VPFL Week 12

71 Greenfield Grizzlies (9-3-0)
44 King (5-7-0)

82 Mounds View Meerkats (7-5-0)
76 Favre Dollar Footlongs (5-7-0)

75 Bane Cornshuckers (8-4-0)
52 Boot Hill Bogs (2-9-1)

85 Texas Chili Eaters (7-4-1)
73 RR Redbeards (7-5-0)

108 Gilbert Gamma Rays (7-5-0)
48 Clerical Errs (2-10-0)

The playoff race is tightening up, as only the defending champions look safe. Four teams are essentially out already, leaving five teams ranging from 8-4 to 7-5 battling for four spots. No one has a particularly easier schedule, so a lot of it is going to come down to head-to-head competition.


The Ministry of Lies

With its recent public statement on Syria, the U.S. government has gone full 1984:

The US has seized on Syrian air force strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa to denounce Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and push for his government’s removal. For the past three years, the Obama administration has backed anti-Assad militias in Syria. The main aim of its new Middle Eastern war remains regime-change in Damascus.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Wednesday said the US was “horrified” by reports that Syrian air strikes the previous day killed scores of civilians. She condemned the Syrian regime’s “continued slaughter of Syria civilians” and “callous disregard for human life,” declaring that “Assad long ago lost all legitimacy to govern.”

According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 95 people were killed in the air strikes on Tuesday, including 52 civilians. A Raqqa activist with the Syrian opposition network—the Local Co-ordination Committees—told the BBC that further deaths were likely because only one hospital was operating normally in the city and “a lot of people [are] dying from their wounds.” Both organisations are aligned with the pro-Western opposition in Syria that is hostile to both Assad and ISIS.

 Meanwhile:

Although the US-led coalition has conducted about 300 air strikes in Syria since September, it has evidently failed to weaken the Islamic State, stated Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem. “All the indications say that (Islamic State) today, after two months of coalition air strikes, is not weaker,” Walid al-Moualem emphasized in an interview with the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV broadcast, as quoted by Reuters.

It’s like a very bad, very dark joke. Washington is denouncing Syrian air strikes on the Islamic State while simultaneously launching 300 of its own air strikes on the Islamic State in Syrian territory.

Do you still seriously question the obvious fact that the US government are the bad guys here? Do good guys ever behave in a manner indistinguishable from Orwell’s fictional monsters? Do you still wonder why fewer and fewer people believe a single word coming out of the U.S. federal government? Perhaps the biggest irony is that Washington is decrying Syrian air strikes that caused LESS collateral damage, in percentage terms, than the AVERAGE U.S. air strike.

If Assad’s government is said to have lost its legitimacy to govern on the basis of a single day’s air strikes, has not the U.S. government also lost its legitimacy on the basis of the hundreds of air strikes it launched over the course of three months?  I also note that this further supports William S. Lind’s statement about the effectiveness of air power:

“Air power works against you, not for you. It kills lots of people who
weren’t your enemy, recruiting their relatives, friends and fellow
tribesmen to become your enemies. In this kind of war, bombers are as
useful as 420mm siege mortars.”

 –  from “Incapable of Learning”, ON WAR


Temperatures rising in the East

Taiwan hasn’t declared independence yet. But they are clearly moving in that direction, apparently in response to the Chinese crackdowns in Hong Kong. From Generational Dynamics:

Taiwan’s ruling nationalist party KMT (Kuomintang) suffered disastrous losses in local elections across Taiwan on Saturday, giving victories to the opposing DPP (Democratic Progressive Party), and forcing the resignation of the prime minister. Thousands of municipalities, including the capital city Taipei, that had been ruled for years by KMT mayors and politicians will not be ruled by DPP mayors and politicians.

The Kuomintang (KMT) is the modern day incarnation of Chiang Kai-shek’s original nationalist party of soldiers that fought against Mao Zedong’s Communist Revolution and lost, and fled to Hong Kong, then a British colony, and from there to Formosa (Taiwan) in 1949, at the conclusion of the civil war. The KMT position has always been that Taiwan would reunite with China.

KMT held an iron grip on power in Taiwan after the war, and that only began to fade in the 1980s with the founding of the DPP. However, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, which people in Taiwan viewed with horror, proved to be a catalyst in turning Taiwanese people against Beijing, and by 2000 the DPP won a national election. A DPP corruption scandal in 2006 put KMT back into power, and KMT officials have been working closely with Beijing officials to woo Taiwan’s public to voluntarily want reunite with China.

The policy hasn’t really been effective. There are two groups of people who don’t want to reunite. One group is the indigenous Taiwanese people who lived there before 1949, and who have suffered at the hands of the KMT. Young people generally form the second group, and they distrust China and they distrust the KMT for selling out to China.

The problem isn’t that the Red Navy is capable of defeating the US Navy. It isn’t. But it increasingly looks capable of giving the US Navy a seriously bloody nose if it intervenes in cross-strait hostilities between China and Taiwan, and never forget, the Chinese always play a long game. And there is no way, none, that the American people have any stomach whatsoever for war with China after thirteen years of pointless and desultory war in Afghanistan.

I suspect the Chinese may be aware of that, which may explain why so many of their wealthy are stashing their children and buying up properties in the USA. I doubt there will be any open war, but there will likely be growing pressure being exerted on Taiwan with the threat of force behind it.


Loro stanno con Rosetta

If the feminists were upset about Matt Taylor’s shirt, this Italian pro-science movement should absolutely explode their minds. I look forward to the AAS’s statement on Tette per la Scienza. And to think people wonder why I love Italy and the Italians. They’re simply awesome. But Meg Urry and her friends at AAS need not worry, as the female founder has assured us there is absolutely no risk that Tette per la Scienza will reinforce sexism in Italy. #NoShirtGate

I can’t even imagine what will happen if the Italians ever embrace the “I F—— Love Science” meme. Come mai dicono cosi? Che pornografia? Non esiste! Facciamo SCIENZA!

Rosetta, you may recall, is the European Space Agency vehicle that landed on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.


A thief is a thief

Whether he wears a badge or not:

What Lanier portrays as crippling criminal enterprises appears to be equally targeted towards separating users from their next fix — or simply separating random “suspects” from whatever they happen to have in their wallets.

Since 2009, D.C. officers have made more than 12,000 seizures under city and federal laws, according to records and data obtained from the city by The Washington Post through the District’s open records law. Half of the more than $5.5 million in cash seizures were for $141 or less, with more than a thousand for less than $20.

Because the system is primed for abuse, legislation has been introduced that would overhaul the city’s asset forfeiture program, raising the threshold of proof needed to justify a seizure as well as forcing a majority of funds to be routed into the city’s general fund. Unsurprisingly, cops aren’t fans of the proposed legislation.

[T]he bill has been opposed by law enforcement officials, partly for the same reason other reform efforts across the country have been stymied: money. The officials also said it would create an administrative burden. In addition to tightening oversight and the rules for civil seizures, the District proposal would cut back on revenue.

No policeman who has ever participated in a civil asset forfeiture can be declared innocent of thievery. Nor is it correct to point the finger and blame politicians when the police themselves are actively lobbying against legislation that would place the burden of proof concerning the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the ownership of the individual’s property on the accuser rather than on the owner.

In their commendable respect for authority, conservatives often tend to forget that authority can be legitimate or illegitimate, as well as honest or corrupt. They also tend to ignore the fact that every single totalitarian and authoritarian state in history has had a police force which the people quickly learned to fear and hate. After all, one can hardly have a police state without police.

Like it or not, “law enforcement officials” are actively attempting to undermine the remnants of the Constitutional limits on policing the public in their own pecuniary interest. An extrapolation from the DC data indicates that around 2.9 million Americans who are accused of committing no crime other than carrying $150 dollars or less have been robbed by these police thieves; will the defenders of asset forfeiture attempt to evade the point by demanding to know why these individuals are in possession of such outrageous sums of money?

The decent, law-abiding police of yesteryear are simply not germane to the subject. They are retired or dead. The police of today do not wear the same uniforms, carry the same weapons, or operate under the same rules of engagement. One can no more exonerate the police of today by appealing to the behavior of the police of yesteryear than one can argue for the scientific precision of biology by appealing to the accuracy of physics.

It is not police critics like me who are traducing the reputations of the good policemen of the past. It is their corrupt and lawless successors who are doing so through their actions.


Female Supremacy: The Endless Quest

It seems Martin van Creveld may need to reconsider the title of his forthcoming work for Castalia House in light of how feminists are not even pretending feminism is about equality anymore:

Girls write more complex programs and learn more about coding than boys when it comes to making computer games, a study has found.

A group of 12 – 13-year old pupils spent eight weeks developing their own 3D role playing games as part of the University of Sussex study. Dr Kate Howland and Dr Judith Good developed Flip, a programming language which uses a simple interface to help the pupils string together scripts, basic programs which trigger a change within the game, such as a message popping up once a treasure chest is opened.

The girls used seven triggers within the games, almost twice as many as the boys of the group, and were much more successful at creating complex scripts with two or more parts and conditional clauses. Boys had a tendency to build their triggers around when a character said something, the most first and most simple trigger the class learned. 

The games were created using software made available with fantasy game
Neverwinter Nights 2, while Flip also translated the programs into English
to help the students understand the scripts they’d created.

In other words, if adults dumb down a male activity and require girls to do it, the female interest in doing well scholastically and obediently pleasing their authority figures will cause them to outperform boys who just want to shoot people and blow things up.

Naturally, this not-at-all cherry-planted-watered-and-carefully-harvested discovery completely supersedes forty years and hundreds of billions of dollars worth of economic activity created by young men who never had to be taught or encouraged to do anything. Many of us old school developers were actively discouraged from doing what we did; some of us don’t even have college degrees of any kind.

Did you even need to see the names to know that the “scientists” were women? This is precisely why the big push to get more women in STEM is certain to fail. Even when they manage to shepherd women through the educational process, most of them turn out to be more interested in fashion and thought-policing than they are in, you know, anything that resembles actual science.


Star Wars 2015

I haven’t paid any attention whatsoever to the Star Wars universe since seeing what was called Episode I. Not the games, not the movies, not the animated LEGO cartoons, nothing. So, I’ll have to wait and see what the verdict is on this Episode VII before I even think about bothering to see it. It would be nice to think that Disney isn’t going to make an even bigger fiasco of the franchise than George Lucas did, but I’m not particularly optimistic. Let’s face it, Disney movies all have one basic theme these days: the supreme importance of being yourself.


Bubblicious

They’re partying like it’s 1999:

Many of the “users” on social media sites aren’t real people at all – they’re celebrity staff tweeting on behalf of their employer, or PRs promoting a company, or even fake accounts for people that don’t exist at all. In fact, half of all Twitter accounts created in 2013 have already been deleted.

These fake accounts are often created by unscrupulous firms that will beef up your follower count in return for cold hard cash. “Twitter is in the centre of public interest and politicians or companies are often ranked by number of followers or re-tweets or the like – so, there is a whole “web optimisation” industry offering services to make you look better on Twitter – everybody can buy 10,000 followers for $5,” Pfeffer said.

Emphasis added. I’ve been using Twitter more over the last few weeks thanks to GamerGate, and while it’s a useful tool, its utility is strictly limited. I’m a little surprised Google hasn’t launched a competitor yet, but the problem with Twitter is the same as it is with all self-expression platforms: most people simply don’t have all that much to say.

We all know why the stock market bubble exists; all that Fed money has to go somewhere. But an economy based on the value of companies making it possible to pass very short virtual texts around strikes me as one of the few things dumber than simply making leaves legal tender.


Thieves with badges

The U.S. police are not longer entitled to absolutely any respect or presumption of innocence anymore. They are, quite literally, trained highwaymen:

The stop of the gamblers in Iowa on April 15, 2013, illustrates some of the highway interdiction methods in use nationwide. Earlier
that morning, an officer in Illinois alerted an Iowa trooper to a
suspicious red car with Nevada license plates driving west, court
records show. When the Altima appeared in Iowa, Trooper Simmons followed
it for several miles before pulling it over. He told the motorists that
they had been stopped for failing to signal when they passed a black
SUV.

Simmons said he was issuing a warning for the failure to
signal. After handing over the paperwork, he said the stop was over.
Then he asked the driver, Newmerzhycky, if he had “time for just a
couple quick questions.”

Police who specialize in highway
interdiction use casual conversations to avoid triggering legal
questions about the length of stops. If the conversations are
consensual, courts consider the added delay to be legal.

Highway
police are trained to use the chats as an opportunity to take stock of
alleged “indicators” of criminal activity, including nervous speech
patterns, a pulsing carotid artery and inconsistencies in stories. They
are also trained to seek permission for warrantless searches.

Notice that the video proved that Trooper Simmons was lying when he told them why he pulled the two gamblers over. They were correct to doubt his veracity and lie to him in return. Never answer a policeman’s questions. Always ask him if you are arrested, and if not, if you are free to go. If you can, video every interaction with them. They are not the good guys. They are, at best, thieves who prey upon the public.


Is this a satire too?

I invite the reader to compare the difference in the amount of effort McRapey has put in over the years in repeatedly denouncing me for what he imagines to be my White Supremacy, Dudebroism, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, and general Dipshittery with his observed reluctance to similarly denounce his friend Jian Gomeshi, upon whose Canadian radio show he appeared to discuss my imaginary crimes:

The Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit was rather less reticent:

On Friday, October 31, 2014, Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes started an investigation into several allegations of sexual assault. On Wednesday, November 26, 2014, Jian Ghomeshi, 47, of Toronto, surrendered to police. He was charged with:

1) four counts of Sexual Assault

2) Overcome Resistance – Choking

He is scheduled to appear in court early this afternoon. We will notify the media of the court location well in advance of the appearance. 

Now, John Scalzi is a self-admitted rapist (“I’m a rapist. I’m one of those men who likes to force myself on women
without their consent or desire and then batter them sexually.”
) so perhaps that might explain his reluctance to repeatedly and vociferously denounce an actual sex assailant. Again. One can observe that the list of sex criminals with whom he is known to be associated has grown rapidly in the last year:

  • Samuel Delany, SFWA Grand Master
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley, SFWA
  • Ed Kramer, SFWA
  • Jian Gomeshi

There will almost surely be more in the months and years to come. My money would be on a Jim Hines-related scandal, as he not only looks creepy, but has a passion for rape-counseling that strikes me as suspiciously akin to the single, forty-something Assistant Scoutmaster who loves nothing more than to take young boys camping. Perhaps it is merely a case of infelicitous physiognomy, but you have to admit, Hines looks like Central Casting’s idea of a sexual offender. (Seriously, McCreepy, you absolutely need a new PR shot. About the only thing that would make it more damning would be books by Nabokov, Breen, and MZB on the bookshelf behind you.)  Nor can one excuse McRapey on the grounds of “guilt by association” because guilt by association with me is something to which he has repeatedly appealed in attempting to tar Larry Correia and others.

So, is this “satire” again or simply sweet irony?