URLs du Jour


  • Hey, kinda looks like the Old Man! Or Elvis! Commie Radio invites us to See the N.H. GOP's proposed state congressional map. But here it is:

    [NH Redistricted]

    You can click over to read the news story. For me, the relevant bit is that it puts my town (Rollinsford) in NH-02, judged to be Safe Democratic. Thanks to that new green tentacle running down the eastern border.

    Moan. Just what I need, to be represented by Annie Kuster, who would have no reason whatsoever to appeal to conservatives/libertarians. At least my current CongressCritter, Chris Pappas, occasionally makes noises that way.

  • What's that smell? At Patterico's Pontifications, JVW looks at garbage. Specifically…

    Another shining moment for “the adults in the room.” At the end of last week, reports from the Wall Street Journal and New York Times declared that the Biden Administration was considering a plan to pay up to $450,000 per child to illegal immigrant families who were detained at the border and separated from their children during the previous administration, with some families with multiple children receiving as much as one million dollars. Naturally, Republicans responded with utter dismay (Oops! I guess the word I am supposed to use is “pounced”). Luckily for the President, he had by then jetted off to Rome (4,500 mile trip) on Air Force One where he made use of an 85-vehicle motorcade en route to The Vatican to share a laugh with the Pope before then swinging up to Glasgow (1,560 mile trip) to join with 30,000 other attendees who had traveled (mostly via airplane) to Scotland to watch the U.S. President nap through a series of speeches demanding that we peons who don’t work for the almighty government drastically reduce our carbon footprint, and thus did not have to immediately answer questions about the proposed payouts to illegal immigrants scheme.

    At least, that is, until he returned home yesterday (3425 mile trip). In his first press conference back, Fox News (naturally) reporter Peter Doocey asked the President if the proposed payouts might incentivize more foreigners to attempt an illegal border crossing, and was met with this reply: “If you guys keep sending that garbage out, yeah. But it’s not true.”

    When Mr. Doocey followed-up by asking the President if he does believe this is a “garbage report,” the President replied, “Yeah. Four-hundred and fifty thousand dollars per person, is that what you are saying?” When Mr. Doocey responded in the affirmative, the President retorted emphatically, “That’s not gonna happen.”

    The report is “garbage”? Well, not according to the ACLU who has apparently been working with members of the administration on this very issue. The original article in the WSJ quoted Lee Gelernt from the ACLU’s immigrant-rights division saying, “President Biden has agreed that the family separation policy is a historic moral stain on our nation that must be fully remedied. That remedy must include not only meaningful monetary compensation, but a pathway to remain in the country.”

    And later "clarifications" from the White House Deputy Press Secretary indicate that the "garbage" Biden said was "not gonna happen" probably is gonna happen.

  • Obfuscation is their best defense. John Daniel Davidson asks a question to which I'm pretty sure he knows the answer: Why Won’t The Left Admit Schools Teach Critical Theory And Defend It On The Merits?

    By now, most Americans know that critical race theory is real and that it’s being taught widely in public schools.

    This isn’t a semantics debate. Students are being taught racial hierarchies, along with the idea that the United States was founded on white supremacy, and that the U.S. Constitution, our legal system, and American ideals like freedom and equality all work to perpetuate and sustain systemic racism.

    There are mountains of evidence of this. The work of Christopher Rufo and others has exposed critical race theory’s many manifestations, not just in public schools but inside major corporations and even the U.S. military.

    Yet the left has refused to debate critical race theory on the merits. Instead, the corporate press, Hollywood, and woke Twitter bluechecks keep insisting that it doesn’t even exist, it’s just a fantasy conjured up by racist Trumpers trying to scare white voters into electing Republicans.

    I briefly watched MSNBC last Tuesday night. It took about 15 seconds for one of their talking heads to assure her listeners that CRT didn't exist.

    But for more on that…

  • Or their intelligence. Jonah Goldberg has advice that won't be listened to: Don’t Insult the Customer (by calling them racists). And (as a bonus):

    I agree entirely with defenders of critical race theory that most people have, at best, a vague understanding of it. Where I part company is on the question of how relevant that is. What a lot of the people object to is the general approach to talking about race today. If you want to call it anti-racism, or woke-ism, or some other label, it has no bearing on the thing people object to, because words aren’t things. And the things people object to can’t be fixed by changing the labels we use for them. The progressive response to anti-CRT rhetoric is one of the great examples of motte-and-bailey argumentation in public life in my lifetime. In front of friendly audiences, it’s all systemic racism, white supremacy, and the like. When people push back, it’s because “they don’t want to talk about slavery and Jim Crow!”

    I’m getting tired of saying this, but schools have been teaching about slavery a lot for the last 60 years at least. If progressives were just saying, “Schools need to teach about slavery and Jim Crow,” it would be no different than saying, “Schools need to teach math!” because that’s already happening. But most normal people understand that there is something new going on, and that’s the thing they’re objecting to.

    So anyway…

  • [Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

    I do not want one. Jonah also linked to this CNET article with the text "Suicide of the West": Fisher-Price made a working Chatter phone for adults because we're all broken inside.

    Baby's first "mobile" phone is now an actual mobile phone. The iconic Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone pull toy has been made into a working Bluetooth-connected handset for grownups. It still has a rainbow-colored rotary dial. It's got eyes that wobble when the wheels roll. But now, 60 years since it first was introduced, you can take your business calls through the big, red plastic handset.

    The link at right goes to the kid's toy, sorry.

Last Modified 2021-11-07 6:11 AM EDT

The Mind Club

Who Thinks, What Feels, and Why It Matters

[Amazon Link, See Disclaimer]

Grabbed via UNH Interlibrary Loan from Colorado State. Go Rams! Recommended heartily by Arnold Kling. I'm not as enthusiastic as Arnold.

The authors for this 2016 book are listed as Daniel M. Wegner and Kurt Gray. Wegner, professor of psychology at Harvard, died of ALS in 2013. As explained in the book's moving preface, this left Gray, his graduate student, to finish up. The book is informal, accessible, and (unexpectedly, given the somber preface) often very funny.

The authors approach the concept of "mind" from an interesting perspective: not how minds work, but instead how we perceive minds in various circumstances. Their model is two-dimensional; we see minds having different levels of "experience" and "agency". And they supply a map showing how various entities fall out on those scales (clipped from a 2007 Science article by the authors and Hannah Gray):

[Mind Club Map]

"Experience" here refers to the ability to feel (high for you and me, low for robots). "Agency" for the ability for "thinking and doing" (again high for you and me, low for frogs and fetuses).

Chapter by chapter, the book explores our attitudes toward the "minds" of different groups: animals, machines, patients (typically helpless, some irretrievably brain-damaged), enemies, the silent, groups, the dead, God, and (finally) your own self. Interesting observations are made, and a considerable amount of research is described. As usual, researchers love to put their test subjects into manipulated situations designed to fool their brains. (It's tons of fun, and often profitable!)

I particularly liked the study reported on p. 252 (hardcover). Researchers "had people read an essay supporting open immigration either on a normal city sidewalk or in front of a funeral home." They speculated that "reminders of death would lead people to identify strongly with their nationality—Go America!—and therefore see foreigners as threatening."

And that's exactly what they found!

The final chapter, "The Self", contains an argument against free will. Again, the argument is about perception: you may perceive yourself as having free will, but that's (they argue) an illusion. You may weigh their argument, find it persuasive, and choose to accept it… Oops!

I didn't. You'd think by now the anti-free will proselytizers would come up with an argument that I had no choice other than to accept.