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The Deep Thoughts of Scott Adams, SUPERGENIUS

[ 125 ] November 23, 2015 |


Beth alluded to this below, but I cannot resist making fun of Scott Adams’s complaints about how women rule the world:

When we get home, access to sex is strictly controlled by the woman.

Um, as Beth’s linkee observes, “Er, dude, that’s how sex works. Both sex partners have to agree to it, otherwise it’s rape. And men have veto power when it comes to sex just like women do.” But this is just standard-issue “you buy her a Big Mac with fries and she WON’T EVEN PUT OUT” misogynist whining. Things proceed to get more idiosyncratically sexist:

If the woman has additional preferences in terms of temperature, beverages, and whatnot, the man generally complies.

If women always get their way on temperature, I’m pretty sure it’s news to them. But at least temperature is a common good that affects both people in a room and is subject to negotiation and compromise. The thing about how women always get their way with beverages, though, is really weird. In my understanding, it is entirely possible for people to consume a particular beverage while — at the same time, even! — someone else consumes a different beverage. Also, I may be unique in this regard, but I must say that while people are guests in my home, I try to accommodate their beverage requests irrespective of their gender or whether I am interested in having sex with them. How can I ever escape the iron grip of the matriarchy?

If I fall in love and want to propose, I am expected to do so on my knees, to set the tone for the rest of the marriage.

Um, yeah, not really. I have even heard rumors that some agreements to marry involve mutual discussion, and in some vanishingly rare cases may involve proposals by women.

This pretty much speaks for itself:

So if you are wondering how men become cold-blooded killers, it isn’t religion that is doing it. If you put me in that situation, I can say with confidence I would sign up for suicide bomb duty. And I’m not even a believer. Men like hugging better than they like killing. But if you take away my access to hugging, I will probably start killing, just to feel something. I’m designed that way. I’m a normal boy. And I make no apology for it.

I find the causal logic here both unpersuasive and highly disturbing. Although perhaps America’s epidemic of firearm violence is really the product of uppity women who will not even let men dictate their beverage choices.


Crazylinks: Monday Edition

[ 49 ] November 23, 2015 |

  • Scott Adams is not a normal boy.
  • Lana Del Rey is a new conservative icon. No, really.  Aside from this being the usual bonkers conservative culture war crap, this column is also horribly written. I confess I’m used to men masturbating over their own writing but I’m pretty sure Stephanie Edelman needed a cigarette after writing dreck like this: “They scream and clap and gaze transfixed when Lana graces the stage, a David Lynch-like vision of loveliness, and haunting in her incarnation of Americana nostalgia.” Now, while admit that Lynch has a certain je ne sais quoi, I’m not sure I’d want to look like him if I were a female-presenting woman.
  • MST3K is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • You want dino erotica? Well, I don’t have it! But I do have a Chuck Tingler erotica title generator, which is possibly better!


Today in Reasonable Conservatives

[ 5 ] November 23, 2015 |


Remember when Mitch Daniels, Reasonable Conservative, was a thing when pundits were talking about Republican presidential candidates? Those were good times. Well, Daniels is now president of Purdue. There have been a lot of racist incidents during his presidency:

Last December, more than 150 Purdue students marched to Daniels’ office in a “Purdue Can’t Breathe” rally. The year before, hundreds of students chanted, “Mitch, let’s face it/It’s time to deal with racists.”

Students of colors have told stories about others on campus hurling racial epithets at them and even physically assaulting them. There were also more high-profile incidents, like when someone scrawled the N-word across a picture of Dr. Cornell Bell, a prominent African American academic and advocate for minority students, or when the words “white supremacy” were written in the Black Cultural Center. Two anonymous Twitter accounts dedicated to mocking Asian students at Purdue also elicited protests. In 2012, the FBI announced that Purdue had reported the second largest number of hate crimes on campus, including five incidents of racial bias in one year.

The 2013 protests demanded the administration take specific actions to improve the culture on campus, including doubling the number of minority faculty and students in the next years, requiring racial sensitivity workshops for faculty, and creating a zero-tolerance policy that results in expulsion for racist acts. The 2014 rally followed up with more demands, saying Daniels was too slow to act.

So his response to the protests at Yale and Missouri? Congratulations on his own great leadership.

With that kind of leadership, maybe Daniels should write a book about how his brand of leaderocity and leadertude can inspire a whole generation of leadership studies students! Because being a university president is nothing but an exercise in self-promotion and justifying your own actions to make yourself look good.

Oh White People

[ 102 ] November 23, 2015 |


My god….

In a new poll released by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) on Tuesday, a whopping 43 percent of Americans told researchers that discrimination against whites has become as large a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minority groups. And an even bigger share of Americans — 53 percent — told pollsters American culture and “way of life” have mostly changed for the worse since 1950.

First, there are some real and large differences in the way that different groups of Americans answered those two questions up above. Half of white Americans — including 60 percent of the white working class — told researchers that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem today as discrimination against blacks and other minorities. Meanwhile, 29 percent of Latinos and 25 percent of black Americans agreed. White Americans feel put-upon and mistreated — and large shares of non-white Americans do not seem to have any knowledge of the challenges that white Americans say they face.

This is the base of the Trump voter and rise of proto-fascism in the United States in the last few years. White people frankly want a return to their romanticized vision of the white dominant past in ways that would not look unfamiliar to supporters of Hitler and Mussolini. Race has always been a zero-sum game for many American whites and periodically large numbers of whites enter into a period of full-fledged racial hysteria, even if to the rational community who can look at any number of metrics, this makes no sense. I will however say that the numbers of the white working class are particularly important because the economic insecurity of an outsourced and automated economy, the effects of which are swept under the rug by the many proponents of unrestricted globalization, are very real. I have said for a long time that if you want a stable society you have to have good paying jobs. Without those jobs, racial and religious prejudice becomes even more powerful than it usually is. That is part of what we are seeing in this recent rise of proto-fascism. It’s scary and should make us rethink a lot about the society we want to build before it’s too late.

Battery Recycling and Toxicity

[ 8 ] November 23, 2015 |


One does not want to live around a lead battery recycling facility:

In the wake of a growing lead pollution investigation in neighborhoods around the now shuttered Exide Technologies plant in Vernon, state toxics regulators have ordered a second lead battery recycler in nearby Industry to test soil outside its property for lead contamination.

The state Department of Toxic Substances Control has given Quemetco, Inc. until the end of the month to submit a schedule for testing, beginning with a half-mile radius around the facility at 720 S. Seventh St. Each day, the plant processes up to 1.2 million pounds of scrap and lead.

As with Exide, testing may eventually stretch up to a mile away from the plant if initial findings indicate the possibility of wider spread contamination.

Dot Lofstrom, a division chief overseeing cleanup programs at DTSC, said the soil testing around Quemetco comes in part because of growing pollution concerns around Exide. In August, her agency announced lead dust from the Exide may have fouled as many 10,000 homes.

Unfortunately, the article doesn’t really get into the demographics of the neighborhood. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t a poor neighborhood of color.

This also gets to the point that while we think recycling is a great thing, it’s very much a out of sight-out of mind thing and in fact the wages of recycling are really nasty for both workers and nearby residents.

Your Afternoon Althouse

[ 46 ] November 23, 2015 |

Via Alicublog: Maybe Donald Trump watched the yoooge 9/11 celebrations in New Jersey through a yoooge telescope in his yoooge penthouse, says law professor who makes other law professors mutter “I’m not with her,” Ann Althouse. You don’t know.

Where was Trump on 9/11? In some high-floor penthouse in Manhattan? I presume he has telescopes to gaze out upon the glorious long views. I would guess that he did have sight lines that extended to the rooftops of Jersey City. Maybe he did personally watch celebrations.

I await clarification. It will be something if he says: I have the telescopic power to monitor Jersey City rooftop parties from my penthouse.

It would indeed be something, as this was after Trump said he watched the celebrations no one else remembers on TV.

Fair and balanced

[ 13 ] November 23, 2015 |


Earlier today I wondered how the media are going to handle the tricky situation created by the fact that the front-runner for the GOP nomination is both a racist demagogue and a pathological liar. How many “journalists” will surrender to the professional bad habit of framing brazen no-two-ways-about-it lies as “controversial” statements, about which there can be a variety of legitimate opinions?

Consider this nugget from Cory Bennett of the Weekly World News Hill:

However, the percentages do, in some ways, align with Department of Justice (DOJ) findings from several years ago. A DOJ study released in 2011 reported that 93 percent of black homicides were committed by other blacks between 1980 and 2008.

In 2014, that figure was roughly 90 percent in 2014, according to the latest DOJ numbers.

The category tweeted out by Trump that doesn’t fit with DOJ statistics is “Whites Killed by Whites,” which Trump’s tweet indicated was 16 percent.

According to the department’s 2011 report, 84 percent of white homicides were committed by whites between 1980 and 2008. That number was 82 percent in 2014.

Contrary to Bennett, the category of interest here is “whites killed by blacks,” which Trump’s tweet claimed made up 81% of all murders of whites (the true percentage is a sixth of that).

Trump’s claims are true “in some ways,” in the trivial sense that they contain assertions that nobody has ever questioned, along with the crazy lies that should be the exclusive subject of journalistic commentary, because it’s the crazy lies that are newsworthy.

In other words, claiming that Trump’s racist lies regarding this subject “in some ways” reflect the actual facts is no different than saying that the claims of Holocaust deniers “in some ways” reflect reality, because after all, as deniers argue, a lot of Jews did die as a result of harsh conditions in labor camps, as opposed to being directly murdered. It’s just that the other stuff about how millions weren’t gassed and shot in an extermination campaign happens to be false.

Mayor of Roanoke not racist, says Mayor of Roanoke

[ 43 ] November 23, 2015 |

Honest n’ truly.

 “It’s just not in my heart to be racist or bigoted.”

But there’s plenty of space in his head.

I anticipated that the statement might receive some coverage in the Roanoke Valley, but I did not in any way anticipate that it would trend internationally over the Internet.

Who knew saying the quiet part out loud would echo so much?

My statement was intended to be respectful — was intended to be respectful — measured and moderate in tone and substance.

Maybe respectful and measured and moderate don’t pair well with demonizing innocent people, invoking with approval a shameful event in American history and lying about that event to make it seem less shameful? Just a thought.

I was thinking of the families of the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the threats to our nation’s capital city when I made that statement yesterday.

I’ll take thumb-fingered appeals to emotion for $500, please!

I did not intend to offend anyone,” he continued, “but I did want to express my concerns about the current situation involving the safety of the American people.

And by anyone, I mean anyone who is more interested in soiling his trews over skaree furinners than sober fact. (And make that $1,000 on the appeal to ur feels!)

Residents of Roanoke and members of the city council called for Mayor Bower’s resignation after his remarks about the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. He has said he won’t resign but will not run again in 2016.



This Doesn’t Change the Fact That Vince Foster was Killed to Cover Up Whitewater

[ 23 ] November 23, 2015 |


Inside the Clinton faux-scandal factory:

On Wednesday evening, a link appeared in red on the Drudge Report: “NOT FUNNY: Hillary Goes After Comedians for Making Fun of Her …” It led to a story put out by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group that has played a key role in the perpetuation of the Benghazi investigation. The piece said that a staffer from Hillary Clinton’s campaign threatened Jamie Masada, founder of the Laugh Factory chain of comedy clubs, over a video compilation of Hillary jokes on the Laugh Factory website. “Besides demanding that the video be taken down, the Clinton campaign has demanded the personal contact information of the performers that appear in the recording,” Judicial Watch said. In short order, right-leaning sites including NewsBusters, NewsMax, Mediaite, the Daily Caller, and the Daily Mail aggregated the accusation.


So I called him. Masada told me that on Nov. 11, he got a call from a man named John—he doesn’t remember the last name—who sounded “distinguished, like an attorney.” John said he represented the Clinton campaign. He asked Masada “who had put him up” to posting the video. In a menacing voice, he told Masada, “This is not good for your business.” John then asked for the email or phone numbers of the five comedians who were featured in the video. “I told him, ‘Eff you,’ and I hung up,” says Masada.

How does Masada know that John was actually from the Clinton camp? He doesn’t. “I’m glad I’m not in politics or any of that stuff; you might know more than I do,” he says. “Maybe it was a prank, I have no idea. Was it real? Not real? I have no idea. He didn’t call back, that’s all I can say.” Nor is Masada sure how Judicial Watch even heard about the call. “The way I understand it, it’s because one of the [Laugh Factory] employees told a couple of people,” he says.


What we have here is a small-scale demonstration of how the Hillary smear sausage gets made. It starts with a claim that’s ambiguous at best, fabricated at worst, and then interpreted in the most invidious possible light. The claim is reported in one outlet and amplified on Twitter. Other outlets then report on the report, repeating the claim over and over again. Talk radio picks it up. Maybe Fox News follows. Eventually the story achieves a sort of ubiquity in the right-wing media ecosystem, which makes it seem like it’s been confirmed. Soon it becomes received truth among conservatives, and sometimes it even crosses into the mainstream media. If you watched the way the Clintons were covered in the 1990s, you know the basics of this process. If you didn’t, you’re going to spend the next year—and maybe the next nine years—learning all about it.

Of course, Doug Henwood finds this story fascinating and would like to subscribe to its newsletter. I wonder if it will be reported as fact in his forthcoming book or it will have to wait for the second edition.

Talking Jessica Jones with Graphic Policy Radio

[ 80 ] November 23, 2015 |

As part of my ongoing mission to talk about the politics of the Marvel Universe whenever possible, I did a guest appearance on Graphic Policy‘s podcast (a fine production which you should all be following) to talk about Netflix’s new Jessica Jones show. For those of you who haven’t binged on the entire thing, don’t worry, each episode only covers one episode – on this initial outing, we’re discussing the pilot, “AKA Ladies Night.”

America’s Got Fascists: This fall’s hit reality TV show (now also known as “reality”)

[ 86 ] November 23, 2015 |


Scott notes that yesterday Donald Trump appropriated a fake graphic created by a neo-Nazi, who had made up some wildly false crime statistics for the purpose of racist fear-mongering.

It was a busy weekend for Trump. On Saturday at a Birmingham, Alabama, rally some of his supporters beat up a black protester, and Trump suggested the victim was only getting what he deserved. He also had this to say:

“I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, N.J., where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering.”

Yesterday, he doubled down on this claim on ABC’s This Week:

There were people that were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time, George [Stephanopoulos]. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.

In response to this toxic nonsense, Stephanopoulous politely demurred, merely noting that “the police say it didn’t happen.” (The relevant exchange takes place between 6:45 and 7:32 here).

Notice that even the Snopes takedown linked above tries to rationalize Trump’s behavior somewhat, by noting that people often think they remember seeing things that didn’t actually happen. (That’s true, but presidential candidates should probably be held to a higher standard, especially if they’re using their demonstrably false “memories” — if this isn’t just a pure lie from Trump, which is more likely — to incite racial and religious hatred and violence).

The media are in a tough spot here, because both the informal propaganda apparatus and a good part of the base of one of the two major parties has decided that a racist demagogue who lies pathologically about everything ought to be president. This means coverage of this person has to be “balanced,” which in turn means you can’t just point out over and over again that Trump is a racist demagogue who lies pathologically about everything, because that wouldn’t sound very balanced now would it?

. . . see also Dylan Matthews.

Tens of Thousands of People Flood the Streets…

[ 116 ] November 23, 2015 |

Am I the only one who doesn’t think that this question is naive?

With due respect to the Salon staff, why is this question “bonkers?” Every system of social organization, from anarchist to tyrannical, involves measures both punitive and celebratory. The fascist and communist regimes of the twentieth century insisted upon creating space for joyous celebration, and to some extent they surely succeeded. I read Oates as asking the question of whether and how ISIS manages the same thing. The Western discussion of ISIS concentrates on the punitive and puritanical, with some time set aside for ISIS’ delivery of social services and basic governance, but it has very little to say about how ISIS constructs and maintains a positive, forward looking worldview that can animate followers and attract support.

I think Oates is interested in this subject, and it’s surely an important question to ask.  It’s not clear to me why folks can’t see past their own noses on this issue.

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