Thursday, March 31, 2016

State Department Deletes Tweet Suggesting You’re Not a ‘10’ - The New York Times

Yes, the federal government had just awkwardly referred to ranking attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10, while puncturing a fantasy of vacation travel: the possibility of romance. If you’re unattractive here, the tweet seemed to imply, you’re unattractive there. And you could be robbed.

That’s apparently too cold even by the standards of the Internet.

via www.nytimes.com

This is very funny, but it's difficult to explain exactly why.

March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

World Leaders Meeting With Obama to Curb Nuclear Threat - The New York Times

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is boycotting the meeting, which makes major breakthroughs on global security unlikely, given his country’s vast nuclear stockpile. And with Mr. Obama — who conceived and championed these meetings — leaving office next year, several experts said it was unlikely that a Nuclear Security Summit would even happen again.

via www.nytimes.com

The only danger is that we won't have enough when we need them.

March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trump: If abortion is banned, there has to be some form of punishment for women who do it; Update: Trump reverses « Hot Air

Charles Cooke calls this an ideological Turing test, i.e. a question whose answer reveals how plausible it is that Trump really is who he claims to be. The standard answer from nearly all serious pro-lifers is that it’s the abortionist, not his patient, who should be sanctioned if and when abortion is banned.

via hotair.com

Trump made the mistake of thinking that just because the pro-abortion position is illogical, the pro-life position must be logical. Wrongo! It's so much more complicated than that. I would go on, but I fear saying, or even thinking a thoughtcrime.

March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Do Cats Have Accents? Scientists Study Feline Communication

Meow, miaou, yaong, nyan, näu: Humans say ‘meow’ in different ways, depending on what part of the world they’re from, but do cats? This is the question researchers at Lund University in Sweden are trying to answer in a new study on feline communication.

via www.newsweek.com

Inquiring minds want to know. Just a little. Or maybe not.

March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

College Admissions Debates Miss the Mark - The American Interest

The good news is that there are better approaches for bringing admissions madness under control. The most important change would be to attack what Freddie DeBoer calls “the Ivy League premium”—that is, make it matter less where a person went to college. Part of this change would need to be cultural: elites, and the institutions they run, would need to put less weight on fancy degrees. But there are also policy steps that could help encourage this shift. For example, a standardized or semi-standardized testing regime for college seniors would help ambitious graduates of the Nebraska state system, for example, compete on equal footing with Yalies.

via www.the-american-interest.com

The first thing that needs to be done is to rationalize the ridiculous admissions processes of US universities. With every so-called reform, it seems to get worse. It should *not* be based on holistic criteria. That is just code for admissions officers to choose more people like themselves. It should be based on a test, graded blindly. This means Harvard might get too many Asians and not enough Jews. Well, it happens. There would be even fewer Irish-Catholics, so I suppose I should complain, but I won't. No extra points for being an athlete, a social justice warrior, or whatever. We have Oxford and Cambridge to imitate. We don't have to invent anything. I predict none of this will happen, especially not in a Clinton administration.

March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Hillary Clinton's litany of scandal

Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States.

But here's the thing: Hillary Clinton isn't fit to be president either.

via theweek.com

And there you have it, folks.

March 31, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Marquette Warrior: Yes, Marquette Wants to Fire Warrior Blogger

The addition of a demand that we abase ourself and issue an apology and sign a loyalty oath to vaguely defined “guiding values” and to the University’s “mission” is obviously a ploy by Marquette to give the administration an excuse to fire us. They have calculated, correctly, that we will do no such thing.

But the ploy is absolutely transparent, and won’t mitigate the realization that Marquette is an intolerant, politically correct institution whose “Catholic mission” is nothing but a marketing gimmick.

And an institution whose administrators have badly miscalculated the costs of trying to silence a tenured faculty member who has caused them embarrassment by revealing misconduct at the institution.

via www.mu-warrior.blogspot.com

This imbroglio at Marquette is shocking, but not surprising. I do hope the Marquette Warrior figures out how to hang on. I admit, my inclination would be to avoid any such conflict at my home institution, but fortunately for me, none has arisen, yet. I *think* our undergraduate faculty is liberal enough to allow a student to express his opposition to gay marriage, so this exact controversy probably would not arise. But it's dirty bird, etc., etc.

One would think this would be a no-brainer, at a "Catholic University." But it's not so simple. I do think some of our university's biggest donors are probably not all that fond of gay marriage themselves, which creates some space on campus for such views. Perhaps you're thinking -- freedom of thought! Freedom of speech! O ho ho. How droll.

And we're not a Jesuit* institution. For you non-Catholics in the audience, the Jesuits are a storied and ancient order within the Church that exists outside of the usual ecclesiastical discipline. Their anti-Enlightenment credentials are as impeccable as they get. They seem to have transitioned directly from anti-liberalism of the right to anti-liberalism of the left. This probably happened in the 1960s. That's when most things went to hell.

We on the other hand are "an independent Catholic university," which means in practice that we strive to remain Catholic enough so that the Bishop of San Diego can sit comfortably on our Board of Trustees. For my money, this makes us more Catholic than any old Jesuit institution. But your mileage may vary. If you had to appeal your attachment to some position, say opposition to gay marriage or abortion, which led you to do something as rash as express that view in class, up the hierarchy, I would much rather come before a body on which the Bishop sat than a bunch of Jesuits. Then you could claim as a defense that you were just being Catholic. That might work here, but I wouldn't be surprized if it failed before the Jesuits.

I don't trust the Jesuits. They make good exorcists though. Yes, the Pope is a Jesuit. I'm sure it gets very complicated. How very odd, though, that someone who say opposed or supported abortion should find more freedom at least on the right, attached to a religious university than surely he would in a secular one.

Anyway, you go Marquette Warrior. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

*So a young priest wanted a new car and he asked his spiritual adviser, a Franciscan, if it would be OK for him to say a novena for a Lexus. The Franciscan asked "What's a Lexus?" The priest went to an old friend, a Dominican, and asked, could he say a novena for a Lexus. The Dominican asked, "What's a Lexus?" Finally, the priest went to a Jesuit and asked could he say a novena for a Lexus. The Jesuit asked, "What's a novena?" Old joke.  [spelling corrected -- h/t SM]

March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (2)

California’s plan for $15 minimum wage could have huge effect | The Sacramento Bee

A landmark plan to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 by 2022 could create sweeping changes across the industries that rely on low-wage workers and improve the living standards for millions of Californians employed in farm fields, restaurants and retail stores.

via www.sacbee.com

Of course, some unions get exceptions, so they don't have to pay minimum wage, giving them a relative monopoly on what jobs there are. And this will increase unemployment of course. Many more will go underground, paying cash. Expect bigger globs of potential day workers at Home Depot.

March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Corporations Grow Nervous About Participating in Republican Convention - The New York Times

Some of the country’s best-known corporations are nervously grappling with what role they should play at the Republican National Convention, given the likely nomination of Donald J. Trump, whose divisive candidacy has alienated many women, African-Americans and Hispanics.

via www.nytimes.com

O brother.

March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Exclusive: Most Americans support torture against terror suspects - poll | Reuters

Republicans were more accepting of torture to elicit information than Democrats: 82 percent of Republicans said torture is "often" or "sometimes" justified, compared with 53 percent of Democrats. 

via www.reuters.com

This is a fairly stupid issue.

March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)