Thursday, September 25, 2014

On the NFL's Behavioral Issues

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Obama, ISIS, and the Bush Doctrine

What say you?

Totally Worth It

Never pass up a chance to hug your grandma, even if you get a yellow card for it.

Photographing the Flight From ISIS

Photojournalist John Stanmeyer brings images of some 66,000 Syrian Kurds fleeing from ISIS and flooding into Turkey yesterday.

Quote of the Day: Campus Speech Codes

Here's a piece of it:
The increased calls for sensitivity-based censorship represent the dark side of what are otherwise several positive developments for human civilization. ... I believe that we are not passing through some temporary phase in which an out-of-touch and hypersensitive elite attempts — and often fails — to impose its speech-restrictive norms on society. It’s worse than that: people all over the globe are coming to expect emotional and intellectual comfort as though it were a right. This is precisely what you would expect when you train a generation to believe that they have a right not to be offended. Eventually, they stop demanding freedom of speech and start demanding freedom from speech.
Campus speech codes are unconstitutional.  You don't give up your First Amendment rights once you step onto a campus, and you have no right to never be offended.

Oh, related link here.  Apparently it's just as bad  on the other side of the pond.

Nerd News: School Lunches From Around the World

Lunch time!  OK, not to cater to national stereotypes, but I gotta call it as I see it: that British lunch looks completely disgusting.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Quote of the Day: Returning Ghosts

Via Samizdata:
But when we look around in Europe today, we see that not only is Europe not whole and free, we see the ghosts from the painful 20th century returning to our midst. Ghosts that we thought we’d never see again, that we had buried deep in history’s trashbin.

Today, when we look around us, we see it all again. The annexation of territory, the violation of borders, religious conservativism pairing with political authoritarianism and imperialist bravado. 80% of Russians support annexation through military aggression in Crimea, where the Anschluss – and I use that term most seriously here – the Anschluss of territory was justified by the presence of co-ethnics. Moreover, there is widespread support for an anti-liberal attack against decadent Western “permissiveness,” be it in freedom of speech or choice of life-partners. Indeed, we see that liberal democracy has not only failed to win the battle of ideas against authoritarianism, it has failed even to prevent the resurrection of that once vanquished demon, fascism. The nationalist fervor east of us is expressed in arts in a way that makes Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will look like a liberal programme – I suggest you look at the video of the so-called “biker show” staged on August 8 this year in Sevastopol. It is on You Tube. It is a genuine Gesamtkunstwerk. Everything is there – music, art, ballet, motorcycle gangs, it’s all there.

- Estonian President Toomas Hendrik (link to speech transcript)

LOL: Remy vs. ISIS (and NFL)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

LOL: Tweets of the Scottish Independence Vote

By the way, the polls have closed in the Scottish referendum, and you can follow the vote-counting live here

"Should I stay or should I go?" - Scotland

UPDATE: Not going anywhere (which is the smart pragmatic move, frankly).

LOL: P.J. O'Rourke and Iowahawk vs. Scottish Independence Vote

The vote on Scottish independence is today, and P.J. O'Rourke casts a characteristically sardonic and hilarious look at the prospect. This is how it starts:
We Irish don’t hate the Scots per se. They’re too much like us Irish, who all hate each other. So we’re just looking for a fine entertainment from across the Irish Sea as Highland Scots have a donnybrook with Lowland Scots, Glaswegians dust up with Edinburghians, and Clan Dewers unsheathes its claymores for battle with Clan Johnny Walker.
Iowahawk, on the hand, doesn't need to bother with writing an actual piece when he can just tweet stuff like this:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nerd News: Militarizing Campus Cops

We need mortarboards, not mortars.

Food Fight!

Edible things as racial metaphor. 

Nerd News: A Brit-Bashing Portuguese Professor

Dude's got a position at Imperial College, London, so I personally think it's just a little rich that he's turned right round and published a Brit-bashing book back in Portugal.  For extra entertainment, check out this take by a Frenchwoman:
Brit-bashing is a French pursuit, thank you very much – a national sport that we enjoy safe in the knowledge that whatever we throw at Les Rosbifs, they are more than capable of lobbing back at us Frogs. From Joan of Arc to Waterloo and Mers-el-Kébir, we have long known where our most beloved enemy stands: 20 miles and a world away from Calais (never to be surrendered again), in lockstep with us in a love-hate dance . Not for nothing is Wellington’s bust at the British Embassy in Paris displayed next to that of Napoleon . Not for nothing is the inscription on your coat of arms in French; or the fact that we celebrate 1066 (and all that) at Bayeux with the finest and oldest of all tapestries.

So who’s this upstart, insinuating himself right at the heart of our family quarrels?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Couch Potato Chronicles: "Sons of Anarchy"

The long-running TV saga of a California biker gang - I mean, motorcycle club - has been, despite a few flaws and occasional missteps, surprisingly compelling ... and not just because Charlie Hunnam is easy on the eyes or because the soundtrack is so darn good (the music choices are as great as Supernatural's).  The regular cast (anchored by Ron "Hellboy" Perlman and Katey "Peg Bundy" Sagal) is excellent, and the show boasts such guest stars as Peter Weller, David Hasselhoff, Jimmy Smits, Walter Goggins, and Robert Patrick.  I didn't think I would like it, but I gave it a chance, and, well, here I am six seasons later.  The season premiere of the final season is tonight.  Catch up on previous seasons on Netflix! 

Yale Chaplain Resigns After Comments On Anti-Semitism

Turns out that telling Jews that the best antidote to anti-Semitism is pressuring Israel didn't go over too well.  The responses are also worth a look; I'll give you an example (by William Russell Mead of Bard College):
"No, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be a realization among cretins that 'the Jews' are a group of people with very different opinions and desires, that they do not act in concert, and that individual Yale students, for example, of Jewish descent who are American citizens have zero responsibility for any policies of the government of Israel. Anti-Semitism is like racism: most racists don’t think of themselves as racists and most anti-Semites similarly don’t recognize their own twisted prejudice. Perhaps the chaplain at Yale should reflect on the passage in which a well known first century Jewish rabbi urged his followers to take the log out of their own eye before trying to take the splinter out of someone else’s."

Free Music From U2? YES, PLEASE

Rejoice, music lovers!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sunday Sermon: Hype, Heresy, and the Osteens

For La Parisienne and Dr. Doolittle, as we have long been saying exactly this.  Oh, sure, I'm a mean, nasty person for calling out such an inoffensive, smiling nice guy as Joel Osteen, right?  Whatever.  He and his Prosperity Gospel bandwagon are factually wrong in terms of orthodox doctrine, and no number of toothy grins and amazing hairdos is going to turn his pulpit-based motivational speaking into the actual gospel.  

It's marketing genius that tells a bunch of people exactly what they want to hear, but its popularity doesn't mean that it's not a pile of unbiblical hooey. You don't have to be a Christian to see that.  You don't have to adhere to any religion at all. You only have to be a person with neurons and a basic ability to compare one set of statements with another and see that the two don't match.

On a related note: It doesn't matter if Osteen's shallow, happy-slappy, brain-dead, self-centered, "God is my cheerleader" pablum makes you feel good.  "Feeling good about yourself" and "getting stuff" and refusing to talk honestly about sin and human failing are not the point of Christianity.  There, I said it.  

3 Notes on Asia

One:  "Big Yellow Duck Creator Brings Giant White Rabbit to Taiwan"

Two: Starting a Letter with "Dear Kung Fu Panda ..." 

Three: Mooncake industry eclipsed by Chinese corruption crackdown