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Why am I feeling this way?

by Crowhill on 26 September 2016

Hillary wants the government to be concerned about our feelings. This is horribly frightening.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-26  ::  Crowhill

Who are the real climate deniers?

by Crowhill on 26 September 2016

I’ve been following the climate change issue since before James Hansen gave his pivotal testimony in Congress. Climate is one of the issues that come up frequently in both anthropology and geology, both of which I’ve followed for a long time.

One of the most annoying things coming from the freak-out coalition is the use of the term “deniers,” or “denialists.” They want to associate people who question catastrophic man-made global warming with Holocaust deniers. But in reality, it’s the members of the freak-out coalition that are the real deniers.

Here’s a partial list of things they deny.

  • The climate has changed dramatically in the past for reasons we don’t fully understand.
  • The climate has been on a long-term warming trajectory since we left the last glacial period — completely independent of human activity.
  • We are still in an ice age and the “normal” state of the planet is much warmer than today.
  • Leaving human influence aside, nobody knows if we should be going deeper into the current ice age (i.e., into another glacial period) or coming out of it entirely.
  • Humanity has lived through hotter and colder climates than our current climate.
  • Modern man is much more capable of dealing with the climate than people in the past.
  • Cold kills more people than heat.
  • The climate will change, and shorelines will move — up or down — no matter what we do.
  • The people who claim to be following the “scientific consensus” are not reading “science,” but journalistic summaries of science.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-26  ::  Crowhill

Get rid of the moderators

by Crowhill on 26 September 2016

These so-called “debates” don’t need moderators, and they do more harm than good, since everybody will be wondering if the moderator was fair.

Here’s what I’d do. Assume the debate will be 90 minutes, and assume each candidate has 1 minute to reply and 30 seconds to rebut. The format would go like this …

  • Present the question
  • Candidate A gets one minute
  • Candidate B gets one minute
  • Candidate A gets 30 seconds
  • Candidate B gets 30 seconds

Time would be enforced by turning off microphones.

Each question would take roughly 3 and a half minutes, which means there’s enough room for about 26 questions.

Let each candidate propose 13 questions, which they will read. So, for example, Trump reads the first question, Hillary answers for a minute, Trump answers the same question for a minute, Hillary responds for 30 seconds, Trump responds for 30 seconds. Then Hillary asks a question.

The only “moderator” would be the sound engineer.

11 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-26  ::  Crowhill

Trump “getting away with things” and sexism

by Crowhill on 23 September 2016

Tim Kaine is complaining that Trump gets away with things — like not releasing his tax returns — that Hillary couldn’t. Which is really funny. Hillary seems to “get away” with just about every crazy thing she does.

I don’t believe Kaine was linking this alleged disparity to sexism — different standards for a man and a woman, you know — but somebody will. And when they do, that will be stupid.

The story of the past year is that Trump “got away” with things that none of the other Republican candidates got away with. That nobody has ever gotten away with. Some people just have that knack.

Reagan was often called the teflon president because nothing stuck to him. Slick Willie had the same sort of luck.

To the identity politics devotee, the most important difference between Trump and Clinton is that he’s a man and she’s a woman. So any difference in the way they’re covered, treated, spoken about, etc., reduces down to sex. “You treated the man this way but you treated the woman this other way. Double standards!!”

No. Trump is treated one way because he’s Trump. Hillary is treated another way because she’s Hillary. Their sex is certainly a factor, but it’s much more complicated than that.

2 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-23  ::  Crowhill

Trump’s advantage

by Crowhill on 22 September 2016

This is interesting: Is Trump the Only Republican Who Can Handle the Media Onslaught?

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-22  ::  Crowhill

Riots. Again.

by Crowhill on 22 September 2016

The pattern is well established.

1. Police use violence against a black man.

2. Early reports — almost always wrong in most or all of their details — rile up the masses and feed the notion that cops are going around killing unarmed, innocent black men.

3. There are riots and unrest.

4. As details emerge we realize the story wasn’t as originally portrayed.

Glenn Reynolds expressed my take on this very well.

“It’s possible to believe both that we have a problem with excessive police violence, and that Black Lives Matter is a bunch of race-baiting frauds.”

12 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-22  ::  Crowhill

Presidential candidates should not release their medical records

by Crowhill on 21 September 2016

We seem to be heading towards an expectation that a presidential candidate will release his medical records so we can all be sure he’s healthy enough for the job. I think that’s a bad idea.

People need to be able to be honest with their doctors. If we have an expectation that a candidate will release his records, everyone who thinks he might some day run for president — that is, every senator, congressman, governor, etc. — is going to start hiding things from his doctor.

And that’s not a good thing.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-21  ::  Crowhill

Should the military investigate time travel and other wacky stuff?

by Crowhill on 20 September 2016

I enjoyed the summer’s smash hit, Stranger Things. There’s a claim that the plot is based on a real-life conspiracy theory involving “The Montauk Project.”

Stories of the experiments have circulated since the 1980s, saying they focused on psychological warfare techniques and things like time travel, teleportation, and mind control.

I don’t believe in any of those things, but when I say “I don’t believe” in something, I usually mean that I don’t have any evidence on which to base such a belief, but if good evidence were to come along I’d re-evaluate.

For example, I don’t believe anyone will find Neanderthal skeletons in the Americas (as much as I would like that), because there’s no reason to believe Neanderthals migrated over here. But … it’s not impossible. I can’t categorically rule it out.

I feel the same way about Big Foot and other weird beliefs. I don’t believe in it, but it wouldn’t cause me an epistemological crisis if somebody captured one. In fact, I think it would be quite amusing.

So what about mind control, or psi-ops, or any of that spooky stuff? I don’t believe in any of it, and I think it’s a waste of time to pursue it, but … then again.

I’ve heard that the military plans for all sorts of weird contingencies. I don’t believe aliens are going to invade the planet, and I don’t believe in a zombie apocalypse, but it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that the military has a plan for both of those, which means somebody had to devote resources to researching the topic and making the plan.

Is there any benefit in that sort of planning?

I would say yes. Imagining what aliens might do and how we would respond gets your brain out of the usual rut. You start thinking creatively about different kinds of weapons and tactics, and that might be the spark for a new offensive or defensive system.

When I was growing up there were rumors that the Soviets were researching psionic warfare and other nutty stuff. What if they had discovered something? Not psionics, but maybe their research into psionics led them to find something else, like a better way to train or detect spies.

Sometimes research on one thing turns up something entirely unexpected.

That line of argument could be used to justify spending money on any kind of crazy research, and obviously you have to draw the line somewhere. We don’t have unlimited resources. But the point is that I would not be at all surprised if we had military labs studying some rather nutty things. And that’s not all bad.

7 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-20  ::  Crowhill

Was Obamacare designed to fail?

by Crowhill on 19 September 2016

A doctor asks that question.

Remember the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee? Keep that in mind as you think of the “design” of Obamacare.

It was mess from start to finish. They just wanted to “do something” so they could feel as if they were moving in the right direction — and then sort out the details later.

IMO, saying Obamacare was designed to fail and usher in a government-run, single payer system is to attribute too much design to the process.

I’m certain some people wanted that, and I’m certain others did not.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-19  ::  Crowhill

Coming to a trash can near you …

by Crowhill on 19 September 2016

When some terrorist or mentally unstable person blows up a trash can in your neighborhood, who are you going to blame?

Let’s dispense with the obvious first. You’ll blame the miscreant who did it, and you’ll blame anyone who directly encouraged / trained him to do it. That’s where the vast majority of the blame should go.

But since that’s so obvious, we usually spend most of our mental energy finding somebody else to blame. We worry about people who “created a climate of hate,” or who — through their inaction or incompetence — allowed or encouraged it to happen.

Who are those people?

Should we blame Congress for failing to get serious about enforcing our immigration laws? There’s no question that they’ve neglected their duties on that score — for decades.

Should we blame Muslims for failing to crack down on the crazies in their midst?

Should we blame lying American politicians who choose to appease soft-hearted people and tell us lies about Islam being peaceful?

Should we blame the lack of seriousness in prosecuting the war against ISIS and their ilk?

While all those things might have some bearing on the problem, IMO the thing we should be the most upset about is our reluctance to profile people, which is born out of our fear of being called bigots and racists.

Stopping domestic terror is a matter of police work, and police work requires profiling. But we’ve accepted the silly notion that profiling is wrong.

Think of the neighbors of Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook. They knew something bad was happening, but were afraid to say something for fear they’d be labeled as bigots. In another context, think of all the horror in Rotherham because the police didn’t want to break up a child sex syndicate for fear of being labeled racist.

I believe our foreign policy is a mess. I believe Muslims need to do more to police their own. I believe Congress is criminally negligent. But all those things pale into insignificance next to the danger of political correctness.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-09-19  ::  Crowhill

2016-09-15 :: Crowhill // General
I predict another stumble
2016-09-14 :: Crowhill // General
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