The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, October 23, 2017

Volcanic Unrest at Mauna Loa, Earth’s Largest Active Volcano - Eos

Mauna Loa is showing persistent signs of volcanic unrest. Since 2014, increased seismicity and deformation indicate that Mauna Loa, the volcano that dominates more than half of the island of Hawaiʻi, may be building toward its first eruption since 1984.

Thousands of residents and key infrastructure are potentially at risk from lava flows, so a critical question is whether the volcano will follow patterns of previous eruptions or return to its now historically unprecedented 33-year slumber.

via eos.org

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

As San Francisco trial opens in killing of Kate Steinle, prosecutor says, ‘He meant to shoot’ - SFGate

When city prosecutors discharged the case, the Sheriff’s Department released Garcia Zarate despite a federal request to hold him for deportation. Then-Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi cited the city’s sanctuary policies, which limit local cooperation with immigration enforcement and seek to encourage undocumented people to feel comfortable having a relationship with city agencies.

Anger over Garcia Zarate’s release contributed to Mirkarimi’s 2016 re-election defeat. But San Francisco remains committed to its sanctuary status, and Gov. Jerry Brown this month signed a bill to create a statewide sanctuary policy.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors amended the city’s sanctuary policies after the shooting. But if a person with Garcia Zarate’s record were in San Francisco jail today, and eligible for release, he would still be freed rather than turned over to immigration agents.

via www.sfgate.com

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

What matters in trial of Kate Steinle's accused killer | The Sacramento Bee

Defense attorneys will argue that the shooting was an accident, saying that it went off as he was pulling it out of a T-shirt that he found. The bullet then ricocheted off the pier and hit Steinle about 80 feet away.

Prosecutors will argue that Garcia Zarate recklessly shot at people, the prerequisite for the second-degree murder conviction.

But we do know the gun itself was stolen from the car of a ranger for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The ranger, who was never punished and has since been promoted, carelessly left his.40-caliber Sig Sauer in a backpack on the seat of his car parked near Pier 14.

How Garcia Zarate got the gun remains a mystery. He says he found it.

The Steinle family deserves the facts – and that means a case that’s tried the court of law, not the echo chamber that is the court of conservative public opinion.

via www.sacbee.com

Sounds like it wasn't his fault, really.

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Former Harvey Weinstein Assistant Breaks NDA, Details History of Cover-Ups | Hollywood Reporter

"I want to publicly break my non-disclosure agreement," Perkins says in the interview. "Unless somebody does this there won't be a debate about how egregious these agreements are and the amount of duress that victims are put under. My entire world fell in because I thought the law was there to protect those who abided by it. I discovered that it had nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with money and power."

via www.hollywoodreporter.com

I would be interested to see one of these NDAs. It sounds like there might be something contra public policy in them. Then again, perhaps not. I wonder which law firm represents Weinstein. California could pass legislation making NDAs regarding sexual harassment unenforceable. That might have the effect of reducing harassment.

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

China and US square off in race to master quantum computing | McClatchy Washington Bureau

U.S. and other Western scientists voice awe, and even alarm, at China’s quickening advances and spending on quantum communications and computing, revolutionary technologies that could give a huge military and commercial advantage to the nation that conquers them.

via www.mcclatchydc.com

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Donald Trump: King of Deregulation? | The Weekly Standard

It seemed a characteristic bit of Trumpian magniloquence—he’s not only a boffo deregulator, he’s the best ever! Still, it was a remarkable claim. Trump has overseen more deregulation than George W. Bush or Ronald “government is the problem” Reagan?

But, measured by at least one significant standard, Trump’s claim is true. Patrick McLaughlin of the Mercatus Center, a free-market-oriented think tank at George Mason University, applies innovative research techniques to the study of regulation and the economy. He recently analyzed the output of regulatory restrictions promulgated in the last several presidencies, going back to Jimmy Carter. McLaughlin found that there have been periods in some presidencies when regulatory output slowed or declined—in several years of the Reagan presidency, for instance, and in 1996, when “reinventing government” was part of Bill Clinton’s election pitch. But over the full terms of each recent president, including Reagan, regulation increased, according to McLaughlin. So far the increase in regulatory restrictions under Trump has been near to zero.

via www.weeklystandard.com

Emoticon!

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The assault on academic freedom at UCLA - The College Fix

Over the past few years, UCLA has lost four prominent scholars: James Enstrom, Keith Fink, Val Rust and Tim Groseclose.

Each incident is different, whether they left, resigned, or were forced out. But they all have a common thread: each professor took a stance against left-liberal principles at UCLA — and now they are no longer teaching there.

This attack on conservatism is not unique to UCLA, but the school has become the perfect case study for the phenomenon.

The converging timelines of these four professors’ experiences show that rejection of intellectual freedom in academia is a pattern of behavior, not an isolated event.

via www.thecollegefix.com

H/t GB.

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

‘Tyrant’ Laura Ingraham Already Terrifying Fox News Staffers—and Her Show Hasn’t Even Aired Yet

When conservative author and talk radio host Laura Ingraham sits down in the anchor chair on Oct. 30 for the first time as a host on Fox News’ evening lineup, the cable network will be making a multi-prong bet.

The first is that its audience will gladly stomach another evening hour of ardent Donald Trump boosterism. The second is that someone who’s spent the much of her career in radio can translate to television. But the third, and perhaps biggest, gamble is that the notoriously combative and difficult-to-work-with Ingraham can run a functioning show.

Already, there are signs of trouble.

via www.thedailybeast.com

I don't find this hard to believe.

Update: Having watched the videos, it's not clear Laura is all that bad; it mostly seems her staff at Fox is incompetent. Also the headline on the video about "com[ing]" in her ear is grossly misleading. When Laura says it, it has no sexual meaning whatever. So it looks like another hatchet job. Laura is still one tough cookie, however.

October 23, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

It’s not women who get pregnant — it’s ‘people’ | News | The Times & The Sunday Times

The government has said the term “pregnant woman” should not be used in a UN treaty because it “excludes” transgender people.

Feminists reacted with outrage to what they said was the latest example of “making women unmentionable” in the name of transgender equality.

via www.thetimes.co.uk

October 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Uranium One Deal: Obama Administration Complicit, Not Just | National Review

The Facebook-ad buy, which started in June 2015 — before Donald Trump entered the race — was more left-wing agitprop (ads pushing hysteria on racism, immigration, guns, etc.) than electioneering. The Clintons’ own long-time political strategist Mark Penn estimates that just $6,500 went to actual electioneering. (You read that right: 65 hundred dollars.) By contrast, the staggering $500,000 payday from a Kremlin-tied Russian bank for a single speech was part of a multi-million-dollar influence-peddling scheme to enrich the former president and his wife, then–secretary of state Hillary Clinton. At the time, Russia was plotting — successfully — to secure U.S. government approval for its acquisition of Uranium One, and with it, tens of billions of dollars in U.S. uranium reserves.

via www.nationalreview.com

Still, I doubt this will ever get traction in the MSM.

October 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

UC Santa Cruz College Republicans meeting disrupted by leftist protesters, three arrested | Fox News

Leftist protesters interrupted a College Republicans meeting Sunday night in the library at the University of California, Santa Cruz, calling members “fascists,” “racists” and “white supremacists” during a lengthy demonstration that ended in three arrests.

via www.foxnews.com

October 22, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 21, 2017

When It Comes To Race And Sports, Who Owns An Athlete's Opinions? : Code Switch : NPR

The NFL's players are 70 percent black; its fans are 83 percent white and 64 percent male, according to online sports site The Real GM.

And when it comes to the current controversy over the national anthem and players taking a knee, that statistic is playing a huge role.

It leads to the idea, says Amira Rose Davis of Penn State University, "that 'you are good as entertainment, but once you have a voice, I don't want to hear you. You need to shut up and play.' "

Some players, though, clearly are not be satisfied to just play and be paid.

via www.npr.org

That darn NPR. That darn NFL. That darn national anthem.

October 21, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Vampire scare in Malawi has killed at least 8 people | KXAN.com

This isn’t the first time vigilante violence linked to vampire rumors has erupted in this country. Last time this happened was in 2002.

via kxan.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A woman's dog died, and doctors say her heart literally broke

But tests at Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute -Texas Medical Center revealed something very different. Doctors instead diagnosed Simpson with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a condition with symptoms that mimic heart attacks. It usually occurs following an emotional event such as the loss of a spouse or child. That link has given the illness its more colloquial name: broken-heart syndrome.

In Simpson’s case, the event that she says tipped her over the edge was the recent death of her beloved Yorkshire terrier, Meha.

via www.freerepublic.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

US man trying to kill spiders with blowtorch burns down trailer home

The unnamed man is thought to have been using a propane torch to burn the spiders living underneath the trailer.

But he accidentally created a massive blaze and 23 firefighters were forced to contain it.

via www.telegraph.co.uk

Fun but evidently risky.

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Nope, our Temporary Moon Isn't Space Junk, it's an Asteroid - Universe Today

However, some suggested that it was a burnt-out rocket booster trapped in a near-Earth orbit. But thanks to new study by a team from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, this object – known as (469219) 2016 HO3 – has been confirmed as an asteroid. While this small near-Earth-asteroid orbits the Sun, it also orbits Earth as a sort of “quasi-satellite”.

via www.universetoday.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Great Tits May Be Evolving Bigger Beaks. Here's Why.

Setting up a bird feeder is one of the easiest ways to interact with wildlife. But could this seemingly innocent pastime be changing the very shape of our backyard birds?

It’s still too early to say for sure, says Lewis Spurgin, an evolutionary biologist at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.

But he and his colleagues have discovered some truly fascinating clues that a bird called the great tit may be evolving longer beaks to access bird feeders.

via news.nationalgeographic.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

North Korea's 'stressed' nuclear test mountain on verge of collapse | Fox News

North Korea’s nuclear tests are not only raising fears around the world, they are causing the peak under which the bombs are being detonated to suffer “tired mountain syndrome.”

via www.foxnews.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Bloody End of the Islamic State's Utopian Dream - The Atlantic

The pleasure of dancing on the Islamic State’s grave should not be denied, even if it is true, as experts remind us, that its zombified hand might yet emerge from the earth to grab our ankles as we do so. Having lost Raqqa (and before it Hawija, Tal Afar, and Mosul), it now still holds border areas between Iraq and Syria, plus isolated territory in Libya, Sinai, Afghanistan, and the southern Philippines. What it no longer controls is territory from which it can make its most important claim—that it has built a paradise on earth, where God’s law is the only law, and Muslims can live lives that fully express their faith. It once boasted that women, children, and the elderly could live full and happy lives in Raqqa. Now an invitation to hijra—migration to Islamic State territory—is simply an invitation to die quickly on the field of battle.

via www.theatlantic.com

I believe there's still plenty of room in "history's unmarked grave of discarded lies."

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prof finds 'no evidence' sexism is behind gender gap in STEM

Dr. Lee Jussim, a professor at Rutgers University, explored the issue in an article published last week in Psychology Today, explaining that girls with strong math and science skills also tend to have high verbal skills, giving them access to a wide variety of potential career options.

via www.campusreform.org

Prof. Jussim is pretty senior so perhaps he can get away with saying this. Not at Google of course, but at Rutgers. Then again, maybe not. At Rutgers.

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

A world without hate speech

In response to the objection that such oppression would never happen in the United States, we at FIRE would argue that, well, it already has: Look no further than efforts to address hate speech on American colleges campuses, which have ensnared a professor for blogging about same-sex marriage, students for their racially-themed humor at a party, a student-created satirical play promoted as “offensive or inflammatory to all audiences,” and a student newspaper for printing political satire.

But what if outlawing such expression is the price we must pay for a more tolerant society? If only that were true.

via www.thefire.org

FIRE is a good organization, a sadly necessary one.

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Shattuck: John Kelly gives eloquent address | Boston Herald

John Kelly was magnificent yesterday. He defended the sacred pillars of America without agenda, criticizing opportunist politicians, the media and even, perhaps, the president himself, for his treatment of a Gold Star family at the Democratic National Convention.

Afterward, Fox News White House correspondent Kevin Corke tweeted, “I’ve covered 3 administrations as a WH Correspondent. Never seen anything like today’s briefing. Riveting, powerful and sadly necessary.”

via www.bostonherald.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Republican Unity Is Overrated | National Review

“Destroying the Republican party” is not an exaggerated account of Bannon’s ambition: Bannon, deploying the bombastic language associated with moneyed dilettantes everywhere, has proclaimed a “season of war” on the party with which he is notionally affiliated. Backed by the fortune of billionaire Robert Mercer, he is working on a purge, recruiting primary challengers to Republican senators, and in the process of doing so very well may hand a few seats over to the Democrats. That operation already has borne some fruit in the person of Roy Moore, the sideshow freak the Republicans have nominated as their Senate candidate in Alabama. He may well win that race, but the presence of a Putin-admiring birther conspiracy theorist in high office — another one! — is not the sort of thing Republicans should welcome.

via www.nationalreview.com

Ai chihuahua damn.

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Poll: Utahns say Orrin Hatch shouldn’t run again, but Mitt Romney should - The Salt Lake Tribune

Three of every four Utahns say Sen. Orrin Hatch should not seek an eighth term, while a plurality would like Mitt Romney to take his place in the Senate, a new poll shows.

“Voters are saying, ‘Please don’t run again.’ Many have fond memories of Senator Hatch, but they feel the time has come for him to step aside,” said pollster Dan Jones, who conducted the survey for The Salt Lake Tribune and the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

via www.sltrib.com

Looks like the end of an era.

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hillary Clinton's Russian Ghost Stories | The Daily Caller

After the FBI arrested 10 of the spies in June, 2010, Secretary of State Clinton worked feverishly to return the Russian agents to Moscow in a hastily arranged, lopsided deal with Putin.

via dailycaller.com

Among the many benefits of public servants being more honest would be less need to keep up with convoluted stories like this one.

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Fusion Collusion - WSJ

The Washington narrative is focused on special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. But the ferocious pushback and unseemly tactics from Democrats suggest they are growing worried. Maybe the real story is that Democrats worked with an opposition-research firm that has some alarming ties to Russia and potentially facilitated a disinformation campaign during a presidential election.

The media has its own conflict of interest, since it would prefer nobody find out about its years of, ahem, colluding with Fusion. Don’t expect any investigative reporting. But also don’t believe the stories about GOP harassment. The ferocity of the Fusion-Democrat campaign is proof Republicans are looking in the right place.

via www.wsj.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Top Chinese officials 'plotted to overthrow Xi Jinping' - BBC News

These party members have since been arrested or jailed in a wide-reaching corruption crackdown launched by Mr Xi.

Some observers have said the crackdown was used to conduct a political purge of Mr Xi's opponents.

via www.bbc.com

October 20, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Is Hollywood sitting on a pedophilia scandal?

Can we seriously doubt that Hollywood is also turning a blind eye to a very real child sex-abuse scandal?

via theweek.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Bite on this: Kansas State University researcher finds alligators eat sharks| Kansas State University | News and Communications Services

While the sharks may not actually be as big as the fictional Jaws, James Nifong, postdoctoral researcher with the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Kansas State University, and Russell Lowers, wildlife biologist with Integrated Mission Support Services at Kennedy Space Center, published a study in Southeastern Naturalist documenting that American alligators on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are eating small sharks and stingrays. This is the first scientific documentation of a widespread interaction between the two predators.

via www.k-state.edu

Ultimately h/t instapundit.

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

California’s gun safety sham – Orange County Register

California lawmakers love gun control. Gov. Jerry Brown signed no less than six different bills designed to restrict gun and ammunition sales in the Golden State last year alone, and a number of the leading candidates to replace him as governor are running on a platform of even more regulation.

There’s not an aspect of legal gun ownership that isn’t in their crosshairs, so to speak.

But at the very same time that Sacramento politicians want to punish legal gun owners, these same lawmakers just passed Senate Bill 620 — which would strip mandatory sentencing enhancements for criminals convicted of committing a felony with a gun.

After all, why waste valuable prison space on somebody who robbed a liquor store with a sawed-off shotgun when we clearly need it for the dangerous lunatics who use the wrong gender pronouns?

via www.ocregister.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

AlphaGo Zero Goes From Rank Beginner to Grandmaster in Three Days—Without Any Help - IEEE Spectrum

In the 1970 sci-fi thriller Colossus: The Forbin Project, a computer designed to control the United States’ nuclear weapons is switched on, and immediately it discovers the existence of a Soviet counterpart.

The two machines, Colossus and Guardian, trade equations, beginning with  “1 + 1 = 2.”  The math moves faster and faster, advancing through calculus and beyond until suddenly the blurry cascade of symbols stops. The two machines have become one, and it has mankind by the throat.

Hah, you say. Development work takes a lot longer than that.

Maybe not. Today DeepMind, a London-based subsidiary of Google, announced that it has developed a machine that plays the ancient Chinese game of Go much better than its predecessor, AlphaGo, which last year beat Lee Sedol, a world-class player, in Seoul.

The earlier program was trained for months on a massive database of master games and got plenty of pointers—training wheels, as it were—from its human creators. Then it improved further by playing countless games against itself. But the new one, called AlphaGo Zero, received no training wheels; it trained itself all the way from tyro to grandmaster.

In three days.

via spectrum.ieee.org

This is in the news today. I'm still trying to digest it. I get the speed of it. What can one say? Golly. Three days? That seems fast. Very, very fast.

I recently re-watched Colossus: The Forbin Project and it holds up surprisingly well. It's pretty dark.

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

U.S. immigrant population

Infographic: U.S. Immigrant Population Hit Record 43.7 Million In 2016  | Statista

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Uranium One Means Mueller Must Recuse Himself from Russia Probe | Roger L. Simon

Virtually whatever Mueller has to say about his involvement or non-involvement in this metastasizing scandal, he must recuse himself immediately for the most obvious reasons of propriety and appearance. Frankly, it's outrageous that he, Ron Rosenstein, or anyone who even touched the Uranium One investigation now be involved with the current probe -- unless the real name of the FBI is actually the NKVD.  This is not how a democracy is supposed to work, even remotely.  Forget transparency -- this was deliberate occlusion.

via pjmedia.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Team Obama’s stunning cover-up of Russian crimes | New York Post

It turns out the Obama administration knew the Russians were engaged in bribery, kickbacks and extortion in order to gain control of US atomic resources — yet still OK’d that 2010 deal to give Moscow control of one-fifth of America’s uranium. This reeks.

via nypost.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

California legally recognizes a third gender on ID documents - Hot Air Hot Air

Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB179 on Sunday night. The bill, dubbed the Gender Recognition Act, will allow a third gender choice on driver’s licenses, state identification cards, and make it easier for people to change their gender and name on state identification papers.

Non-binary, is a catch-all term for people who do not identify as exclusively male or female, and has been slowly acknowledged by some states as a gender option.

via hotair.com

I'm not sure I'd want the CHP to know that I was trans, if I were.

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Awful: Thad Cochran reportedly disoriented in the Senate - Hot Air

Tragic and disgusting. Tragic for poor Thad Cochran, who should be resting at home and enjoying his days as much as he can now. And disgusting on the part of the Republican leadership and his staff, who are dragging this frail old man around the Capitol for no better reason than that they don’t want to have to worry about a Bannon-fueled populist challenge in a Mississippi special election if Cochran were to resign. There’s no chance of his seat going blue, of course; they’re propping him up just to keep that seat filled with someone who’ll vote however Trump and McConnell need him to on key legislation like tax reform.

via hotair.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Dogs Attempt To Communicate With Us Through Facial Expressions - D-brief

Everyone who lives with dogs may be rolling their eyes right about now and saying “Of course Boopsie/Rex/Potato is smiling/frowning/expressing wide-eyed existential dread,” but heaps of anecdotal evidence don’t mean much in terms of scientific cred. A study out today, however, is a big step toward confirming that dogs use facial expressions in an attempt to communicate with humans.

via blogs.discovermagazine.com

Of they're communicating. But exactly what are they communicating?

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Woman is sentenced to 5 years in prison for framing husband's ex-fiancee in Craigslist rape fantasy plot - LA Times

A woman has been sentenced to five years in state prison in what prosecutors called a “diabolical scheme” to frame her husband’s ex-fiancee in a Craigslist rape fantasy plot.

via www.latimes.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The latest AI can work things out without being taught

AlphaGo learned to play Go by studying thousands of games between expert human opponents, extracting rules and strategies from those games and then refining them in millions more matches which the program played against itself. That was enough to make it stronger than any human player. But researchers at DeepMind, the firm that built AlphaGo, were confident that they could improve it. In a paper just published in Nature they have unveiled the latest version, dubbed AlphaGo Zero. It is much better at the game, learns to play much more quickly and requires far less computing hardware to do well. Most important, though, unlike the original version, AlphaGo Zero has managed to teach itself the game without recourse to human experts at all.

via www.economist.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Phillip W. Magness » Is a 2017 National Book Award finalist built upon a simple typo?

MacLean never even bothered to investigate the article’s actual route to publication through Dabney. But Dabney, who won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for editorializing against poll taxes and bus segregation in Richmond, does not allow the same salacious charges and insinuations that MacLean extracts from Kilpatrick. MacLean therefore retained an erroneous historical interpretation premised on Hershman’s switching of the papers, even though she had sufficient information to correct that error.

via philmagness.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Computing and the Fermi Paradox: A New Idea Emerges—The Aliens Are All Asleep - IEEE Spectrum

The new explanation takes this concept to a whole new dimension: time. You see, space is only so cold—limited to 2.7 kelvins by the cosmic background radiation. Or rather, it can get only that cold now. Wait several billion years, though, and the universe will have expanded enough to reduce the temperature of the cosmic background radiation considerably. So if you’re seeking serious cold for doing calculations, best to wait—to “aestivate”—until conditions are better.

The notion of going to sleep for many billions of years certainly seems odd, but that may be because our puny biological selves have a hard time thinking about the passage of time being so malleable. Perhaps we’ll one day figure out how to freeze-dry ourselves or upload our noggins into those computers that we’ll be so keen to keep running. If that’s possible, then maybe an advanced civilization can choose what clock speed it wants to run at. Or maybe the strategy will be to turn off everybody’s clock and just run a low-power wake-up timer set for the year 1,000,000,000,000.

via spectrum.ieee.org

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Trump’s ISIS Victory | National Review

But when it comes to one of Trump’s boasts, it’s hard for even his sternest detractors to gainsay him. Try as they might to deny it, even the efforts of the New York Times to discount his assertion rings false. ISIS was still largely undefeated and in control of much of the territory of Iraq and Syria when Trump was sworn in before a non-record setting crowd. But only nine months into his administration, the Islamic State’s hold on these countries has dwindled, and after the liberation this week of Raqqa, Syria, capital of the Islamists’ caliphate, it’s fair to say that the group is being routed after years in which it held its own against coalition forces.

How much of this is due to Trump’s influence?

via www.nationalreview.com

October 19, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

To be transgender in Ireland

The NY Times lets us know what it's like. The writer is still married to his wife. He's gone from husband and wife to wife and wife. I like to think that my wife would object if I made this transition.

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (2)

A Christian Strategy by Adrian Vermeule | Articles | First Things

The problem is the relentless aggression of liberalism, driven by an internal mechanism that causes ever more radical demands for political conformism, particularly targeting the Church. The solution is an equally radical form of strategic flexibility on the part of the Church, which must stand detached from all subsidiary political commitments, willing to enter into flexible alliances of convenience with any of the parties, institutions, and groups that jostle under the canopy of the liberal imperium.

via www.firstthings.com

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

As a prison sentence looms, a Hong Kong democracy activist remains steadfast | America Magazine

In October 2014, Mr. Chan, law professor Benny Tai and the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming led a mass civil disobedience campaign named Occupy Central With Love and Peace, which paralyzed the business district of Hong Kong for 79 days. Each now faces three charges of incitement and conspiracy.

via www.americamagazine.org

I would suggest some American law school invite Prof. Tai for a visit, but he'd doubtless be too controversial.

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hotshot banker says jilted lover drove his Benz into pool | New York Post

“Lier!” Kuchma, 24, texted Gentile in broken English on Saturday night after the dirty deed. “You told me you will help me to start a business! That were your words! Now you want to be an investor??? Well investor I have a surprise for you on a backyard, start with that investment idea first.”

Gentile, who was busted for an alleged Wall Street pump-and-dump scheme in 2007 but became an FBI informant to beat the charges, came home the next morning to find his Mercedes S400 hybrid in a chlorine grave.

via nypost.com

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

What would the average human do? | The Outline

The project is a morbid riff on the “trolley problem,” a thought experiment that forces participants to choose between letting a runaway train kill five people or diverting its path to kill one person who otherwise wouldn’t die. But the Moral Machine gave the riddle a contemporary twist that got picked up by the New York Times, The Guardian and Scientific American and eventually collected some 18 million votes from 1.3 million would-be executioners.

That unique cache of data about the ethical gut feelings of random people on the internet intrigued Ariel Procaccia, an assistant professor in the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University, and he struck up a partnership with Iyad Rahwan, one of the MIT researchers behind the Moral Machine, as well as a team of other scientists at both institutions. Together they created an artificial intelligence, described in a new paper, designed to evaluate situations in which an autonomous car needs to kill someone — and to choose the same victim as the average Moral Machine voter.

via theoutline.com

I wonder how often people encounter trolley problems in real life. I just turned 60 (thankew! thankew!) and I don't think I've ever encountered anything like a true trolley problem, even accounting for lesser costs imposed on people. It makes me wonder whether it might not be a profoundly unrealistic sort of problem. Or maybe it's because I don't drive trolleys, buses, airplanes and so forth for a living.

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Trump Is Afraid His Tax Plan Is Doomed. He Should Be.

To President Trump and his administration, the quest for tax reform looks like repeal and replace (i.e. flail and disgrace) all over again.

via nymag.com

I hope this isn't true.

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Why Hollywood is the perfect hunting ground for pervs | New York Post

Cosby and Weinstein have something else in common, of course. They work in show business. And here, too, the habits and behaviors of powerful men in show business set them apart from other men in almost every other profession (save, perhaps, election-campaign politics, which has a libertine sexual culture similar to the entertainment industry’s).

Unlike most other industries, the entertainment industry runs on scarcity. The unemployment rate in the United States is 4.2 percent right now. But for people who want to go before the cameras or stand at center stage, it’s closer to 90 percent — always has been, always will be.

What’s more, the jobs performers do get are mostly short-term and evanescent. This means the power imbalance between the person who doles out the work and the person who is looking for work is more extreme than in almost any other situation you can think of. Unless you’re a huge star, you’re often a supplicant. You live a life of almost constant rejection.

via nypost.com

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wanted dead, not alive: France's approach to French jihadists - The Local

France's attitude to the killing of its citizens in Syria fighting for the Islamic State group has rarely been as frankly stated as it was in the lead up to the fall of Raqa.

"We are committed along with our allies to the destruction of Daesh (Islamic State) and we're doing everything to that end," Defence Minister Florence Parly told reporters at the weekend.

"What we want is to go to the end of this combat and of course if jihadists die in the fighting, then I'd say it's for the best," she added.

via www.thelocal.fr

October 18, 2017 | Permalink | Comments (0)