DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for the 'Think about it.' Category

Remembering Peak Oil: Saudi Arabian Production Was Supposed to Peak in 2006

21st February 2017

Read it.

Oh no! We’re going to run out of … uh, I forget….

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The Cost Of Lab-Grown Hamburgers Has Fallen 3 Million Percent

20th February 2017

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Making enough artificial beef in a lab for a burger cost $325,000 as recently as 2013, but further development of the process has cut the price to just $11.36.

An amount now less than the Democrat-favored minimum wage.

Coincidence? I think not….

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Are Liberal Boycotts Of Trump Family Products Backfiring?

20th February 2017

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This weekend, the Daily Dealer wrote about Ivanka Trump’s perfume line, which has skyrocketed to the top of the bestseller list of all beauty products. People rushed to buy the product to support Ms. Trump, even as left-wing activists called on Americans to boycott Amazon. In other words, at least in that case, the so-called Grab Your Wallet campaign backfired.

Now, it’s happened again. The boycotters have called on customers to protest Wegmans, a popular grocery store, for selling wines from Trump Winery. People didn’t listen. According to the Washington Post, the boycott “backfires spectacularly.” Even as the hashtag #StopTrumpWine popped up on Twitter, Wegmans keeps selling out of the offering. In fact, all but one Wegmans in the entire state of Virginia is sold out.

Boycotts only work when all the power is on one side. The Internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it.

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Why Facebook Profiles are Replacing Credit Scores

20th February 2017

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There’s a scary thought.

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Thoughts on the Role of Cavalry in Medieval Warfare

19th February 2017

Read it.

Most historians, despite the recognition that field-battles were not the heart and soul of medieval warfare, still judge medieval cavalry by their performance within them. My findings show a much greater concentration on small unit actions, both in armament and organization, with cavalry centred on chevauchées on raiding and subduing castles in swift commando type take and hold missions. The diversity of mounted forces are also examined in the context of the lance and the integration of mounted crossbowmen and bowmen for combined arms tactics.

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International Visitors Are Already Turning Their Back [sic] on Trump-era America

19th February 2017

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A feature, not a bug.

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Humans Never Stopped Evolving

19th February 2017

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We’re just waiting for them to become sentient. And waiting … and waiting….

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Migrants Choose Arrest in Canada Over Staying in the U.S

19th February 2017

Read it.

And we encourage them to do so.

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Who Rules the United States?

19th February 2017

Read it.

By any historical and constitutional standard, “the people” elected Donald Trump and endorsed his program of nation-state populist reform. Yet over the last few weeks America has been in the throes of an unprecedented revolt. Not of the people against the government—that happened last year—but of the government against the people. What this says about the state of American democracy, and what it portends for the future, is incredibly disturbing.

These days an architect of the overreaching and antidemocratic Waters of the U.S. regulation worries that her work will be overturned so she undertakes extraordinary means to defeat her potential boss. But a change in policy is a risk of democratic politics. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the decisions of government employees are to be unquestioned and preserved forever. Yet that is precisely the implication of this unprecedented protest. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this,” a professor of government tells the paper. That sentence does not leave me feeling reassured.

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Donald Trump Goes Golfing Five More Times Than Barack Obama So Far

18th February 2017

Read it.

And gotten five more times done. (That’s the part the DemLegHump Media always leave out.)

I’m good with it.

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Who Are We?

18th February 2017

Victor Davis Hanson is not afraid to ask the hard questions.

The entire notion of identity politics — of appearance and tribe being essential rather than incidental to our characters — is coming under new reexamination in the post-Obama era. In this regard, there is a fascinating new documentary on race, identity, and the state by the filmmaker Eli Steele (son of Shelby Steele) on the paradoxes and contradictions of the Kafkaesque race industry. What started with his son’s being denied enrollment at the local school for dad Eli’s unwillingness to check off the proper ethnic boxes (for the tribally obsessed, his son is African-American, Native American, Mexican American and Jewish) culminated in a wonderful documentary, I Am, or How Jack Became Black. It is a fascinating (and disturbing) exploration of the contemporary subordination of the individual to careerist bureaucracies and anti-humanist orthodoxies.

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Why Did Medieval Artists Give Elephants Trunks That Look Like Trumpets?

18th February 2017

Read it.

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

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The Two Worlds of a Soviet Spy

18th February 2017

Read it.

Yes, Virginia, there really were Soviet spies.

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Why Customers Like Check Cashers and Payday Lenders

18th February 2017

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Why do so many Americans shun the institutions traditionally devoted to saving and loaning money? The answer, many people tell Servon, is that banks don’t seem to want their business and make it too difficult and expensive to get anything done.

“Banks want one customer with a million dollars,” the owner of one check-cashing chain tells her. “Check cashers like us want a million customers with one dollar.”

“Customers can find it difficult to predict when banks will charge them a fee (they sometimes change the timing) and what the amount of the fee will be; this lack of clarity can be costly,” Servon writes. “Now imagine the interior of a check casher—or visit one. It resembles a fast food restaurant more than a bank. Posters tell you what products are sold, and large signs above the teller windows list every product, along with its price.”

I’d like to have a doctor’s office like that, please.

Alternative services come with clear costs—and they move fast. Somebody facing bills needs a paycheck cashed now, not after an arbitrary delay while the check clears. Unpaid rent or unpurchased groceries are bigger concerns than a few dollars in fees.

And that’s what competition — when it’s allowed — delivers. Unfortunately, legislators, academics, and other government employees are too fond of telling other people how they ought to live their lives.

Financially sophisticated young Americans are also turning away from traditional banking. Peer-to-peer lending through online services such as Prosper and Lending Club “requires far less paperwork than other loans and is perceived to be more transparent than payday loans,” writes Servon. Loans through these platforms tend to be relatively inexpensive, too. Online-only banks such as Simple and Walmart’s GoBank cater to customers seeking greater transparency and lower costs, and some offer financial advice that millennials in particular find helpful.

Paperwork that is mandated by government regulation, ‘just standard clauses for your protection’, as the Phantom of the Paradise  likes to say.

“The regulators are causing the opposite of the desired effect by making it so dangerous now to serve a lower-income segment,” JoAnn Barefoot tells the author. A former official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and a deputy controller of the currency, Barefoot points to a web of red tape—much of it intended to battle discrimination—that makes serving many potential customers a legal minefield.

Traditional banks have meanwhile gained a reputation for working hand-in-hand with government. That relationship certainly doesn’t serve the needs of the many customers, from illegal immigrants to established businesses, who want to avoid official scrutiny of their transactions. When Servon asks a successful building contractor why he uses check-cashing services, he answers, “The insurance, the taxes, the workers comp—it’s killing us. Some guys try to hide as much of their income as they can—they got two-million-dollar businesses and they report half a mil. I’m telling you—it’s impossible to stay afloat if you don’t do some of that.”

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Thought for the Day

18th February 2017

http://dailysignal.com/2017/02/17/in-1-chart-what-your-favorite-fast-food-items-would-cost-with-15-minimum-wage/

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Trump Made Me Break Up!

17th February 2017

Ammo Grrrll has the answers.

A story appeared a few days after the election about a poor, troubled woman who had just started a new relationship with a real live man, but now was so upset by the election of President Trump whom she feared and hated, that she felt compelled to end her new relationship and hunker down in terror. I say: “Run, guy! You dodged a bullet!”

Amen.

It does make me sad that many women looking for good men do not seem to know where to find them. I’m here to help. Movies are useless, with men and women always meeting “cute.” She drops her purse on the street, stuff falls all over, and a gorgeous man picks up her things. They bump heads going for the lipstick, eyes lock, hands touch. Most cities, you drop your purse on the street, you are never going to see its contents again, let alone the purse. If a guy does pick up stuff, he is likely to be a homeless guy lunging for your embarrassingly large secret stash of Fun Size Snickers.

Now (trigger warning) I’m about to get very cis-normative here, so grab some Play-Doh. Ladies, with rare exceptions, men are not going to be at your yoga class, your line dancing class or your card-making class. They may be at your flower arranging class, but will only notice the flowers, see above. So where do appropriate men hang out? You know, the kind who are never even momentarily ambivalent about which restroom to use.

Clue: Not in ‘class’.

You can look for a husband at the grocery store, another movie favorite, but they are likely to be someone else’s husband. With some impressive exceptions, single men do not shop or cook. Their fridges contain yogurt, mustard and bologna, many of which are expired, and beer. They go out a lot or eat things that can be microwaved and eaten on a paper plate or over the sink. If you do find a straight, single man who cooks, grab him!

By the love handles — he’ll have ’em.

Lastly, we come to one of the best places to meet men. A place where the male to female ratio is exceedingly favorable. A place where, for some reason, few women go on a regular basis. I’m talking, of course, about the gun range.

Wisdom. Attend.

You must also negotiate for an adequate ‘portion’, i.e. the number of books that the prospective spouse will bring to the marriage.

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Thought for the Day

17th February 2017

Gallery: Matt cartoons, February 2017

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Japan Invents Coffee Butter Spread

17th February 2017

Read it.

Whenever I’m reading a science fiction story, I always quit if the aliens aren’t at least as odd as the Japanese.

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How to Evaluate a President

16th February 2017

Scott Adams reads today’s lesson.

Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Mark Zuckerberg. Richard Branson. What do they all have in common, aside from wealth?

They all succeeded without the right kind of prior experience. Apparently they knew how to figure out what they needed once they started. I’ll bet they are all systems-thinkers, not goal-thinkers.

Trump seems to be a systems thinker. I doubt he knew he would jump from real estate developer, to author, to reality TV star, to president. At least not in that order. Instead, he systematically accumulated money, persuasion skills, and personal connections until he had lots of options. Being president was one of them.

If you are comparing the incoming Trump administration to the smooth transfer of power that defines our modern history, that’s an irrational comparison. If the country wanted a smooth ride it would have elected Hillary Clinton. Instead, voters opted to “drain the swamp.“ And you can’t drain the swamp without angering the alligators and getting some swamp water on your pants. That’s what we’re watching now.

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Industrial Revolution Comparisons Aren’t Comforting

16th February 2017

Tyler Cowen, a Real Economist, looks at automation.

“Why should it be different this time?” That’s the most common response I hear when I raise concerns about automation and the future of jobs, and it’s a pretty simple rejoinder. The Western world managed the shift out of agricultural jobs into industry, and continued to see economic growth. So will not the jobs being displaced now by automation and artificial intelligence lead to new jobs elsewhere in a broadly similar and beneficial manner? Will not the former truck drivers, displaced by self-driving vehicles, find work caring for the elderly or maybe fixing or programming the new modes of transport?

As economics, that may well be correct, but as history it’s missing some central problems. The shift out of agricultural jobs, while eventually a boon for virtually all of humanity, brought significant problems along the way. This time probably won’t be different, and that’s exactly why we should be concerned.

Industrialization, and the decline of the older jobs in agriculture and the crafts economy, also had some pernicious effects on social ideas. The early to mid-19th century saw the rise of socialist ideologies, largely as a response to economic disruptions. Whatever mistakes Karl Marx made, he was a keen observer of the Industrial Revolution, and there is a reason he became so influential. He failed to see the long-run ability of capitalism to raise living standards significantly, but he understood and vividly described the transition costs and the economic volatility.

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How to Think About Taxes

16th February 2017

Scott Sumner, a Real Economist, lays it out for you.

Because tax reform is currently in the news, I thought it would be useful to describe what economists know, and don’t know, about taxes. I’ll start with what we know….

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Polar Bear Numbers Still on the Rise, Despite Global Warming

16th February 2017

Read it.

But there’s a consensus!

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How to Persuade the Other Party

16th February 2017

Scott Adams tells us how.

As I often say, fairness is a concept invented so children and idiots can participate in debates. Fairness is a subjective illusion. It isn’t a rule of physics, and it isn’t an objective quality of the universe. We just think it is.

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GOP Bill to Eliminate the EPA Is Literally One Sentence Long

16th February 2017

Read it.

One sentence is all it takes.

The EPA is one reason why Richard Nixon will burn in Hell for all eternity.

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Do Dems Hate the White Working Class Too Much to Win Them Over?

14th February 2017

Lion of the Blogosphere connects the dots.

Let’s review what the liberal elites think. The liberal elites believe that having a good career is a reward for doing the right things. The right things include getting good grades in high school and then going to college where you become smart enough to work in a good career.

Liberal elites don’t believe in HBD. If white person, especially a white male, fail to go to college and “make something of themselves,” it’s because they were too lazy and too stupid (stupid in a moral sense and not an IQ sense) to do the right things, despite their white privilege. On the other hand, if a black or Hispanic fails to go to college, that’s because of pervasive racism, and therefore they deserve the help and sympathy of the government as compensation.

Given that the liberal elites who control the Democratic Party believe this, how can they convince the blue-collar whites they are on their side when they give off the vibe that they really despise those people for being lazy and stupid? Sometimes liberal politicians even let slip that they really think the blue-collar whites are a bunch of deplorables clinging bitterly to their religion, their guns, and their racism.

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Politics Isn’t About Policy

14th February 2017

Robin Hanson lays it out.

High school students are easily engaged to elect class presidents, even though they have little idea what if any policies a class president might influence.  Instead such elections are usually described as “popularity contests.”  That is, theses elections are about which school social factions are to have higher social status.  If a jock wins, jocks have higher status.  If your girlfriend’s brother wins, you have higher status, etc.  And the fact that you have a vote says that others should take you into account when forming coalitions – you are somebody.

College is pretty much the same, with more alcohol.

Civics teachers talk as if politics is about policy, that politics is our system for choosing policies to deal with common problems.  But as Tyler Cowen suggests, real politics seems to be more about who will be our leaders, and what coalitions will rise or fall in status as a result.  Election media coverage focuses on characterizing the candidates themselves – their personalities, styles, friends, beliefs, etc.  You might say this is because character is a cheap clue to the policies candidates would adopt, but I don’t buy it.

The obvious interpretation seems more believable – as with high school class presidents, we care about policies mainly as clues to candidate character and affiliations.  And to the extent we consider policies not tied to particular candidates, we mainly care about how policies will effect which kinds of people will be respected how much.

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Thought for the Day: It’s the Thought That Counts

14th February 2017

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Engineers on Google’s Self-Driving Car Project Were Paid So Much That They Quit

14th February 2017

Read it.

Oops.

 

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Rule of Law

14th February 2017

The OFloinn makes a point.

Extreme cases are liable to arouse emotional investment and this leads to poor laws. Glanville Williams wrote, “It used to be said that ‘hard cases make bad law’—a proposition that our less pedantic age regards as doubtful.³ What is certain is that cases in which the moral indignation of the judge is aroused frequently make bad law.” (Wikipedia)

We can see this clearly in engineering where sometimes-tragic manufacturing flaws result in absurdly strict design changes because legislatures and courts (and even managers) do not distinguish between doing the right thing and doing the thing right. That is, between quality of design and quality of execution. There are times when a design change can prevent an operational error, but typically if a problem happened because an operator failed to follow a procedure, the solution is seldom a more complex and burdensome procedure. 

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Gay Journalist Becomes Conservative After Seeing ‘Paranoia, Mean-spiritednessness’ in Liberalism

14th February 2017

Read it.

Chadwick Moore is a gay journalist living in New York City. After he published a profile of the controversial Milo Yiannopoulos in Out magazine, he received major backlash from Democrats in his life. He was ostracized from his community, attacked online and even received death threats for publishing an unbiased piece. Of the experience, Moore says this: “I realized that, for the first time in my adult life, I was outside the liberal bubble and looking in. What I saw was ugly, lock step, incurious and mean-spirited.” Even though three months ago, Moore voted for Hillary Clinton, what he experienced after publishing his piece caused him to seek out conversation with Trump supporters. What he found was more open-mindedness than he’d ever seen in his liberal community. Just recently, he came out as conservative and said it was just as nerve-wracking as when he came out as gay.

Well, I doubt seriously that he actually ‘became conservative’; what he really became is ‘anti-liberal’, which is not quite the same thing. But we live in a binary world.

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Thought for the Day

13th February 2017

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Joy Villa’s Album Sales EXPLODE 18,106,633% Within Hours of Wearing Make America Great Again Dress

13th February 2017

Read it.

Doing well is the best revenge.

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How to Play Mathematics

12th February 2017

Read it.

The world is full of mundane, meek, unconscious things embodying fiendishly complex mathematics. What can we learn from them?

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Obama’s Lost Army

12th February 2017

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He built a grassroots machine of two million supporters eager to fight for change. Then he let it die. This is the untold story of Obama’s biggest mistake—and how it paved the way for Trump.

Sometimes even being the Magic Negro isn’t enough.

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Thought for the Day

11th February 2017

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Jammin’ With Trump

11th February 2017

In the month since Trump was inaugurated, and in the three months since he was elected, two things have become clear.

One is that what he says, and especially what he tweets, is fundamentally just noise. It has no connection with any concrete policy, and only tenuous connection to anything that he will eventually wind up doing.

So why does he do it? We can’t know for sure, but its result is to fully occupy the bandwidth of his enemies (and a number of his putative supporters). One traditional military tactic is to jam the other guy’s radars so he can’t tell what is actually going on, and the equivalent seems to be working on Trump’s opponents’ ‘mindshare’ very effectively. It’s like watching my wife work the cats with a cat dancer — they can’t ignore that flouncing feather or red dot, they have to run after it. She, in the meantime, is laughing uproariously; and I suspect that there is a lot of laughter filling the Oval Office of late.

The other is that the Angry Left is cruisin’ for a bruisin’. Most of the protesters and rioters of late are of two groups: Activist college students and urban minority thugs. They are accustomed to having authority figures, either college administrations or Democrat civil governments, roll over and play dead whenever they raise their voices. That will not work with Trump or with anyone in his administration, and eventually Trump will turn into Nixon and you’ll have dead bodies in Berkeley and Baltimore — and nothing will be done because it will look like a requisite response to nation-wide insurrection. Since these people don’t bother to learn any history they won’t be aware that the response to the Kent State shootings in 1970 was some sad music and Nixon’s landslide victory in 1972. You mess with the bull, you get the horns every time.

So what can we expect in the future? Trump is going to keep doing what he’s doing because it’s working. The Left is going to run itself ragged about things that don’t matter a damn, and in the meantime the government is going to be pursuing its program, which is guaranteed to make ‘progressive’ heads explode.

The whole Democrat party is going under suicide watch, because they’re so used to winning that they don’t have the psychological toughness to cope with losing the way they’re going to be losing for the next four years. These violent protests will either fizzle out, when their instigators realize that that they aren’t doing anything other than alienating the people whose support they need, or they will escalate to the point where the administration will feel safe in stomping on them. I remember the Sixties; they fought the law, and the law won.

It will be ‘interesting times’, for sure.

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Reconstructing a Deconstruction

9th February 2017

Read it.

Hitler was a vegetarian. Take whatever action you deem appropriate.

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When The Machine Breaks

9th February 2017

Sarah Hoyt looks at the current scene.

At any rate I don’t remember exactly what I said anymore, but it went something like this: the left fed the right coins into the machine — the fundraising for Hillary was astonishing — and pulled all the right levers, from a press more than fully in the tank (to the point of getting the debate questions ahead of time to the Hillary campaign and also of BURYING her many scandals, including Benghazi, the financial shenanigans of the Clinton foundation, and the crazy server-in-the-bathroom stupidity), to celebrity endorsements, to more or less helping the Republicans select the candidate the democrats thought least likely to win against Hillary. Fraud to the extent it exists (It did in massive galloping amounts in the precinct I watched in 12.

The polls, cooked or not, were no more cooked than in 2012, and they showed a blow out.  EVERYTHING WAS GOING SO WELL.

And then the machine broke.  Instead of the planned, prepared, pushed Hillary presidency it delivered Trump.

Right now, from pussy hats to riots, the left is reacting like teenagers who did everything right and for whom the vending machine failed to deliver what they purchased.  So they’re screaming, and trying to push the machine and slamming it against the wall, trying to get it to dispense the treat they bought.

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The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age

8th February 2017

Watch it.

Peter Robinson interviews Professor Russell Muirhead of Dartmouth College. This is a fascinating look at the history of political parties in American history.

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Thought for the Day

8th February 2017

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Why People Are Leaving Blue States in Droves

7th February 2017

Read it.

Executive Summary: They suck.

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Trump Sparks Refugee Exodus to Canada

7th February 2017

Read it.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

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Add Some Weasel Brain to Your Cheese to Keep Rats and Mice Away: Advice From 1649

6th February 2017

Read it.

Sometimes the old ways are best … and sometimes not.

Thanks to Debby Witt, a kindred soul.

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Against Oikophobia and Xenophobia

5th February 2017

Read it.

Well, James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal does a service by continuing the project of mainstreaming oikophobia as concept. The word, invented by the British conservative Roger Scruton, is the kind of phobia (our language, you have may have noticed, is exploding with new phobias) that afflicts vain fake cosmopolitans who feel an unnatural aversion to the conditions of life that allow people to experience themselves as at home.

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A Thought Experiment About Republicans

5th February 2017

Scott Adams points to an essential distinction.

One of the most underrated qualities of Republicans is that they police their own ranks. If you have a problem with a violent Republican racist, call some Republicans. They’ll solve it for you.

But don’t call a Republican if you are simply offended by another person’s opinion. In that situation you want to call some Democrats to ridicule and physically attack the person with the objectionable opinion.

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Thought for the Day

5th February 2017

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Thought for the Day

4th February 2017

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Berkeley and Hitler

3rd February 2017

Scott Adams draws the line.

Speaking of Hitler, I’m ending my support of UC Berkeley, where I got my MBA years ago. I have been a big supporter lately, with both my time and money, but that ends today. I wish them well, but I wouldn’t feel safe or welcome on the campus. A Berkeley professor made that clear to me recently. He seems smart, so I’ll take his word for it.

I’ve decided to side with the Jewish gay immigrant who has an African-American boyfriend, not the hypnotized zombie-boys in black masks who were clubbing people who hold different points of view. I feel that’s reasonable, but I know many will disagree, and possibly try to club me to death if I walk on campus.

Always a danger.

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Thought for the Day

3rd February 2017

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Military Reading List

3rd February 2017

Read it.

Go on, read it.

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