Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Pink Floyd New Year's Eve

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Broken Window Policing

What is the point of all the protests?  What's the concrete goal?  Whatever the concrete goal is supposed to be--if there are any--has not been made clear by all the vocal activists.  If there is a concrete goal, they have been absolutely abysmal in making the goal known to the general public.  Is the goal like owning a Prius--to develop some good lefty-street cred?

Is the goal to reduce police shootings such as in the Eric Garner case or to reduce violent crime more generally?  But Eric Garner cases are rare and crime has been falling.  Focusing in on one or two emotional cases is like arguing for or against global warming because today it's warm or cold.

Here would be a concrete goal: protest until the government gets rid of certain Jim Crow laws.  That was a concrete goal which was achieved.  But vague platitudes such as "raise awareness about racial structures" or "remove institutionalized racism" are utterly worthless, except insofar as saying such things might be self-serving to those who make a living race-baiting or who try to solidify their place in the media, university, left-wing establishment.

This is an intelligent piece on Broken Window Policing which some liberals I've heard ignorantly refer to as "racial profiling."  Read the whole thing.  Here are a couple short excerpts:

The numbers also dispute the commonplace assertion that Broken Windows arrests lead to abusive use of police force, heightening the risk that minor offenders (like Eric Garner) might be killed. Force is rarely used during New York City arrests. In the 141,836 misdemeanor arrests made in the first half of 2014, police used force 2,481 times, or 1.7 percent of the total. In misdemeanor arrests for violations of minor local laws, force was used just 21 times, or 0.6 percent of the total. In the 321 misdemeanor arrests for untaxed cigarettes in the first half of 2014, force was used zero times. Force was also reported in only 0.3 percent of narcotics and marijuana arrests. These figures highlight how anomalous the use of force was in the Garner case.

NPR on the Houston Unarmed Case

Go to NPR and search for "Michael Brown."  You'll find 1120 results.  Type "Darren Wilson" and you get 294 results.  Now type "Juventino Castro" (or just Juventino).

Zero results.

I wonder why?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Houston Racial Profiling?

The protests continue to swell and the media doggedly persists in bringing the story to light about an unarmed black man (Jordan Baker) killed in Houston recently by officer, Juventino Castro.

Since Castro is apparently not black but of Hispanic descent, a question has been raised about whether he violated the Houston policy against racial profiling--this is why the story has been receiving so much media scrutiny.
Activist Deric Muhammad said the decision confirmed Houston as "Ferguson, Texas."
"Jordan Baker was bothering nobody. He didn't have a weapon on him," Muhammad said. "He was racially profiled."
So are the activists right?  Or have parts of their brains been addled by political correctness such that they are no longer able to think straight on such matters?  What do we know and what does Houston consider racial profiling to be? What is racial profiling?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Did I Just Racially Profile Someone?

I just went out of my way to walk around (rather than through or by) three teens aimlessly lingering on the sidewalk, one with hat backwards nervously opening and closing a knife with a four inch blade.  Was it at all probable that walking through the teens would have resulted in anything untoward?  Nope.  Nonetheless, why take unnecessary risks?  The one with the knife was about 5'10, 200 lbs (about my size), white, no facial hair (unfortunately for him), somewhere between 16 years old and 21--kinda hard to tell--and not particularly handsome.  That is about the best I can do for a profile.

So I have profiled a teen.  In addition, I have included his being white in the profile.  Have I then racially profiled him?  Am I a racial profiler?  Am I now going to hell?  If I were a black woman and walked around the teens, in part because they were white, would I have been guilty of racial profiling?  I don't know, because it's not always clear what "racial profiling" is supposed to mean or what the argument is for why it is such a terrible thing as this post aptly makes clear.   In one of my next posts I will take a stab at trying to understand "racial profiling" (pun intended, yuk-yuk-yuk).

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why Understanding Marxism-Leninism Is Important

Michael Valle, philosopher and Harley-Davidson mechanic, explains Marxism-Leninism here.
I am convinced that Marxism-Leninism is alive and well in spite of the death of the Soviet Union.  It has assumed new forms, discarded some ideas, taken some new ones on, but its spirit is healthy.  Its spirit is essentially a collectivist one that does the following:  It affirms that Man is infinitely malleable rather than limited by his nature, it denigrates individualism for the sake of collectivism, it de-emphasizes personal responsibility by making our behavior depend on things outside of our control, it relatives truth and morality by making them functions of group membership, it corrodes liberty for the sake of equality of results, it advocates the silencing of political opponents, and it is virulently anti-American (and anti-Israel, for that matter).
Read the whole thing:

Friday, December 26, 2014

Does Religion Have a Smart-People Problem? A Response to

John Messerly at Salon thinks that religion has a smart-people problem.  I'd contest that, if there is a smart-people problem, it lies with today's group-thinking-elitist progressives; but that's for another time.

Messerly begins by noting that only 14 percent of philosophers are theists and a large majority are atheists (based on the Chalmers' study which everyone in the philosophical community is aware of. One thing Messerly doesn't note is that most people who actually study the arguments for/against theism/religion are theists--that is, most philosophers of religion--incline towards theism.  Does this prove anything of note?  Not that I can see).

I suspect the actual numbers of theistic philosophers are a bit higher, but there's no doubt that theists are in the minority...that is, today.  Of course the past was chock full of theistic/religious philosophers as well as scientists.  And what will the future hold?  Messerly promises us that in the future virtually no educated person will believe in the supernatural.  Moreover, science will even conquer death (!) which will be "the coup d'etat over religion." No doubt Messerly believes all of this on the basis of reason, not faith.  Or so one might be lead to believe.

Here are some excerpts with commentary:

Eye for an Eye: Whole World Blind?

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.  But pacifism makes the whole world full of bad guys and corpses of good guys.  Better blind than dead.

Of course there's a via media which I've alluded to before.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Myths About December 25ths

Liberal Activists Say Houston Cop Not White Enough to Warrant Violent Protests

Read about it here

Movie Review: The Guest

Last night, as is our annual custom, I watched "A Christmas Carol" with the girls (it's too scary for the boys).  Then I decided to watch "The Guest" on a recommendation from a friend (who shall remain nameless).

Can I recommend it?  No.  How did this get a 96% rating on rottentomatoes??? Now, don't get me wrong--for 3/4 of the movie I enjoyed it. I'm not recommending that the movie not be watched.  I really liked the throwback 80's John Carpenteresque soundtrack.  (There needs to be a name for one of the eerie musical sound effects that had to have been ripped off from the 80's.  Maybe there is a name for it).

I liked the main character well enough.  However...

MAJOR Spoilers:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Big Lie of the Anti-Cop Left Turns Lethal

Heather MacDonald, as usual, has intelligent things to say.


The New York Times ratcheted up its already stratospheric level of anti-cop polemics. In an editorial justifying the Ferguson riots, the Times claimed that “the killing of young black men by police is a common feature of African-American life and a source of dread for black parents from coast to coast.” Some facts: Police killings of blacks are an extremely rare feature of black life and are a minute fraction of black homicide deaths. The police could end all killings of civilians tomorrow and it would have no effect on the black homicide risk, which comes overwhelmingly from other blacks. In 2013, there were 6,261 black homicide victims in the U.S.—almost all killed by black civilians—resulting in a death risk in inner cities that is ten times higher for blacks than for whites. None of those killings triggered mass protests; they are deemed normal and beneath notice. The police, by contrast, according to published reports, kill roughly 200 blacks a year, most of them armed and dangerous, out of about 40 million police-civilian contacts a year. Blacks are in fact killed by police at a lower rate than their threat to officers would predict. In 2013, blacks made up 42 percent of all cop killers whose race was known, even though blacks are only 13 percent of the nation’s population. The percentage of black suspects killed by the police nationally is 29 percent lower than the percentage of blacks mortally threatening them.
There is huge unacknowledged support for the police in the inner city: “They’re due respect because they put their lives every day on the line to protect and serve. I hope they don’t back off from policing,” a woman told me on Thursday night, two nights before the assassination, on the street in Staten Island where Eric Garner was killed.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"To Be Governed" or "What the Left Won't Tell You"

"To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so.  To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished.  It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed;  then at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed, and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored.  That is government;  that is its justice;  that is its morality."

P.J Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, translated by John Beverly Robinson (London: Freedom Press, 1923), pp. 293-294."

Oh, Proudhon forgot to mention that to be governed is also to get to do what you want with other people's money if you win a majority.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I Do Not Exist

Inspired by an argument by Peter Unger:

Suppose that I exist. Then,
1. If I exist, then I am an animal.
2. If I am an animal, I am composed of a finite number of cells.
3. So if I exist, then I am composed of a finite number of cells.
4. For any cell of mine one might remove (which is not replaced by another cell), I will not cease to be me (that is, my identity is not so tenuous as to rely on being composed by any particular cell).
5. But then if 4 is true, then if you remove each cell, then I would not cease to be me.
6. If 5, then I would not cease to be. 
7. Thus, if all of my cells were removed, I would not cease to be.
8. HOWEVER, if one removed every cell composing me, then the animal which I am (according to 1) will cease to be (at some point in the cell removal process the animal will die).
9. But then we have a contradiction: If one were to remove all of my cells I would not cease to be (from 7) and I would cease to be (from 8, 1).
10. Thus what was supposed is false.
11. Thus, I do not exist.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Purgatory and 1 John 2:28-3:10

I still haven't gotten around to writing much about purgatory as I said I was hoping to do last summer.  I'll get around to it eventually.  At any rate, I was reading 1 John the other day and it occurred to me that it perhaps makes better sense if there is a purgatory--in fact, I'm with C.S. Lewis: we'd better hope there is one (unless of course Calvinism is true and God will unilaterally zap us holy in an instant...but then one wonders why he hasn't done that already and a long, long time ago).    

1 John 2-3
28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.
29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

Now Playing

"Thunderstruck" like you've never heard it before:

A Book I Just Finished

I generally like Peter Kreeft. I think very well of him.  This book was...meh.  If I would've read it 20 years ago I think I would have been a lot more enthused.  It's a work of Christian apologetics and it's not bad in that regard.  It's probably geared towards an undergraduate or lay audience, so there wasn't much there for me to chew on.  In fact, I skimmed through parts as soon as I saw where it was heading.  I should add, also, that the title is misleading: It should have been called "Socrates meets liberal Christians who think they know more than they really do and he shows them why they are stupid."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cardinal Sean O'Malley on Women's Ordination

Here.  He makes a good point about how it would save money.


Cardinal Sean O’Malley told reporters earlier today that his recent interview with 60 Minutes was difficult because he did not have time to fully delve into how insane his opinion was on the matter of women’s ordination.
“I hope that one take-away from my 60 Minutes interview will be that cardinals, bishops and priests are human, and that we love the Church, and that we say really stupid things sometimes,” said the cardinal. “If you watch the interview, for example, what I’m pretty much saying is that if I were founding a church, that I’d love to have women priests, but that, unfortunately, Jesus Christ beat me to it, and now we have to deal with the consequences of something different. It’s difficult to explain your opinion in just a 20-minute spot. You could only imagine the crap I’d say if I had the full 60 minutes. I would’ve said that if I were founding the world, I’d love to give men the ability to get pregnant.”
The cardinal went on to say that by ordaining women, not only would it be spiritually beneficial to the Church, but financially as well, going on to cite numerous statistics proving that, on average, women make less than men.
“It’s just a fact, so don’t get all angry. I’m just saying that the Church could use some extra funds right now and if you can get people to minister for ten or twenty percent less…I mean, why not? Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to really go into detail.”

Baptists Might Be Alright

From the book I mentioned in the previous post, I was amused by the following:

Busy as were Shukhov's hands, the frost nipped his fingers through the shabby mittens.  And it was piercing his left boot too.  His stamped his foot.  Thud, thud.  By now he needn't stoop to the wall, but he still had to bend his aching back for each block and each stoop of mortar.  "Hey, boys!" he pestered the men handling the blocks. "You'd better put them on the wall for me.  Heave 'em up here."  The captain would gladly have obliged but lacked the strength.  He wasn't used to the work.  But Alyosha [the Baptist] said, "All right, Ivan Denisovich.  Show me where to put them." You could count on Alyosha.  Did whatever was asked of him.  If everybody in the world was like that, Shukhov would have done likewise.  If a man asks for help, why not help him?  Those Baptists had something there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Book I Just Finished

It's about a single day in the life of a gulag prisoner in the Soviet era--just like the title suggests. Simple and short.  I enjoyed it.  What makes it powerful is Solzhenitsyn's way of making the utterly ordinary into the sublime and almost supernatural.  I have never before experienced the emotions associated with realizing the worth of a tiny crust of bread.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Now Playing

A Traditional Calvinist Christmas

An old crony of mine made this a few years ago and I just found out about it.  Kinda funny.  And to the elect, have a Merry Christmas indeed!

WARNING: Don't watch if you don't wanna think a little.

Cosby is Guilty

Does anyone disagree?  Is there any reasonable doubt that he didn't?  What else better explains so many women of different backgrounds coming out with similar stories?  Surely they aren't all lying because of some of Cosby's political views, (otherwise, why don't we see this same sort of thing happening to the likes of Rush Limbaugh?).  Surely they aren't all lying for the money.  Surely they aren't all lying just because they don't like him because he once disrespected them in some way.  Maybe the explanation is a combination of some of all of the above plus other explanations not listed.  That's possible.  But it seems more likely to me that the simpler explanation is right: they are basically telling the truth; he drugged women and then had sexual relations with some of them.  There are too many specific details to the stories.  And if he didn't do what they alleged, why wouldn't he just flat-out deny the claims, at least those which aren't involved in past lawsuits?  He could say: "With respect to past litigants, I cannot comment.  But I will comment on all the other ludicrous accusations: they are all utterly false.  Libel recourse from my lawyers will swiftly follow."

That's too bad.  It's obviously horrible for the women involved.  That goes without saying.  But I liked the guy I knew as a comedian, a lot (and so did my family including my kids).  It's hard to imagine.  Well, it's sort of not--not if one believes in depravity and has read Plato's Ring of Gyges.

Of course everyone can be forgiven, but first comes confession, apology, and (where need be) penance.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Now Playing

Tried but I just can't
Keep up with the Media Slant.
I watch the spastic dance
They're doin' the Media Slant.
They must be members of some dark fraternal club.
They hold their meetings while I'm soaking in the tub.
Rousseau and Stalin must be cheering in their graves.
I hear their rhetoric in everything they say.
"Hussein" by the Blue Scholars:
This ain't the hope or the change you imagined

Friday, December 12, 2014

Race Relations Under Obama

Before Obama was elected, I predicted that if he were elected, in spite of his rhetoric, race-relations would turn out to be worse or at least appear to be so.   Turns out I was right.

Why did I make that prediction?  Because now that America has chosen to elect a black president (how racist can America be electing for itself a black president??), leftists who makes a living on race baiting and infusing racism into EVERYTHING, will have to go to new and extraordinary lengths to "find" racism and racial problems in America.  They will have to double down on their hunt to "find" racism where no one thought to look before.  They will have to dig deeper.

So it's no surprise at all that people think that racial problems are worse, when it turns out there is racism even where there isn't.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Never Support a Law You're Not Willing to Kill For to Enforce

That's a bit hyperbolic but not by much. Nonetheless it's a helpful maxim.

Do you want to tax truck drivers for a fund to pay for any windshields they break from rocks they kick up?  Would you rather have a tax for this than have insurance or law suits?

OK.  And if a truck driver doesn't pay, shall we take him to jail?  And if he resists arrest, shall we use force?  And if responds in kind, shall we use lethal force?

[Aside: For our purposes we're ignoring other relevant questions such as (a) why should someone who chooses not to drive a car be financially impacted by a tax to pay for YOUR windshield (b) why should we think it's efficient to create more bureaucracy to regulate and enforce windshield replacements?]

Read on:
On the opening day of law school, I always counsel my first-year students never to support a law they are not willing to kill to enforce. Usually they greet this advice with something between skepticism and puzzlement, until I remind them that the police go armed to enforce the will of the state, and if you resist, they might kill you.

Biblical God vs. Perfect Being Theology

A nice discussion between a perfect being theologian/philosopher and a presuppositionalist (of sorts) going on here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Repeal Hate Crime Laws (but not South Park)

I'll get to South Park in a bit, but I first want to note that I think this is the second time on this blog where I find myself in agreement with Bill Maher and Andrew Sulliven.  Kinda scary but, oh well.  Even a blind nut finds a squirrel once in a while.

Nat Hentoff gets it exactly right; hate crime laws are thought crime laws:

He is also right that such laws arguably violate the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause.  How are Americans equally protected under the law when certain groups (race, gender, religion, etc.) are given special protection and others aren't?

National Pubic Radio and the Tit of the State

As I'm listening to an NPR news report about a documentary (surprise) fighting "racism and homophobia" this MavPhil post is timely.  (Oh, no.  Frank Deford is now coming on to preach talk about some lefty issue sports.)

I reproduce below the words of the Maverick Philosopher:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Black Lives Matter"

Yes they do.  But who doesn't think that?  Answer: Ugly racists.  For to think that black lives do not matter is to think that blacks do not have value.  But of course they do as do all humans. All humans have equal moral worth.  Skin color matters not a whit.  And human rights supervene on human worth.  Ergo, blacks and whites have the same human rights. 

Saying "Black Lives Matter" in the context of the Eric Garner case is to imply that people who think blacks have no value--i.e. racists--were in some meaningful way responsible for his death.  But is there evidence that, for example, the cops involved were racist and thought that blacks don't matter?  Was the black, female sergeant in charge a self-hating racist?  Should she be relieved of duty?  I have yet to see evidence that she or anyone else was a racist.

"Black Lives Matter" is an example of the leftist strategy of taking a seemingly innocent statement ("Who could object to 'Black Lives Mattering'? Who could object to "Social Justice?") and employing it as a bludgeon to advance a political end.  A hallmark of leftist rhetoric is the use of terminology that either (a) cannot fail to demand assent, (b) cannot fail to demand outright repulsion, or (c) euphemistically obscures controversial issues.  In this case, it is a combination of (a) and (c).

"Are you saying that black lives don't matter!?"  Of COURSE NOT.  "White Lives Matter."  An innocent statement...but not when said at a Klan rally!

Leftists inject race into everything.  But note that it is one thing to argue that certain policies should be changed that disproportionately hurt the black community; it is another thing to argue that a police officer committed homicide; it is quite another to argue that racism and racists are behind those policies and someone's death.

I Love This Dinosaur

Bullies: A Conversation Amongst a 4 and 6-Year-Old

Four-year old: "Dad, bullies can't have friends."

Six-year-old: "Na-uh!  A bully can have friends."

"No, bullies can't have friends."

"Yes they can!  A bully can become nice!"

"A nice bully isn't a bully!"

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Left's Disregard for Truth

Heard about Lena Dunham?  I hadn't.  Apparently she's an actress (HBO, etc.) and leftist activist.  She wrote a book wherein she claims that she was raped by a prominent Republican named "Barry" while in college at Oberlin (in Ohio--my wife and I went to a Shakespearean play there when in college).  I know a guy who once taught there--it is a bastion of leftist indoctrination.

Well, journalist John Nolte has been investigating the matter.  After all, if Barry is still out there, he's likely to rape again.  If Barry is not out there, then a man named Barry who used to go to the school and is now being regarded with suspicion will be exonerated.

Turns out that there's just no evidence that Barry--as described by Dunham--exists (if we can trust Nolte which seems plausible).  Read the whole thing, but in case you don't, I'll provide below what I take to be an excellent example of the left's disregard for truth in favor or their narrative.  What follows is truly amazing (but not at all surprising).

Setup: Nolte wants to go to the radio station on campus, since "Barry" allegedly hosted a show called Real Talk with Jimbo (according to Dunham's book).  He asks to check the archive to search for any evidence that there was such a show.

The conversation that ensues when put in contact with the station manager is telling:

Mind-Body Problem and Hume

I just got done with teaching Hume for a few days.  Here is one thing--the primary thing--I have learned from Hume: there is no (immaterial) mind-(material)body problem as far as causation goes.  Arguments against mind-body causal interaction are futile.

Of course, Hume doesn't say any of that, but he does demonstrate quite nicely that even our most commonsense beliefs about causation ultimately bottom out in mystery.  He shows that it's problematic to attribute causation to ordinary material objects.  But of course most people do think that causation holds between material objects.  The nature of causation is just deeply mysterious.

In fact, I suspect that any question regarding how an immaterial mind could cause bodily action is misguided: there could be no how to it.  If it happens it just happens.  If you want to see how it happens, raise your hand.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Is There Such a Thing As Racial Profiling?

MavPhil  This deserves careful study:

One of the tactics of leftists is to manipulate and misuse language for their own purposes.  Thus they make up words and phrases and hijack existing ones. 'Islamophobe' is an example of the former, 'disenfranchise' an example of the latter.    'Racial profiling' is a second example of the former.  It is a meaningless phrase apart from its use as a semantic bludgeon.  Race is an element in a profile; it cannot be a profile.  A profile cannot consist of just one characteristic.  I can profile you, but it makes no sense racially to profile you.  Apparel is an element in a profile; it cannot be a profile.  I can profile you, but it makes no sense sartorially to profile you.
Let's think about this.
I profile you if I subsume you under a profile.  A profile is a list of several descriptors.  You fit the profile if you satisfy all or most of the descriptors.  Here is an example of a profile:
1. Race:  black
2. Age: 16-21 years
3. Sex: male
4. Apparel: wearing a hoodie, with the hood pulled up over the head
5. Demeanor: sullen, alienated
6. Behavior: walking aimlessly, trespassing, cutting across yards, looking into windows and garages, hostile and disrespectful when questioned; uses racial epithets such as 'creepy-assed cracker.'
7. Physical condition: robust, muscular
8. Location:  place where numerous burglaries and home invasions had occurred, the perpetrators being black
9. Resident status: not a resident.

Admission: I Too Am a Big Dumb Dinosaur

Should the Big 12 Add a Championship Game?

If they add a championship game, they need to add at least two, probably four teams.  But it's all about money so who are you going to add?  There are two important factors to consider: TV revenue and quality of the football program.  When the B1G added Penn State and Nebraska they upgraded their $ and the quality of football.  When they added Rutgers and Maryland they didn't upgrade the quality of football but they added two HUGE markets which down the road MIGHT pay big dividends. 

But who would the Big 12 add?
Here are some candidates:

In Church Today

Everyone in church was in church today, and we heard a Bible passage in the Bible that talked about the Son and says about the Son that without him nothing has been made that has been made.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Eric Garner Follow-Up Fireworks

A commenter on Twitter writes:

#1 You overlooked the fact that (a) [the chokehold] has been prohibited by NYPD since 1993.

And in response to my post and another Tweet by Mr. Goodnight:

#2 But you guys go ahead and run with it. killed himself! It’s the Immaculate Asphyxiation!

As to #1 above, there is a reason I overlooked that fact: like 1000's of other facts in the world it was irrelevant to my post.  The post was on the causes of Eric Garner's death.  The fact that the police officer used a chokehold which violates a NYC police department code was not an additional cause of Garner's death.  The chokehold was a cause of his death and at the same time constituted the breaking of a rule.  The breaking of the rule was not something in addition to the chokehold.  Thus it was not an additional cause.  Thus it was irrelevant.

Regarding #2, that Eric Garner killed himself is clearly a non sequitur.  Nothing I said in the post entails that I'm committed to the view that Eric Garner killed himself.  He did not kill himself.  But he did imprudently causally contribute to his death.  The only ones denying that are a part of the loony-left who think that victims are never to be held responsible in any way (well, if they are victims who tend to vote Democratic) and that the injustices of the world are the result of (a) actions by those in power (except for Democrats in power) and (b) racist, homophobic, sexist, etc. structures in place (e.g. policies).  But to believe that you'd need to be an idiot.

Apparently the Twitter commenter has now stopped following me on Twitter.  That's too bad.  I always enjoy a good argument.

Another lesson: Next time you hear someone calling for a national "conversation" on race, or a "conversation" on police brutality, or a "conversation" on campus rapes...expect the conversation to be one-sided and typically among people with a herd mentality.

That's not for me.  No way.  No herd mentality here.  I prefer the glorious path of unpopularity (it's right there in the slogan above).  Maxim: Never a week without political incorrectness!  

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Causes of Eric Garner's Death

What caused the house to burn down?  Was it the lighting of the match?  Well, yes and no.  If the room hadn't been filled with propane, the house wouldn't have burned down.  The lighting of the match was a cause, but not the complete cause.  Was the cause the house's being filled with propane?  Yes and no. If the match wouldn't have been lit the house wouldn't have burned down.  The house's being filled with propane was a cause and the match's being lit was a cause.  If there is any sense in which the cause was one or the other it will be a subjective sense (for instance, we might say that the propane was the cause because we're interested in which contributory cause was the least regular of the causes).

Here are some of the causes of Eric Garner's death:

What the Numbers Say on the Police Use of Force



[T]wo decades of data on police interactions with the public don’t support the idea that something extraordinary is afoot, that the police are becoming “militarized” as President Obama has suggested, or that distrust between police and local communities has produced an enormous spike in conflicts. By contrast, the data show that significant crime declines have been accompanied by a leveling off and then a reduction in confrontations with the police, as reported by Americans of all races.
More important, perhaps, was that reports of use of force by police also fell, from 664,000 in 2002 to 574,000 in a 2010 report. Those declines occurred across all races. The number of African-Americans reporting that police used force against them fell from 173,000 to 130,000. Among whites, the number has dropped from a peak of 374,000 to 347,000.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Would a Discovered Letter of Paul's Be Included in the Bible?

A few brief thoughts...

Rob Bell Teaming Up with Oprah


The Church of Oprah incorporates as many religious concepts as possible, while evangelicalism commits to exclusivity.

“I think an interesting way to think about Bell and Oprah here is to observe how easily she incorporates him into her pantheon of spiritual advisers. She remains, as ever, the determining corporate deity,” said Lofton, a professor of religious studies at Yale.

Many evangelicals are suspicious of Oprah, leery that she represents what many see as the worst of self-help spirituality. Bell, not surprisingly, disagrees once again.
“She has taught me more about what Jesus has for all of us, and what kind of life Jesus wants us to live, more than almost anybody in my life,” Bell said.
“Is she a Christian? That word has so much baggage, I wouldn’t want to answer for someone. When Jesus talks about the full divine life, you think, this is what he’s talking about.”

Slavery and States' Rights

A very well-written historical piece here.


According to the standard version of history, states’ rights was a doctrine invented by Southern politicians to perpetuate slavery. One high school textbook, for example, describes the term “states’ rights” as an antebellum euphemism for “the right of the states to maintain slavery and the right of individuals to hold property in slaves.” In a 2011 interview on NPR, Adam Goodhart, author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening, asserted that “the only significant state right that people were arguing about in 1860 was the right to own what was known as slave property.” A 2013 New York Times op-ed declared that “since the nation’s founding, ‘states’ rights’ has been a rallying cry for those who wished to systematically disenfranchise and exploit large segments of their population.” A plaque at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery describes states’ rights as a doctrine that “protected the institution of slavery.”
This conventional history provides a handy rhetorical weapon for liberal commentators, who accuse states’ rights conservatives of embracing a doctrine historically identified with “pro-slavery ideologies and . . . the disenfranchisement of African-Americans,” as the Nation puts it. Now that the 2016 presidential campaign is getting under way—with some GOP hopefuls advocating a return to states’ rights—expect many in the media to warn us that the Tea Party is forgetting the lessons of history.
But what if the lessons of history are wrong, and the doctrine of states’ rights was actually an antislavery ideology?

No sane African-American would support the Tea Party, MSNBC host Chris Matthews said in 2013, because it is “a group that is basically pro-states’ rights.” Yet contrary to many such arguments you hear today, the Civil War was not sparked by federal efforts to abolish slavery: there were no such efforts before the South seceded. The war arose from Northern assertions of states’ rights and from the South’s frustration at the federal government’s failure to rein in those assertions. After the war, however, it became irresistible for federal politicians—eager to justify an expanded role for the national government—to associate states’ rights with the Confederacy and, therefore, slavery. By 1909, progressive journalist Herbert Croly could assert—with little fear of contradiction—that the growth of federal power since Reconstruction had been necessary to slay “the double-headed problem of slavery and states’ rights.” The rest is history—sort of.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Obama and Cameras for Cops

If I had a camera like this on my chest:

I think I'd make it a habit of, instead of shooting like this:

I'd shoot like this:

OSU's Next QB: Glass Half Full?

Cardale Jones's infamous tweet is making the rounds again.

As a Buckeye fan I can choose to look at this in one of two ways.  (1) Our 3rd string QB and now starter is clearly an idiot.  (2) He's not been wasting his time studying anything OTHER THAN FOOTBALL so we're about to make the playoffs.  I choose the latter!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Jay-Z vs. Arkansas' Walmart

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A few weeks ago, I was very much amused by the sight of anti-Wal-Mart protests in Manhattan — where there is no Wal-Mart, and where, if Bill de Blasio et al. have their way, there never will be. Why? Because we’re too enlightened to let our poor neighbors pay lower prices. The head-clutchingly expensive shops up on Fifth and Madison avenues? No protests. Rather, they were bustling with the same class of people behind the protests, people busily accumulating — or at least making like Holly Golightly in the window at Tiffany’s.
Here in Columbia County, Ark., a not-especially-prosperous locale behind the Pine Curtain where the median household income is about half the national average and where a few twists and turns down county roads find you in a world of shacks and chained-up dogs out of a Snuffy Smith cartoon, nobody is boycotting the local Wal-Mart. In fact, the locals seem rather fond of this purported outpost of economic exploitation and wicked capitalist blah-blah-blah. And it is not difficult to understand why: It is an important part of local commerce in a community that is hungry for enterprise.