URLs du Jour

2019-03-21

[Amazon Link]

  • It sounds like an obituary, but it's unfortunately not. Rich Lowry writes at National Review describing how the SPLC Weaponized Political Correctness.

    Over the decades, the SPLC basically made the philosopher Eric Hoffer’s famous line about organizational degeneracy its strategic plan: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

    Originally founded as a civil-rights group in 1971 and gaining fame for its campaign to bankrupt the Ku Klux Klan, the SPLC shifted to a catchall “anti-hate” group that widened its definition of hate to encompass more and more people as the Klan faded as a threat.

    It used the complicity or credulousness of the media in repeating its designations to punish its ideological enemies and engage in prodigious fundraising. It raised $50 million a year and built an endowment of more than $300 million.

    Imagine a left-wing outfit with the same shoddy standards as Joe McCarthy, but with a better business sense.

    It's not as if people were unaware of the SPLC's nature. Even back in 2010 (when now-disgraced SPLC founder Morris Dees was invited to give the Commemorative Address for the 2011 MLK Day celebrations at the University Near Here) it was apparent that it was a fundraising scam.


  • In Pun Salad's "Irony Can Be Pretty Ironic Sometimes" Department, Reason's Robby Soave reports: University of Cambridge Cancels Jordan Peterson’s Visiting Fellowship Because He Is Not 'Inclusive'.

    Jordan Peterson, the University of Toronto psychologist known for criticizing political correctness, announced Monday that he would be a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge's divinity school.

    But on Wednesday, Cambridge's administration announced that they had rescinded the invitation following a public outcry from students and professors.

    "[Cambridge] is an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles," a Cambridge spokesperson told The Guardian. "There is no place here for anyone who cannot."

    There's a certain odor of "We had to destroy the village in order to save it" in that explanation, right?


  • An occasional decent article slips onto the Wired site now and then. Current example (from Clive Thompson) is one that will warm any computer geek's heart: Coders’ Primal Urge to Kill Inefficiency—Everywhere.

    Shelley Chang was working as a business analyst for a computer company in 2010 when she met Jason Ho through some mutual friends. Ho was tall and slender with a sly smile, and they hit it off right away. A computer programmer, Ho ran his own company from San Francisco. He also loved to travel. Less than a month after they met, Ho surprised Chang by buying a plane ticket to meet her in Taiwan, where she’d temporarily relocated. Soon they were talking about visiting Japan together for four weeks. Chang was a bit apprehensive; they didn’t know each other well. But she decided to take the gamble.

    Ho, as it turned out, had a very strict and peculiar itinerary planned. He’s fond of ramen dishes, and to fit as many as possible into their visit to Tokyo, he’d assembled a list of noodle places and plotted them on Google Maps. Then he’d written some custom code to rank the restaurants so they could be sure to visit the best ones as they went sightseeing. It was, he said, a “pretty traditional” algorithmic challenge, of the sort you learn in college. Ho showed Chang the map on his phone. He told her he was planning to keep careful notes about the quality of each meal too. “Oh wow,” she thought, impressed, if a bit wary. “This guy is kind of nuts.”

    Shelley should talk to Mrs. Salad, who's been putting up with this sort of thing for … wow … decades. I can still get her to roll her eyes when I describe my latest scheme for life optimization.


  • And the Google LFOD News Alert rang loudly for a Union Leader story about the latest nannyism from state legislators: NH Democrats use new majority to pass bills restricting use of plastic bags and straws.

    “Even California recognizes that plastic straws have a place in society, and they chose to only apply their prohibition to full-service restaurants,” said Minority Leader Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack.

    “If this bill becomes law, and you’re driving away from receiving your drive-thru milkshake or iced coffee realizing you forgot to ask for a straw, just remember that even your friends in California have more straw freedom than you do here in the Live Free or Die state.”

    We should change our motto to "Live As Free As NH Democrats Decree You Can". A little wordy for license plates, unfortunately.


  • But our legislators were not through, taking up an Important Issue that had shamefully been left unresolved four years ago. Live Free and Fly: New Hampshire House approves state raptor.

    This was a fourth grade school project back in 2015. The same kids are now eighth graders, and they will not be denied!

    […] Discussion of the raptor bill was brief. The only lawmaker who spoke against it was Rep. Christy Bartlett, D-Concord, who argued the state already has too many symbols and that red-tailed hawks, being common place across the country, don't uniquely represent the state. Students who want to get involved in the political process would be better off working on bills of greater importance, she argued.

    But Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, said passing the bill was important given that it had gotten inappropriately hijacked four years ago.

    "I think this is an opportunity for us to establish a symbol that works for the state of New Hampshire but also a way to pay respect to tenacity and perseverance," he said.

    Students wore T-shirts that played off the state's motto of "Live Free or Die" that read: "Our Second Try to Live Free & Fly." They argued red-tailed hawks were deserving of the honor because they're determined, adaptable and share parenting responsibilities. Daniel Blankenship, one of the students, who spotted a red-tailed hawk on his way to the Statehouse on Wednesday, said the defeat four years ago was instructive.

    "It taught us all a lesson that we don't always succeed in getting what we want," he said ahead of Wednesday's vote. "It helped us grow as people."

    So it appears that New Hampshire's 243-year-long nightmare of lacking a State Raptor will soon be over.