self-defense.”

THANKS TO POE’S LAW, IT’S NOW AMERICA’S PAPER OF RECORD: Trump’s Loyalty To Republican Values Questioned After He Actually Does Something To Defund Planned Parenthood.

DAVID BARON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Mountain lion attacks Colorado hunter armed with just a pocket knife, officials say. I dunno why a mountain lion would bother to arm himself with a pocket knife.

DEEP-SPACE DUO: SpaceX’s Starman and Elon Musk’s Tesla Have Made a Lap Around the Sun.

JUST THINK OF THE MEDIA AS DEMOCRATIC PARTY OPERATIVES WITH BYLINES AND IT ALL MAKES SENSE: The Press in Iowa Caught by Surprise they Were Participating in a Bernie Sanders Fundraiser.

It was recently announced that Major League Baseball will be playing a regular season game at the famed Field Of Dreams stadium, in Dubuque Iowa. This is the now famous landmark location where the titular baseball motion picture was filmed, and the Sanders campaign officials were struck with an idea to hold a softball game at the location. Not much of a problem so far; these are just the kind of photo-ops campaigns stage to get publicity, and to raise more money.

* * * * * * * *

It is that last detail that emerged, much to the surprise of the journalists covering the Sanders campaign. See, it turned out the game being played for the Sanders campaign was a contest between his staffers, and members of the media on the opposing team. It was only “at the last minute”, according to Politico, that members off the CNN and ABC News organizations who were going to play in the game backed out. This was due to a fundraising email the Sanders team sent out regarding the game.

Baseball seems a little too on-point for Bernie. Flashback: Bernie Bro James T. Hodgkinson, Attempted Assassin Of Steve Scalise, Already Being Erased From History. And additional examples of leftist violence and eliminationist rhetoric at the link.

GIVE ME YOUR VOTE, HATERS: A Political Party Stupid Enough to Call You a Racist Is Too Stupid to Govern.

THE WASTE OF NOW:

The New York Times is going to devote itself to radicalizing the United States along racial lines. It will propagate the narrative that the engine driving American life is the efforts of white people to maintain supremacy, and the resistance of People of Color, and their allies, to white supremacy. Everything the paper reports will theoretically be filtered through that distorting lens, because the leadership of The New York Times believes it to be true. I don’t know this for a fact, but knowing newspapers as I do, I’d bet that there are professional journalists within that news organization who do not share these beliefs, and who in fact are worried about the direction of the newspaper. Not conservatives, but old-school liberals. And I bet they are now afraid to speak out, afraid that they will be denounced as fellow travelers of white supremacy if they do.

This isn’t, ultimately, about slavery. Not at all. This is about a great and vital American journalism institution surrendering its integrity and its reputation to the radical left. What has started at the Times will not remain at the Times. You need to understand that. Within the relatively small world of American journalism, senior newsroom leaders, in print and broadcast, are looking at what the Times is doing with this project with admiration, even envy. As usual in American journalism, where the Times leads, its acolytes around the country will follow.

Including television news readers, outside of Fox News. As CBS and HBO journalist Bernard Goldberg wrote in his 2003 book Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite:

But powerful as print is in general, and as powerful as the wire services are in particular, nothing—absolutely nothing —carries nearly as much weight in network television newsrooms as the New York Times. There are too many examples to count where television reporters appropriated (read stole) story ideas from local newspapers in their region and pitched them to their bosses, the executive producers of the network evening newscasts in New York, who turned the stories down, until . . . until they ran in the New York Times, the wall scratcher of record. 

* * * * * * * *

“Once the Times runs a story on page one,” that veteran cameraman told me, “we’re told to run out and do it!” If the Times decrees a story important, by definition it is important. And when the Times ignores a story— or a book or a social trend or an idea—then it is invisible. As the syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock puts it, “The cult of the New York Times . . . holds journalists, politicians, and other opinion makers in a Svengali-like trance. If the Times says the sun will rise in the west, then by golly it will!”

On a typical morning, this is how assignment editors and producers at the network news divisions begin their day. Step one: They open up the New York Times. Step two: They scan the paper for stories to put on their nightly newscasts. Step three: They get one of their high-priced reporters (who is in his or her own office also reading the New York Times) on the phone— a reporter who may not have come up with even one original story idea in his entire network career (I mean that literally)— and tell him or her to go out and do the New York Times story. Step four: He or she does, and that evening a video version of the Times story is on the air.

And Dean Baquet, A.G. Sulzberger, and the rest of Times ozone layer of management knows this, which is why the sea change in how the founding of America is viewed likely won’t remain bottled up in its own editorial bullpen for long.

CHANGE: I got my hip replaced at 39. Here’s why that might get more common. “Ultimately, everyone is trapped in their body until they die. But when body parts start to fail, if it’s the right part, you can get a new one: Doctors can also swap out knees, shoulders, elbows, ankles, wrists, even the discs in your spine.”

NEWS YOU CAN USE? Every Noise at Once.

Every Noise at Once is an ongoing attempt at an algorithmically-generated, readability-adjusted scatter-plot of the musical genre-space, based on data tracked and analyzed for 3,330 genre-shaped distinctions by Spotify as of 2019-08-21. The calibration is fuzzy, but in general down is more organic, up is more mechanical and electric; left is denser and more atmospheric, right is spikier and bouncier.

Click anything to hear an example of what it sounds like.

Click the » on a genre to see a map of its artists.

This is maybe the biggest and best soundboard ever, and easy to get lost in.

#HERTOO? What if #MeToo takes down powerful women?

(Via Doug Ross.)

WHY ARE YOU TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY? DEAN BAQUET OPENLY SAID THEY’RE JUST GOING TO YAMMER ABOUT RACISM FOR THE NEXT YEAR IN THE HOPES OF BEATING TRUMP. THAT’S LITERALLY ALL THIS IS. The Atoning Sacrifice of the Union Soldiers Means Nothing to the New York Times’ 1619 Project.

YOUTUBE IS RUN BY IDIOTS: YouTube Removes Robot Fighting Videos After Declaring Them ‘Cruelty to Animals.’

BUT THE TECHNOCRATS PRAISED THE “ONE CHILD” POLICY AS A BRILLIANT SOLUTION TO THE “POPULATION BOMB:” Bride prices in China have shot up, bending the country’s society out of shape.

Related: The marriage marketplace connection to China’s ghost cities. “There is a strong speculative component to the phenomenon, as the apartments in the empty buildings are being purchased for astronomical prices by highly leveraged chinese citizens, especially chinese men who are looking to signal their suitability to marry by owning ‘property’.”

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Plus, deals on Pet Food and Supplies.

RE-RE-ENTER THE MATRIX: Keanu and Carrie-Anne Are Back for Four.

Can they turn it around after the twin disasters which were “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions?” Hell, I don’t even know what Moss is doing back for a fourth installment, after her prolonged death scene in the third movie.

True story. Trinity’s death was so drawn out, so over-the-top, and so speechified by both Moss and Reeves, that when I went to see it theaters in 2003, someone shouted at the screen, “JUST DIE ALREADY!” And then the entire theater erupted in cheers and applause for the shouter.

No, it wasn’t me.

But I still kind of regret that it wasn’t me.

TUCKER TACKLES BIDEN’S ‘EMBELLISHED’ BIOGRAPHY: “He’s got a million stories like that and he’s the hero of every single one of them. Take a seat and he’ll tell you. And as you listen, remember that this man, this former coal miner and civil rights leader is the single sanest person running for president as a Democrat this year. Meditate on that for the minute.”

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