What began as an annual tradition several decades ago. Here it is again in response to many requests. You'll have to click on the link to get to it. Merry Christmas.
You won't want to miss it.
What began as an annual tradition several decades ago. Here it is again in response to many requests. You'll have to click on the link to get to it. Merry Christmas.
You won't want to miss it.
Conor Friedersdorf, writing in the Atlantic, marvels not that Obama's approval rating is "only" 42%; he says it should not be even that high [via Ralph]:
[H]ere's what I find alarming: Confronted with a president who 1) spied on every American; 2) covered up torture; 3) continued a War on Drugs ruinous to minorities and whole foreign nations; 4) killed hundreds of innocents in drone strikes; 5) waged war illegally and killed an American citizen without due process (while suppressing the legal reasoning used to do so); 6) let high-ranking national-security officials break the law with impunity; and 7) persecuted whistleblowers—confronted with all of those transgressions, more than four in 10 Americans still approve of the job Obama is doing. And most of them are loyal Democrats. Partisanship and tribalism are overriding the moral compass of too many liberals, who ought to be furious with Obama. National-security policies he unilaterally pursued will be harming the U.S., its moral standing, and its most vulnerable citizens for years if not decades to come, especially since Democrats are poised to make civil illibertarian Hillary Clinton their party's next leader.
And these points do not include his cozying up with Muslim fanatics, Benghazi, the devastation of health care for so many people now reduced to part-time jobs, and the cronyism with Goldman Sachs and others on Wall Street.
I do not understand why or how people who claim to love freedom end up supporting groups and gubmnts (like Hamas) that are so opposed to freedom. For all its faults, Israel is by far the greatest promoter of individual freedom in the Middle East; and yet many writers oppose Israel and support Hamas. As David Feith said in a WSJ piece,
Diplomats consistently ignore the violent and anti-Semitic statements that Palestinian leaders make to their own people in Arabic, as long as those leaders speak soothingly in English to foreign audiences. Veterans of the "peace process" seek to legitimize Hamas with invitations to the international bargaining table, despite the group's clearly stated mission of eliminating Israel and Jews.
Such Western enablers emphasize many of the genuine tragedies of Palestinian life, but they elide whatever facts contradict their pro-Palestinian articles of faith. They insist that Israel won't compromise and a powerful Israel lobby steers U.S. policy, overlooking that Palestinian leaders rejected Israeli offers of statehood in 2000 and 2008. Their idea of progressivism means admiring the Palestinian "resistance"—and remaining silent about the illiberal horrors facing Palestinian women, religious minorities, gays and political dissidents.
This approach isn't simply a whitewash. Rather it portrays Palestinian leaders in purposefully limited fashion, as victims and pawns forever being acted upon by Israel and other outsiders, and not as decision makers choosing how to act toward Israel and their own people. This denies Palestinians' agency, treating them as if they have no responsibility for tyrannizing other Palestinians or terrorizing Israelis. ...
The custom now is a pro-Palestinian neo-Orientalism that glosses over the real conditions of Palestinian life, focusing instead on condemning Israel. Yet the effect of this neo-Orientalism isn't pro-Palestinian. By ignoring the pathologies of Palestinian politics, it condemns Palestinians to live under leaders who would rather impoverish and endanger their own people than compromise with Israel. [emphasis added]
Whatever their intent, neo-Orientalists provide cover for a political structure in Palestine that they would never accept for themselves—which is a form of bigotry. Countless articles are written about intricate details of Israeli coalition politics, typically with hand-wringing conclusions about the election of this or that hard-liner. Seldom do you read about Palestinian politics, where hard-liners throw their rivals from rooftops or shoot them in the street. Perhaps journalists consider such savagery the unremarkable fate of Palestinians who aren't entitled to politics as Westerners are. Textbook Orientalism.
Neo-Orientalist thinking treats both Israelis and Palestinians unfairly. A better approach would expose and reject the terrorist thugs claiming the mantle of a nationalist movement that deserves accountability and sobriety from its leaders. Then popular discussion of the Middle East may regain some humane sense of right and wrong—and the Palestinians may finally achieve security, prosperity and statehood.
There appears to be some evidence that the use of marijuana for pain relief leads to less opioid addiction and fewer deaths resulting from opioid overdoses.
According to an abstract published online this past week by JAMA Internal Medicine, the use of medical marijuana in states that have legalized the drug for prescription purposes have led to significantly lower opioid-overdose mortality rates. ...
Their findings showed that states which had medical cannabis laws in place over this time period (13 states in total, 10 of which enacted medical marijuana laws between 1999 and 2010) had, "a 24.8% lower mean annual opioid overdose mortality rate compared with states without cannabis laws." In other words, when medical marijuana was an option for physicians to turn to, there were fewer opioid-abuse deaths.
As you can probably surmise by now, a nearly 25% reduction in opioid-induced mortality would likely translate into big savings for the healthcare system (although it's hard to know how much for sure, since the JAMA study didn't go into non-mortality specifics). ...
Perhaps the most attractive component of this past week's abstract was that the trend toward lowered opioid-induced mortality tended to increase as time went on.
In the first year following medical marijuana approval on a state level the rate of opioid-induced overdoses that led to death dropped by 19.9%. By the sixth year following the passage of medical marijuana laws, this reduction had increased to 33.3%. Secondary analyses of these findings confirmed the initial study.
Clearly I absolutely need a prescription for medical marijuana. But should I actually ever get a prescription, I will be looking more for good recipes for ingestion -- I'm not keen on smoking the stuff.
As I wrote before,
There are loads of healthy (and otherwise) recipes at The Stoner's Cookbook.
A drunken prowler ended up "breaking into" the home Liberal Party leader, Justing Trudeau and wasn't charged. See this, for example. I have a couple of questions.
From today's Daily Alert:
In Gaza, Cease-Fire Celebrated with Massive Gunfire - Mohammed Daraghmeh and Karin Laub
Israel and Hamas announced Tuesday that they agreed to an open-ended cease-fire in the Gaza war after seven weeks of fighting. In Gaza, massive celebratory gunfire erupted after 7 p.m. Chants normally reserved for Muslim holidays could be heard from mosque loudspeakers.
The details of the cease-fire would effectively mean Hamas and Islamic Jihad settled for terms that are similar to those that ended more than a week of fighting with Israel in 2012. Under those terms, Israel promised to ease restrictions gradually, while Hamas pledged to halt rocket fire from Gaza at Israel. Even though it apparently had little to show for it, Hamas declared victory. (AP-Washington Post)
See also Cease-Fire Extended, But Not on Hamas' Terms - Jodi Rudoren
Israeli and Palestinian leaders reached an open-ended cease-fire agreement on Tuesday. Hamas declared victory even though it had abandoned most of its demands, ultimately accepting an Egyptian-brokered deal that differs little from one proffered on the battle's seventh day.
"The human catastrophe is just very immense, it's getting worse and worse every day, and I think that's one of the reasons Hamas took into consideration in accepting the cease-fire," said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City. "The mood is very critical of Israel, but they are also asking questions of Hamas: Why did we have to go through all this? Why is there no cease-fire? Why did we provoke Israel into this war? More and more questions are in the minds of the Palestinians, especially in this last week." (New York Times)
See also Hamas Calls to Extend Its "Victory" to the West Bank and Jerusalem - Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon
Senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar appeared on the streets of Gaza on Tuesday for the first time since the beginning of the fighting to declare celebrations for the "victory" against Israel. He called for copying the Gaza experience in the West Bank and Jerusalem in order to prepare for the "project of liberation."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that the Palestinian achievement was in "paving the way for the next phase of liberating Jerusalem and ! the land of Palestine. Today, we are closer to Jerusalem."
Israel Channel 2 TV reported that the cease-fire deal was foisted upon Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who lives in Qatar, by Hamas' leadership living amid the ruins of Hamas' victory. (Jerusalem Post) [emphasis added].
Typical war-time propaganda, reminiscent of "newspeak" from George Orwell's 1984.
One can only hope that war-weariness will lead to compromises and peace. But with the extremists in Gaza and the West Bank on one hand and the extremist expansionists in Israel on the other hand, I'm skeptical that peace will be lasting there.
Judge Richard A Posner, who is also a prolific writer/economist/philosopher/lawyer/professor, defended libertarian views and freedom in a recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on gay marriage. From the NYTimes,
CHICAGO — Federal appeals judges bristled on Tuesday at arguments defending bans on same-sex marriage in Indiana and Wisconsin, with one Republican appointee comparing them to laws, now defunct, that once outlawed weddings between blacks and whites.
Often-blistering questions by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, for defenders of the bans on same-sex marriage could be a signal that the laws may be in trouble — at least at this step in the legal process.
Judge Richard A. Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, hit the backers of the ban the hardest. He balked when the Wisconsin assistant attorney general, Timothy C. Samuelson, repeatedly pointed to tradition as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage. Judge Posner said, “It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry — a tradition that got swept away.” Prohibition of same-sex marriage, he said, derives from “a tradition of hate” and “savage discrimination” of gays.
Regular readers of EclectEcon know how much I admire and respect the work of Richard Posner. I was disappointed that he argued for Keynesian-type macroeconomic fiscal stimulus during the 2007-9 financial crisis, but other than that his work has always been first-rate. And because of that I constantly remind people that he deserves a Nobel Prize in economics.
There are many FB memes talking about how wonderful mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and sisters are. Despite my apparent addiction to FB, I have yet to see any of these things talking about how wonderful dads, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers are. I always want to post comments, correcting or adding to them, but that would become both tiresome and tiring.
Am I missing the ones mentioning males? Or is there some other explanation?
A Facebook friend recently posted about his son's having received a letter from the US Selective Service System. His comment:
My son received his notification of ownership from the federal government today. This is as bogus as it is sexist.
No foolin'. It smacks of slavery and it is definitely sexist. I await continued anti-discrimination challenges.
I managed to avoid the draft when I was a young adult. I registered 8 days late, but that didn't seem to matter to my local draft board, and while I was an undergraduate, I had a 2-S (student deferment). Odd, that. It was called a deferment, colloquially, implying I'd owed some time to the US gubmnt at some later point in my life.
After my undergraduate studies, I attended The Chicago Theological Seminary from 1965 - 67. While I was there, I qualified for a 4-D [ministerial] classification which apparently emanated historically from the separation of church and state or something like that.
During my second year in seminary, I became a conscientious objector. I innundated my draft board with essays I had written, sermons and prayers I had written and delivered, etc. However, I had no desire to have a 1-O [conscientious objector] classification because I did not wish to be forced by my draft board to do alternative service.
When I left seminary to continue my economics studies in graduate school at Iowa State, I was able to use many of the courses I had taken in seminary as "electives" in grad school, thus re-qualifying me for a 2S classification while I earned my PhD. I managed to escape the infamous draft lottery.
In 1971 I left grad school to take a job at The University of Western Ontario. I notified my draft board of my change in status and argued that I should receive a 2-A classification because I would "be educating our allies" in Canada. The draft board disagreed and reclassified me as 1-O, a conscientious objector.
During my first year in Canada, I lost my wallet, along with my draft card. I wrote the draft board requesting a new card because I wanted to be sure I had one whenever I crossed the border.
They wrote back that they had destroyed my file.
That's right, they had destroyed my file. They had given up on their ownership claim to two years of my labour services.
A few years later, I learned that the high school I attended in Muskegon, Michigan, had had the highest high school dropout rate in the US. The draft board had lots of fodder to meet their quota, and they didn't need to worry about me.
I was lucky. I had friends who were drafted, some of whom died in Vietnam, and I had friends who moved to Canada. But I also had numerous friends who helped me work the system for all it was worth. I expect high school dropouts in general had less knowledge of how to maneuver through the system.
At the same time, Milton Friedman's arguments in favour of abolishing the draft were gaining considerable popularity, especially among young people (surprise, surprise!).
My Facebook friend's comments are spot on: Selective service is an ownership claim; when it was actually used for the draft, it was an ownership claim to two years of a young man's life. It is also a tax imposed on young people. And, as practiced in the US, it is blatantly sexist.
Kidnapping: Deterrence and ExpectationsRecently a former Canadian resident was kidnapped in Iraq, held for ransom, and murdered before the ransom could be paid.
Toronto — Iraqi gunmen have kidnapped and killed a Canadian citizen in Baghdad, a slaying that occurred despite the fact his family was preparing to pay $250,000 demanded for his release.I have made the following position very clear to my family. I hope these wishes are honoured:
Zaid Meerwali fled dictator Saddam Hussein's Iraq to live in Canada in the early 1990s. His family says he became a successful chartered accountant before returning to his homeland early this year to get married and start an import-export business.
Then, slightly more than two weeks ago, 10 gunmen disguised as police officers stormed into his compound, hitting his wife with a rifle butt and stealing cash and jewellery before throwing Mr. Meerwali into the back of one of three waiting pickup trucks, his brother, Munir, said yesterday.
If I am ever kidnapped, do everything possible to inflict costs (time costs and other costs) on the criminals. Do what you can to help apprehend and incarcerate and/or kill them. At the same time, it would be nice if you could free me, but that must not be the most important objective.
In the end, do not pay any ransom. If a delivery of cash is expected, delay it. If a delivery must be made, deliver a bomb instead. Whatever you do, don't pay a ransom.
I am older than middle-aged; I have had a good life. Pain does not scare me (though I do not wish to experience it). But I would rather the money stayed with my family than go to criminals. And I understand completely about familial love; they should pay nothing.
Will my having made this statement public have any deterrent effect on potential kidnappers?Or will they interpret it as a strategy from someone whose family would pay anything to get him back?
If the latter, they seriously misunderstand both my net worth and my family.
It isn't all just anti-Israel. It isn't all pro-Hamas. It isn't all Islamofascism. There has been a re-emergence of anti-Semitism in Europe [and elsewhere?] that is undeniable and undeniably wrong. From Slate,
A recent Anti-Defamation League survey found that 24 percent of the French population and 21 percent of the German population harbor some anti-Semitic attitudes. A recent study of anti-Semitic letters received by Germany’s main Jewish organization found that 60 percent of the hate mail came from well-educated Germans. So this isn’t just a problem with young, disaffected Muslim men.
After all, the two worst recent incidents of violence against Jews in Europe—the killing of three children and a teacher in a 2012 attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse and the shooting of three people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in May—took place during times when there wasn’t much news coming out of Israel. Continentwide statistics on anti-Semitic incidents leading up to the most recent uptick don’t show much of an overall trend—in Britain, anti-Semitic violence is becoming less common while online abuse is becoming more frequent—or a correlation with events in Israel and Palestine. ...
Europe’s anti-Semitism problem may be more open and obvious when Middle Easter violence in the news, then, but it’s not simply a reaction to whatever’s going on in Israel. Rather, it’s always just below the surface, threatening to bubble over.
To deal with a perceived population problem 35 years ago, China institued a one-child policy: parents were allowed to have only one child. Because there seems to have been an inexplicable preference for having sons, people took various measures to make sure their one child was male. The ratio of males to females jumped from about 1.05 before the policy was implemented to about 1.20.
According to some female students from Fudan University whom I taught a few years ago at the Bader International Studies Centre, a woman who was born an only child under the one-child policy would then be allowed to have two children.
But the sex imbalance has led to numerous problems, not least of which is a shortage of eligible women to become wives of all the young men. This ramification of the policy has led to some serious problems for young women in SE Asia.
China suffers from one of the worst gender imbalances in the world as families prefer male children.
As a result millions of men now cannot find Chinese brides -- a key driver of trafficking, according to rights groups.
And here is the problem:
Vulnerable women in countries close to China -- not only Vietnam but also North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar -- are being forced into marriages in the land of the one-child policy, experts say.
Here is just one example:
When Kiab turned 16, her brother promised to take her to a party in a tourist town in northern Vietnam. Instead, he sold her to a Chinese family as a bride....
The Lao Cai shelter currently houses a dozen girls from various ethnic minority groups. All say they were tricked by relatives, friends or boyfriends and sold to Chinese men as brides.
"I had heard a lot about trafficking. But I couldn't imagine it would happen to me," Kiab said.
As trafficking is run by illegal gangs and the communities involved are poor and remote, official data is patchy and likely underestimates the scale of the problem, experts say.
But rights workers across Southeast Asia say they are witnessing "systematic" trafficking of women into China for forced marriages.
I suggested to the young women from Fudan that the ratio must have made their options considerably better in seeking a life partner. They didn't seem to think so, but my own sense was that as a father during that regime, I might have preferred having a daughter to having a son. Surely the young women fare much better on average in the marriage market with such a sex imbalance among newborns.
Addendum: from Michael Connelly's Nine Dragons:
Bosch did not know the specifics of China’s one-child policies but he was aware of them. It was a population containment plan that resulted in a higher value being placed on male births. Newborn females were often abandoned in orphanages or worse. Rather than giving up Mia, the Li family had left the country for the US.
People respond to incentives.
I find #5 particularly worth considering:
5. Israel’s political leadership has done little in recent years to make their cause seem appealing. It is impossible to convince a Judeophobe that Israel can do anything good or useful, short of collective suicide. But there are millions of people of good will across the world who look at the decision-making of Israel’s government and ask themselves if this is a country doing all it can do to bring about peace and tranquility in its region. Hamas is a theocratic fascist cult committed to the obliteration of Israel. But it doesn’t represent all Palestinians. Polls suggest that it may very well not represent all of the Palestinians in Gaza. There is a spectrum of Palestinian opinion, just as there is a spectrum of Jewish opinion.
I don’t know if the majority of Palestinians would ultimately agree to a two-state solution. But I do know that Israel, while combating the extremists, could do a great deal more to buttress the moderates. This would mean, in practical terms, working as hard as possible to build wealth and hope on the West Bank. A moderate-minded Palestinian who watches Israel expand its settlements on lands that most of the world believes should fall within the borders of a future Palestinian state might legitimately come to doubt Israel’s intentions. Reversing the settlement project, and moving the West Bank toward eventual independence, would not only give Palestinians hope, but it would convince Israel’s sometimes-ambivalent friends that it truly seeks peace, and that it treats extremists differently than it treats moderates. And yes, I know that in the chaos of the Middle East, which is currently a vast swamp of extremism, the thought of a West Bank susceptible to the predations of Islamist extremists is a frightening one. But independence—in particular security independence—can be negotiated in stages. The Palestinians must go free, because there is no other way.
I'm not much of a poet and not much of a wordsmith, either. 5-year-olds demolish me in Scrabble. So I was pleased to be able to dash off a haiku yesterday.
My FB friend, Marla, wrote:
Dear Invasive Weeds,
Die. Burn in Hell. Die again.
I hate you. Yes, you.
I wrote in response:
Use more chemicals.
They are healthier.
I'm pleased with my first effort, but I don't think I'll be giving up my day job to become a poet. .... oh wait, I don't have a day job.
I just finished reading this piece by Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek. It is a lengthy piece that takes on Piketty, the economist who argues for more gubmnt action to reduce inequality. What struck me most was this very insightful comment:
Piketty has a peculiarly strange “then a miracle occurs” step in his analysis. He argues that one justification for powerful efforts to redistribute incomes and wealth more equally is that the rich are disproportionately likely to abuse power for their own greedy and socially destructive ends. So what to do? Answer: increase government’s power! Qu’est-ce que c’est?! [EE: this is French for WTF?] (Piketty is like too many economists: ignorant of public-choice.)
This attitude that Boudreaux identifies is far too common among the redistributionists. Essentially it says, "The gubmnt has created policies that favour cronies and promote inequality. But I know what to do about it. Put me (and/or my friends) in charge and we'll do it right." And all the while this argument does nothing to include the real world of voter influences and public-choice economics: the sad, simple fact is that the more power gubmnt and politicians have over resources, the greater the incentive for individuals to try to influence gubmnt policy, politicians, and the behaviour of bureaucrats.
This is yet another example of Kip's Law:
“Every advocate of central planning always — always — envisions himself as the central planner.”
Several years ago, Salim Mansur published a book that challenges the holus bolus endorsement of multiculturalism. In fact, it refers to multiculturalism as The Delectable Lie.
The book, The Delectable Lie, was quite well-received by many people who knew about it. Current reviews on Amazon.com give it about 4 1/2 stars, pretty much in line with my own impression of the book.
For some reason, the major media didn't pay much attention the carefully reasoned volume. I suspect that most members of the major media didn't like his message, if they bothered to find out what it was.
Despite this notable lack of attention from the media, The Delectable Lie has been awarded the Eric Hoffer award. From the award's website,
Each year, the Eric Hoffer Award for books presents the Montaigne Medal to the most thought-provoking book(s). These are books that either illuminate, progress, or redirect thought. The Montaigne Medal is given in honor of the great French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, who influenced people such as William Shakespeare, René Descartes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Eric Hoffer. This is an additional distinction beneath the Eric Hoffer Award umbrella.
Isn't it interesting that the panel of judges who made this decision to award the book are Americans, and that an American award was given to a book whose subject is of particular and immediate concern for Canadians.
It would be fitting if the Canadian media recognized this award. It would also be fitting if Salim Mansur were recognized for this accomplishment by The University of Western Ontario, where he teaches political science.
Salim is a classical, 19th-century-type liberal or what might these days be called a quasi-libertarian. Appropriately, he has agreed to run for a seat in the next provincial election for the Freedom Party of Ontario.
I think I understand and follow the argument here. At the same time it repulses me. The essence of the argument is, "It's okay to lie about global warming so we jolt people into taking action."
According to a pair of economists who have recently published a peer-reviewed paper in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, lying about climate change in order to advance an extremist environmental agenda is a great idea.
The abstract of their paper notes:
It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency by using a modified International Environmental Agreement (IEA) model with asymmetric information. We find that the information manipulation has an instrumental value, as it ex post induces more countries to participate in an IEA, which will eventually enhance global welfare. From the ex ante perspective, however, the impact that manipulating information has on the level of participation in an IEA and on welfare is ambiguous.
In other words, "Trust us. We know what's best for you."
The Elder of Ziyon makes some telling points about the recent attack on people (not all Jews, it turned out) at Jewish centres in Overland, Kansas.
In general, the US is a great place for Jews to live. Jews have little to fear in most of their communities. It is not at all like many places in Europe or in the Arab world.
But antisemitism exists, both from the right and the left, and it regularly manifests itself with extreme violence.
Yet when was the last time antisemitism merited a front page story in a major newspaper or magazine?
Time Magazine in 2010 had a cover story on Islamophobia. As I noted then, the number of antisemitic incidents in the US in 2010 dwarfed the number of anti-Muslim incidents.
Unless I am mistaken, there has not been a single Muslim fatality due to an anti-Muslim hate crime in the US since 9/11. (One Sikh was killed in an anti-Muslim attack and two other Sikhs were killed since 9/11 under unclear circumstances, plus a horrific murder of six Sikhs who were killed by a white supremacist.) .)
There is real hate out there in the US, and real people willing to kill people in service of that hate. And the objects of that deadly hate are not Muslims.
Outside of occasional stories like these, you wouldn't know that.
Mark Steyn pulls no punches in a piece, "The Wretched Jelly-Spined Nothing Eunuchs of Brandeis". An excerpt from a conversation with Jamie Weinstein:
JAMIE WEINSTEIN: And people when they get honorary degrees, it's not like they only go to non-political people. Universities have awarded them in the recent past to people that want Israel to be wiped off the map and destroyed. Is that not right?
MS: Yeah, that's true. And that was Brandeis, a guy called Tony Kushner... I stand back and occasionally roll my eyes at the dreary left-wing hacks invited to give commencement speeches, garlanded with state honors, things that if you trend to the right side of the spectrum, you know you're going to be labeled 'controversial conservative', and you'll never get anywhere near. But this woman is a black, feminist atheist from Somalia. And so what we're learning here, which is fascinating, in the hierarchy of progressive-politics identity-group victimhood, Islam trumps everything. Islam trumps gender. The fact that she's a woman doesn't matter. It trumps race. The fact that she's black doesn't matter. It trumps secularism. The fact that she's an atheist doesn't matter. They wouldn't do this if it was a Christian group complaining about her, if it was a Jewish group complaining about her. But when the Islamic lobby group says oh, no, we're not putting up with this, as I said, these jelly-spined nothings at Brandeis just roll over for them.
I have sat through many, many convocation/graduation ceremonies. Steyn is right. Pronouncements from left wing, caring, elitist interventionists proclaiming moral superiority are common; among the most egregious at UWO was Maude Barlow. Only rarely are outspoken pundits from the right (e.g. Mark Steyn? or EclectEcon?) invited to such events.
From Wikipaedia, about Bo Burnham (about whom my granddaughter insisted I should learn):
Burnham's first experience with controversy regarding his music came on March 3, 2009, when fifteen Westminster College students (members of the campus' Gay-Straight Alliance, Black Students Association, International Club, and Cultural Diversity Organization) protested his concert there that evening. Of the controversy, he said, "It's so ironic because gay bashers were the ones labeling me in high school, [...] I try and write satire that's well-intentioned. But those intentions have to be hidden. It can't be completely clear and that's what makes it comedy." Despite the college's admission that they had booked Burnham while ignorant of his show's material, dean of students John Comerford praised the opportunities for discourse the controversy brought the school. [emphasis added]
Similar situation. In both instances, the admins claimed they were unaware of something others deemed worthy of protest.
In the Ayaan Hirsi Ali case, Brandeis University caved to the protesters. Here, the dean welcomed the opportunity to open up dialogue.
Addendum: Also see this, calling the Brandeis decision, "Rank Appeasement."
At Brandeis, of course, it’s fine to criticize Christianity and Judaism, and to savage America and Israel. Witness its presentation, in 2006, of an honorary degree to playwright Tony Kushner, who has repeatedly expressed contempt for the Jewish state. (Critics of Kushner’s award were brusquely informed that “the university does not select honorary degree recipients on the basis of their political beliefs or opinions.”) That’s not all: Brandeis, as it happens, hosts one of the most active chapters of the poisonously anti-Israeli group Students for Justice in Palestine, which, under the tolerant eye of the university administration, invites terrorist sympathizers to speak at the school and disrupts campus talks by members of the Knesset. Until recently, moreover, Brandeis even had a cozy “academic partnership” with Al Quds University, a hive of fanatical Jew-hatred. But criticism of Islam—even by someone with firsthand experience of its systematic and brutal oppression of women—is off-limits.
With the rise to power of Pauline Marois as the leader of the Parti Quebecois, there has been renewed discussion about Quebec separation from Canada. If you want to see a quickie summary of what it is all about, go to [where else??] Wikipaedia. Here is the intro section from there:
The Quebec sovereignty movement (French: Mouvement souverainiste du Québec) is a political movement as well as an ideology of values, concepts and ideas that advocates for increased sovereignty for the Canadian province of Québec.
Several diverse political groups coalesced in the late 1960s in the formation of the Parti Québécois, a provincial political party. Since 1968 the party has appealed for constitutional negotiations on the matter of provincial sovereignty, in addition to holding two provincial referendums on the matter. The first, which occurred in 1980, asked whether Quebecers wished to open constitutional negotiations with the federal government (and other provinces) for the intended purpose of establishing a 'sovereignty-association' pact between the province of Québec and the rest of Canada. Approximately 60% of Québec's voting public rejected the idea put forth by Parti Québécois leader René Lévesque. The matter was dropped by the party for most of the 1980s, especially after the patriationof the Canadian Constitution without the consent of the Parti Québécois government, and the creation of the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms which enshrined the protection of the French language and French-Canadian culture in Canada. In 1995, after two failed attempts by the Mulroney administration to secure Québec's ratification of the Constitution, the Parti Québécois held a second referendum, though on this occasion the question was, albeit obliquely asked, whether one wished for the independence of the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada. On this more precise question, the response was again in the negative, though this time by a far closer margin, with only 51% against the proposal.
Though the Parti Québécois has long spearheaded the sovereignty movement, they are not alone. Other minority provincial political parties, such as Option nationale and Québec Solidaire, also support sovereignty, but are not always supportive of the Parti Québécois. The Quebec Liberal Party, Québec's other primary political party, is opposed to increasing political sovereignty for the province, but has also been historically at odds, on occasion, with various Canadian federal governments. Thus, Québec politics is effectively divided into two camps, principally opposed over the sovereignty issue. Quebec sovereignty is politically opposed to the competing ideology of Canadian federalism.
Most groups within this movement seek to gain independence through peaceful means, using negotiation-based diplomatic intervention, although fringe groups have advocated and used violent means. The overwhelming number of casualties were murdered at the hands of the FLQ, a terrorist organization which perpetrated a bombing and armed robbery campaign from 1963 to 1970, culminating in the October Crisis and the death of senior government minister Pierre Laporte. Since this time all mainstream sovereignist groups have sworn off violence, while extremist nationalist groups, though in the minority, support violent actions in the name of liberating Québec from Canadian oppression.
The primary mainstream political vehicle for the movement is the Parti Québécois, which has governed Quebec on multiple occasions. In 2012 it was elected to a minority government, in which its leader, Pauline Marois, became the first female Premier of Quebec.
There are so many determinants of employment, unemployment, and labour force participation, that we should be wary of ANY promises made by politicians about jobs, credit for job growth, or blame for job losses.
Mike Moffat has it right here, where he takes on the London Mayor, who made outlandish promises about job growth for the London economy. Mike said similar things about job promises put forward by Tim "Who Dat?" [Mike's euphemism] yesterday.
[T]here is only so much municipal politicians can do to create employment. We give these guys far too much credit when things are going well and far too much blame when they are not. The data tells [sic] a compelling story that the London economy is heavily struggling. It is unfortunate the Mayor has to wear that, given that it almost certainly has nothing to do with him. That being said, no one forced him to make a 10,000 jobs pledge - that was a decision he made on his own.
[Note: Mike was a student in my honours intermediate microtheory course some years ago.]
Take the “quenelle”, a gesture widely considered to be an inversion of the salute with which Germans once expressed devotion to their Führer, made popular today in France by the comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala and copied by many of his supporters including the West Bromwich Albion footballer Nicolas Anelka. ... – Anelka recently made a show of giving this salute while playing against West Ham, but was quick to deny that anti-Semitism had anything to do with it. He did it for Dieudonné, he said.
Why it was necessary to show solidarity with a French comedian at Upton Park, Anelka has yet to explain. Respect? The admiration that a person who uses his body feels for a person who uses his mind? I won many a game of ping-pong while reading English at Cambridge, but I have to tell you I never once felt the urge to touch my right shoulder with my left hand as a mark of my admiration for F R Leavis.
But more to the point,
As for the quenelle itself, both M’bala M’bala and Anelka have some explaining to do. If it isn’t anti-Semitic, then how come its adherents perform it grinning outside Jewish shops and museums, in front of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials, outside Jewish schools including the Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse where, in 2012, a gunman shot dead three Jewish children and a teacher, in front of posters of Anne Frank and, should there still be ambiguity, on the railway track leading into Auschwitz? Auschwitz, Mr Anelka. That’s not a football team.
Of those who allow themselves to be photographed being Nazis without uniforms, or are only too happy to post photographs they took themselves, some will doubtless be more foolish than malignant. I don’t mean foolish in the sense of having no idea what they’re doing – that excuse won’t wash for any of them: this isn’t just an expression of Jew-hating, it’s a celebration of Jew-hating’s history – but foolish in that they think expressing Nazi sympathies on a selfie isn’t all that big a deal.
We have acquired two different weather stations in the past few years, the type that transmit information from an outside sensor to an inside display. One, which is LCD and does not show humidity, tells us the outside temperature on one of our balconies is -23C
The second one, however, tells us that the outside temperature on the second balcony is LL.L
I am confident the LL.L means this device has reached its lower limit for temperatures.
Update: Before MA posted his comment and link, I had taken this photo of the specifications of our weather station but had not had time to post the photo:
Indeed the lower limit of the temperature range for the outdoor sensor is -20C. That day, London Ontario set a record low of -26C.
Climate scientists attribute the warm/hot weather in Australia to global warming, according to our local newscaster, who said that with a straight face even though much of North America is experiencing record low temperatures. For us, in London Ontario, the previous record low for this date had been -20C, and today we reached -22C.
I gather the forecast for much of the US upper midwest for the next few days is for really cold weather [via DF]:
In Minneapolis, the National Weather Service is forecasting wind chills Monday morning from 45 to 60 below zero. It calls the incoming cold air outbreak “historic”, predicting it will be the most severe since 1996. “Highs of 10 to 20 below and lows of 15 to 30 below are expected...
For everyone who is not multi-temperate [?], -40C = -40F
And a gentle reminder that C = Canadian, F = Foreign.
There is a chance of seeing some meteors in a shower either early tomorrow morning or in the evening (peak activity is forecast to be about 2:30 pm EST).
The Quadrantids—named after the constellation Quadrans Muralis, which no longer exists (think of it as having been either rezoned into new constellations, or gerrymandered)—peak pretty rapidly, going from essentially nothing to the maximum number per hour in about 12 hours! Most other showers, like the more-famous Perseids, peak more slowly, taking days to build up.
What this means is that it’s best to get out and look when the shower is at its max. In this case, that’s predicted to be at 19:30 UTC on Jan. 3, or 14:30 EST. That’s in the afternoon for the U.S., so it looks unlikely we Americans will get a good view (east Asia has the best view, given the timing). However, I suggest taking a look anyway! You never know, and predictions for showers have been known to be off in the past. Pre-dawn and post-sunset on the 3rd is probably your best shot
We have enough light pollution here in the city that we don't see a whole lot of stars. And even if we were able to see a few meteors, I don't really feel like standing around out in the cold, looking for them.
I'll give 'em a miss.