DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

Bureaucratic Comedy

26th August 2016

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The real divide in politics pits the people who think government looks like The West Wing against the people who think it looks like Yes, Minister. The soaring principles of The West Wing did sometimes turn up in Yes, Minister (and its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister), but by the end of each half-hour they had usually been buried in a committee or snuffed out in a seedy bargain. The result may not have been an inspiring vision of good government, but it was one of the wittiest TV shows of the 1980s; this week, sadly, saw the death of Antony Jay, the British broadcaster who co-created and co-wrote it.

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Smoking Cannabis Makes You Lazy, Study Suggests

26th August 2016

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No weed for me, then — I’m lazy enough as it is.

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Slain Hostage’s Father: ‘I’m Still Waiting for that Donation, Mr. President.’

26th August 2016

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It’s about as cringe-inducing a story as a White House could fear: Carl and Marsha Mueller, parents of slain ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller, telling the world that President Obama had promised to make a donation to a foundation they had established in her name… and then seemingly forgot about them.

Hey, he said he was going to do it. That means that he doesn’t actually have to do it. That’s been his policy for the last seven years.

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Asphyxiating Deluge of Symbolic Gestures

26th August 2016

Freeberg nails it again.

If we discuss this cultural shift honestly, we have to see it for what it is. You simply aren’t supposed to do any enforcing; you aren’t supposed to confront evil. You’re only supposed to go through the motions. More rules, more rules, more rules…don’t ever enforce anything. It makes the people who’ve already decided not to do any enforcing, look bad.

The rules are always aimed at the same places. Soft, rule-abiding types. They may go along enthusiastically, racked by guilt, or they may go along the way I do, full of resentment. But an uprising is unlikely, so this is the soft, fatty tissue — the yummy part. No claws, no thorns, none of that messy back-fighting stuff. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s popular. Hey you homeowners, don’t water your lawns, because drought! And hey you law-abiding gun owners, it’s high time we passed some (more) rules against you! Someone who is not you just shot up a school.

We seem to be living in the age of “Go after the ones who didn’t do it.” I’m not sure how we got here, or how to get out of here. But, we’re here. If we really do want things to get better, that’s our first step. We have to break free of that diseased mindset. People are looking for ways they can vote in elections to make things better, and that’s the answer to that question. Skip that step, the rest of the effort isn’t going to matter much.

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The History of Mac And Cheese

26th August 2016

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Macaroni and cheese is one of those dishes — beloved by all Americans — that transcends geographical location or history. We eat it from sea to shining sea. It’s a nostalgia-inducing classic, the perfect compliment for everything from BBQ, to burgers, to Hennessy. It thrives in dank college dorm rooms and upscale restaurants. Point being, mac and cheese can do it all.

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Harry Potter and the Hopefully Benign Colon Polyp, and More Middle-Aged Harry Potter Books

26th August 2016

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Harry’s not the only one whose wand sometimes acts up.

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Muzzled!

26th August 2016

Joe Bob Briggs brings the heat.

Only two athletes in history have won medals in six consecutive Olympic Games.

Only two.

Let’s face it, though, nobody was gonna go out of their way to congratulate Kimberly Rhode, because Kimberly Rhode carries a shotgun.

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British Party Calls Hillary Islam’s Whore

24th August 2016

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That’s pretty rude.

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Con Man or Hitler?

24th August 2016

Scott Adams continues his masterly analysis.

Heads are exploding at CNN as pundits try to define Trump’s repeated offers to help African-Americans as typical Hitler behavior. As my regular readers know, what we have here is a perfect trap for cognitive dissonance. The anti-Trumpers have created an identify for themselves – and in the media – as opposing Trump because he’s a racist. Then Trump goes and ruins their mental models by acting all non-racist.

This creates a situation in which the pundits either have to change their self-images and admit they were wrong about Trump all along, or they have to reinterpret Trump’s clearly non-racist actions as racist actions in disguise. Cognitive dissonance happens when people are unwilling or unable to modify their self-image to match the observed facts. In this case, to protect their self-images as wise pundits, they are forced to default to pretzel-like explanations of their reality.

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Whatever Happened to Adam Smith?

23rd August 2016

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Laissez faire, laissez passer” is the most tolerant of all creeds. As Smith insisted, it’s the very opposite of “pro-business” or pro-inequality; the market loves to disrupt complacent cartels. Yet to listen to most of the intelligentsia, you would think that freedom to exchange goods and services – which they prefer to call by the Marxist word “capitalism” – has done terrible harm in the world and needs taming by virtuous government. Further, that small-government philosophy has been terminally discredited, not least by the financial crisis of 2008.

There is no such thing as ‘capitalism’, except in the minds of Marxists and their dupes (which is almost everybody these days).

There are free markets, and there are unfree markets; that’s all.

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Journal: Transgenderism ‘Not Supported By Scientific Evidence’

23rd August 2016

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Although popular culture and many of the leading media organizations have bought wholeheartedly into the idea that gender identity is something distinct from one’s biological sex — that a man could be born in a woman’s body or vice versa — such beliefs have no grounding in any credible scientific evidence, according to a report published Monday in the journal The New Atlantis.

Arizona State University professor of statistics and biostatistics Lawrence S. Mayer and John Hopkins University Medical School professor of psychiatrics Paul McHugh co-authored the report, which examined top peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences.

“Examining research from the biological, psychological, and social sciences, this report shows that some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence,” they noted.

Among the key findings listed by the authors was that, “The hypothesis that gender identity is an innate, fixed property of human beings that is independent of biological sex — that a person might be ‘a man trapped in a woman’s body’ or ‘a woman trapped in a man’s body’ — is not supported by scientific evidence.”

Amazing how that works.

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The Direct Democracy President

22nd August 2016

Scott Adams continues his masterly analysis.

Direct democracy in pre-Internet days was a bad idea because it gave power to ignorance. But direct democracy in 2016 is more about the public squeezing the evil out of its own leaders. Evil doesn’t like sunlight. It doesn’t like Trump’s unkind immigration plans and it doesn’t like the Clinton Foundation – which just announced it would stop taking foreign donation if Clinton is elected. The public gets what the public demands.

Quickly, name a policy idea from a major candidate that is both deeply unpopular with the public and also likely to become a law. I can’t think of one. That isn’t even a thing anymore. If the public doesn’t like it, the leaders can’t do it. Period.

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Tree-Hugging Billionaire Dumps Another $7 Million Into Clinton Coffers

22nd August 2016

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Democrats — party of the rich.

What do they know that you don’t know?

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Phrathouse Phobia

22nd August 2016

Freeberg nails it again.

I am worried. I’m worried that it’s been so long since we’ve seen a problem actually solved, we don’t know what it looks like anymore and we don’t understand the process. The partisanship has just made things worse, when a U.S. President or some other executive inserts himself. Half the time, nothing identifiable actually gets done; if it does get done, then the party opposed to that executive will find all sorts of things wrong with it, while the executive’s own party just cherry-picks anything that might be interpreted as positive news, and hogs all the credit, casting blame upon whoever came before for whatever might not be so positive. People have resigned themselves to the reality that that’s the process. The idea that there are simple and reliable ways to forecast things from other things…genuine causes and effects, with genuine relationships tying them together…gets lost.

That’s modern American politics in a nutshell.

Political correctness is destruction, plain and simple. We’ve been wandering through the thick of it, like through a fog, since I was a kid. And I just turned fifty.

Yup.

Political correctness is political. It is not decency. An attempt to enhance decency, resulting in destruction of the person who caused offense, but realizing no acknowledgement that the better behavior is better behavior — will have failed. Political correctness is about the destruction. If P.C. can bring about the acknowledgement of better behavior, and a sincere promise not to re-offend, but fails to destroy, then it, too, has likewise failed. It’s got nothing to do at all with bringing about a more enlightened or civilized society, and some among us are quite tired of this obligatory expectation that we should treat it that way.

It’s about getting people canned. Period, full-stop.

As such, it does not promote civilized-human behavior. It promotes shark behavior.

Right on.

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Is Hillary Clinton a Brain-Damaged Invalid?

22nd August 2016

Jim Goad just lets it all hang out.

If you dare to question whether Hillary Clinton is physically ill, her dutiful media maidservants will smear you as mentally ill.

It matters not how many times she falls, how many speeches she interrupts with uncontrolled coughing, how many memory lapses she has in mid-sentence, how many times she cackles loudly and inappropriately, or how many apparent seizures she has while cameras roll and fawning reporters flinch. She’s not sick; you’re sick for even noticing.

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The Best Steak in the World: What Is It About Steak That Makes People Want to Eat So Much of It?

20th August 2016

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Steak is king. Steak is what other meat wishes it could be. When a person thinks of meat, the picture that forms in his or her mind is a steak. It can be cooked, crosshatched from the grill and lying in its own juice in a pose suggestive of unmatched succulence, or it can be raw, blood-coloured and framed by white fat, the steak that sleeping bulldogs in vintage cartoons dream of.

Dead cow and spuds are the basis of all true civilization.

Nobody ever built an empire on tofu or bean sprouts.

And don’t get me started on sushi….

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Thought for the Day

20th August 2016

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‘Honest Conversations’ About Race

20th August 2016

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‘What this country really needs,” we are endlessly instructed, “is an honest conversation about race.”

Do we ever talk about anything else?

Most ‘conversations about race’ consist of ‘progressives’ shouting ‘SHUT UP YOU RACIST!’

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And the Darwin Award Goes To…

20th August 2016

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…leftists who are too obsessed with global warming to want to reproduce. Hey, if that’s what it takes, we probably should be grateful. NPR asks the question–seriously, as far as I can tell–“Should We Be Having Kids In The Age Of Climate Change?”

We certainly ought to encourage ‘progressives’ not to have children.

The problem is, once they get an idea into their heads, they won’t rest until you go along with it (by force of government if necessary).

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Trump’s Regrets

19th August 2016

Scott Adams continues his masterly analysis.

I turned on CNN after the regret speech just to see heads exploding. I was not disappointed. Trump was trying to remove from his opponents their main weapon – the idea that Trump is a monster – and it frightened the anti-Trump folks in ways that that their faces and voices couldn’t conceal. I think everyone realizes that one solid month of Trump acting sane and empathetic would drive a stake through Clinton’s heart. We’re one week into it.

The most powerful part of Trump’s strategy is that it forces his opposition from a reasonable position (Trump should apologize!) into an absurd position (Trump didn’t apologize the right way!) When the anti-Trumpers were calling for polite behavior out of Trump, they had the high ground. Now that they are criticizing the details of Trump’s “apology” they look ridiculous. It was a perfect persuasion trap. Expect more anti-Trumpers to fall into the trap all day today.

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‘New York Times’ Endorses Trump

19th August 2016

Joe Bob Briggs reads the tea-leaves.

I should have waited four more days so that I could read the column by Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times explaining that there’s no media bias because all the rules of journalism have changed.

Damn, Jim, if you’d told me in advance, I could have saved Taki some money.

I learned from this article that the way it works now is, if you’re a working reporter and you think Donald Trump is a demagogue, “you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century, if not longer, and approach it in a way you’ve never approached anything in your career.” You have to “move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional.”

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Trump Won the Week (Persuasion-wise)

19th August 2016

Scott Adams scores the week.

What we saw this week was Trump directly, and skillfully, addressing the public’s concern that he’s scary and temperamentally unfit for the job of president. This week he was less bombastic, more on script (using the prompter), and he said in clear language that he was on the side of all Americans, rejecting bigotry and hatred in all forms.

People needed to hear that.

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Four Years at a Liberal Arts College Turned Me into a Conservative

19th August 2016

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Like everyone who cons themselves into attending a liberal arts college, I was captivated by the idea of changing the world by immersing myself in a diverse pool of academic thought, theory, and action. Boy, was I wrong! After my four-year stint at university, I was transformed from a plucky, young, free-thinking free spirit into a cranky, old, get-off-my-lawn conservative.

Father black, mother white, so she’s not really black.

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Why Do Pundits Feel Compelled to Say “Talent Must be Distributed Equally?”

19th August 2016

Steve Sailer is not afraid to ask the obvious questions.

Why do people say things like “talent must be distributed equally” when all the evidence of our eyes from watching the Olympics is that talent is not distributed equally? Instead, talent is distributed in complex patterns by nature, which are in turn made even more complex by nurture.

Because ‘progressives’ are all about Must Be Distributed Equally, and if it isn’t so, they strive to make it so — and where they can’t make it so (Hello, Nature!) they just assume it (because wishing will make it true).

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This Is Your Life in Silicon Valley

19th August 2016

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One of the best send-ups of SWPL life I’ve ever read.

Your wifi enabled coffee maker downloads the perfect instructions to brew a cup of Blue Bottle?—?and you don’t have to do anything. The Roomba purrs in the background while you continue to read from your smartphone. You see a few articles about Trump and how crazy he is?—?somehow this comforts you.

You decide to share an article about Brexit from The Atlantic, which will somehow shed light to all your friends as to why it happened. The article is 1,000 words long?—?you only read half of it, but that’s good enough. It captures all the arguments you’ve been wanting to make for the past two months to your friends. Will this be the Facebook post that finally spurns your friends into action? You realize your Facebook friends all agree with your political views and social views already.

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Coral Reefs Killed by Global Warming Come Back to Life Faster Than Predicted

19th August 2016

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My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

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What Latin Sounded Like – and How We Know

19th August 2016

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Just in case you were wondering. I know I was.

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Why Great Presidents Are Often Psychopaths

19th August 2016

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What do these presidents have in common? Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy. When I saw that question posed by University of California Irvine neuroscientist James Fallon, my response was that they were the three most popular presidents of the 20th century.

They all had fascist inclinations and increased the footprint of the Federal government on daily life, precisely because of that popularity.

Now what about Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush? All markedly less popular – each lost his bid for re-election.What I didn’t know is that biographers of each president had been asked to rate their subjects on a standardized assessment of psychopathic traits. Those first three super-popular presidents ranked No. 1, 2, and 3; they were America’s most psychopathic presidents. The three who couldn’t win a second term ranked among the least psychopathic.

Practice saying “My candidate is a psychopath. And that’s okay.”

I’d really rather not.

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When the Roomba Runs Over Dog Poop

17th August 2016

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Not a happy time.

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You’d Be Worth $27M If You’d Invested in AAPL Stock Instead of Having a Kid …

16th August 2016

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Well. There it is.

No wonder birthrates in First World nations are dropping like a stone.

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Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech

16th August 2016

Scott Adams continues his masterly analysis.

I watched Clinton surrogates on CNN criticize Trump’s speech, and their criticisms were mostly these two:

1. All of Trump’s foreign policy ideas are crazy and uninformed.

2. Obama is already wisely doing all of those same things.

That would seem absurd in any other context. But keep in mind that we voters believe we can assess foreign policy ideas by listening to biased liars talk on television. So the entire situation is ridiculous, but we play along.

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Even ‘Medical’ Marijuana Has Dangers

16th August 2016

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Funny how the people who are so hot to have government in charge of our health care don’t like it when they take charge of recreational drugs.

Geez, make up your minds.

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Olympic Coverage

16th August 2016

None. Not gonna happen. I don’t indulge in sweat myself, and see no purpose in watching other people do so.

No, not even women’s volleyball. Gave that up long ago.

I can, however, reveal the origins of the sport of curling. It came about because of golf.

God came to visit Scotland one day and watched a bunch of people playing golf.

He said, ‘That has got to be the damnedest silliest game that a human being could devise.’

The Scots, just to prove Him wrong, thereupon invented curling.

True story.

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Thought for the Day

16th August 2016

mrz081516-color_1_orig

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Time for a Change? Donald Trump Will Test a Forecasting Model

15th August 2016

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The Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz highlights this factor in his “time for a change” forecasting model of presidential election outcomes. “When a party has held the White House for two or more terms,” he writes, “voters will be more likely to feel that it is time to give the opposing party an opportunity to govern than when a party has held the White House for only one term.”

 Mr. Abramowitz finds that the party in power performs approximately five percentage points worse in the popular vote after two or more terms in office in a model that controls for the current president’s approval rating and the state of the economy. The sample size of post-World War II elections is very small, but Mr. Abramowitz’s model dominates the field in its forecasting accuracy.
Both Mr. Abramowitz’s model and a similar one from the political scientists John Sides, Michael Tesler and Lynn Vavreck (an Upshot contributor) would characterize Republicans as the favorite in this election with an estimated probability of winning of approximately 60 percent. As Mr. Sides notes, the G.O.P. edge is due in large part “to the White House’s greater tendency to change hands the longer the incumbent party has been there.”

But of course Trump is the new Hitler so obviously this model won’t work this time and we’re all safe. Phew!

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One Year of College in One Course: Eight Professors, 43 Students

14th August 2016

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The way most colleges teach general education to undergraduates is hopelessly broken, according to a group of professors and administrators at Southern Utah University.

Wyatt and a team of faculty members last year hatched a plan to reinvent how general education works at the university. Their solution, dubbed Jumpstart GE, began this fall with 43 students. It’s certainly a different approach. And while the experiment is too young to show any real learning outcomes, experts said the concept shows plenty of promise.

The first-year students are taking the full 34 credits for their general education requirements this year — the equivalent of 13 courses. But all that material has been converted into one course that eight professors from different disciplines are teaching jointly.

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James Files: Hitman Who Confessed to JFK Assassination Prepares for Prison Release

14th August 2016

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Tell the truth: You’ve never heard of him.

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Polls and the B.S. Detector

14th August 2016

Scott Adams continues his masterly analysis.

Anecdotally, many Trump supporters know other Trump supporters who won’t admit their Trump support, even to loved ones, much less to pollsters calling their homes. It just isn’t safe to support Trump in many parts of America. I live in one of those places, and that’s why I endorsed Hillary Clinton for my personal safety. It’s just safer. (And yes, I am totally serious.)

And they call Trump the brownshirt….

We also have to ask ourselves whether it is possible for all of the separate polls to be “rigged” in favor of Clinton. My B.S. filter says that whenever you have a situation in which there is a lot to gain, opportunity for cheating, and a low risk of getting caught, shenanigans always happen. So I expect, based on that universal law alone, that SOME of the polls are rigged and SOME of the actual election will be rigged as well.

Anything can happen. But I think there are more potential shocks on the Clinton side because any bad news about Trump’s character or business dealings are already baked into the cake. He is virtually shock-proof. Clinton is not.

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McMansions 101: What Makes a McMansion Bad Architecture?

14th August 2016

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I have always been puzzled by the term ‘McMansion’. This clears things up a bit.

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Being Vegan Isn’t as Good for Humanity as You Think

14th August 2016

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The researchers considered the vegan diet, two vegetarian diets (one that includes dairy, the other dairy and eggs), four omnivorous diets (with varying degrees of vegetarian influence), one low in fats and sugars, and one akin to the modern American dietary pattern.

Based on their models, the vegan diet would feed fewer people than two of the vegetarian and two of the four omnivorous diets studied. The bottom line: Going cold turkey on animal-based products may not actually be the most sustainable long choice for humanity in the long term.

Not to mention the scientific fact that we evolved as omnivores and vegetarianism is just another intellectual fantasy like astrology. (I’ll bet you find an amazing overlap between the two.)

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Ben Richards Believed His Bowel Cancer Symptoms Were Reaction to Spicy Food

14th August 2016

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I certainly associate the two.

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Stop Coddling College Crybabies

13th August 2016

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Even Voice of the Crust the Denver Post has had enough.

There is no venue today more politically correct and sanctimoniously liberal than higher education, replete with academic departments “studying” and glorifying every conceivable ethnicity, race and gender.  Nonetheless, the current generation of student activists is overcome by some imaginary insensitivity that surrounds them. With self-righteous indignation inflamed by hyper-narcissism they demand a college campus be “a warm, caring, welcoming, safe place.” An ideological sanctuary from ideas and expressions that might hurt their tender feelings, invulnerable to even the most infinitesimal “microaggression.”

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Dem Official Referred to Hillary As Nominee Before Primaries Even Started

13th August 2016

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What did he know that you don’t know?

(Probably not much. Any rational adult could tell that it was rigged.)

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Thought for the Day

13th August 2016

Obama Iran 2 copy

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Your Olive Oil Is Almost Certainly Fake

13th August 2016

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Fortunately, being hipsters who read Mother Jones, this is the most important thing we have to worry about.

Bite is Mother Jones‘ new food politics podcast.

Yup. You heard that right: food politics. With Mother Jones, everything is politics, even food.

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Clean-eating emergency: the Guardian turns on avocados

13th August 2016

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Oh dear. First the Guardian declared tea drinkers to possess ‘the worst possible English trait, up there with colonialism‘ and HP sauce to be the condiment of the establishment. Then the paper’s food section took things up a gear by describing barbecues as simply borderline-racist and street parties to be ‘a front for a middle-class nationalism that celebrates austerity’.

Now they have turned on their own. Yes, just as French scribe Jacques Mallet du Pan said, the revolution has devoured its children. In the latest bit of food advice from the Grauniad, the paper calls out hipsters for eating avocado toast, the trendy brunch staple. In a piece — titled ‘Can hipsters stomach the unpalatable truth about avocado toast?’ — a writer by the name of Joanna Blythman argues that although avocado is a firm favourite of lefties, we now have a ‘clean-eating emergency’ on our hands. The issues? Reports claim mass appetite for the fruit is ‘indirectly fuelling illegal deforestation and environmental degradation’.

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Conservative Bi-Lingualism?

13th August 2016

Steven Hayward at Powerline peers at the tea leaves.

Those who suffer the handicap, like myself, of having a Ph.D and writing for a living—the kind of people who actually sit in bars discussing, for example, Eric Voegelin’s injunction against “immanentizing the eschaton” (there’s a reason Voegelin devotees don’t get dates, and it’s not hard to figure out)—don’t understand that one reason for Trump’s appeal is that to a great many Americans he talks like they do—in sentence fragments, summary emotive thoughts, and imprecise terms. He’s the first prominent political figure in a long time who doesn’t use the certified official vocabulary and public demeanor of the political class. This, as much as anything, makes him anathema to the denizens of the Acela corridor. (Aside: I rode the Acela from Washington to New York not long ago, and had forgotten how precious—as in ludicrous—and utterly unreal are most of the conversations you overhear.)

That’s one theory anyway. Another is to recall the way Mitt Romney in 2012 “spoke conservatism as a second language,” Charles Krauthammer and Jonah Goldberg put it (there’s some dispute as to which of them came up with that observation first, but never mind). One of the Juice Voxers, as I call them, pointed out yesterday that Trump gets into the most trouble when he tries to talk conservative.

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Mel Gibson’s Ex Loses Millions Just for Talking About Him

12th August 2016

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Mel Gibson’s ex-wife Oksana Grigorieva just lost tens of millions of dollars in her divorce settlement. Grigorieva was originally set to receive a whopping $15 million, but that number was cut all the way down to $250,000 due to the domestic abuse claims she brought up during an interview on “The Howard Stern Show” in 2013.

Loose lips lose chips.

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Clinton Tax Returns Show Death Tax Hypocrisy

12th August 2016

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Hillary Clinton has always pushed for a steep Death Tax on the American people. But when it comes to her own finances, it is a different story. Clinton’s newly released tax returns show she still uses tax avoidance strategies to shield their Death Tax liability.

According to a 2014 report by Bloomberg News, the Clintons created trusts in 2010 and shifted ownership of their New York home to it in 2011. In doing so, they will avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in future death taxes.

‘We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.’ — Leona Helmsley

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The Greatest Cognitive Dissonance Trap of All Time

12th August 2016

Scott Adams continues his masterly analysis.

2. Trump does something smart – accusing Obama and Clinton of being “founders” of ISIS. This is a clever way to get the world to debate Clinton and Obama’s ineffectiveness during a time when ISIS expanded. In other words, it is brilliant media manipulation, and it worked.

3. CNN and other Clinton supporters interpret Trump’s statement about ISIS as absurd and uninformed because they can’t imagine a scenario in which Trump does something brilliant. Trump being brilliant isn’t one of the options, as far as they know.

The reality of Trump’s clever persuasion is crystal-clear to anyone who thinks Trump is smart. Trump was clearly joking about the “founder” part to get people squawking, and it worked. Total success. Brilliant technique.

Now the media has a big problem. They can’t admit that they were extraordinarily dumb in this situation and Trump was brilliant. That reality is invisible to them because it doesn’t fit their worldview.

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