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September!

All right, then. August is over. Did I miss anything? Just kidding. Back soon, with a spleenful.

Service Notice

It’s August once again, and things will be quieter than usual here for the next couple of weeks — maybe a post or two here and there, but nothing much, probably, till after Labor Day. As always, please feel free to browse our ever-expanding archives, and to try the “Random Post” link at upper right.

Mugged By Reality

Here.

NaCl

In a recent column, Thomas Sowell asked: Is thinking now obsolete? Perhaps it is. Read this label:   This is the sort of blithe and cheery obliviousness that carries me to the brink of despair.

Ethics, Engineering, And Driverless Cars

There’s a great deal of buzz lately about self-driving cars. They were the focus of a couple of sessions when I was at Singularity University a couple of years ago, and Google sent one over so we could get a look at it. The consensus at SU was that they confer so many public benefits […]

Habitat For Humanity

With a hat-tip to Bryce Laliberte, here’s an excellent photographic essay on the appeal of “traditional cities”: cities that are built not for cars or transit systems, but for people.

Loaded For Bear

This bill just passed in Missouri: SCS/SJR 36 – This proposed constitutional amendment, if approved by voters, modifies provisions regarding the right to keep and bear arms. This amendment provides that a citizen has the right to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of […]

Tweet Of The Day

  Ukrainian lawmakers: a renaissance masterpiece (Cloth is pure Veronese, but for subject matter id go with Caravaggio) pic.twitter.com/yFEKTJw4VV — Sam Jones (@samgadjones) August 6, 2014  

Whoops!

This just in: $619 billion missing from federal transparency site That’s billion with a B. Don’t forget, folks: tax day is April 15th. File early to make sure you avoid penalties and late fees.

Motte And Bailey

I’ve just run across (hat-tip to Nick Land) an excellent, and apparently oft-cited, essay by Scott Alexander on the unique terminological characteristics of the various “social-justice” movements. The essay describes a splendid metaphor: the “motte-and-bailey” style of argument. Here’s Section II of Mr. Alexander’s post: I started this post by saying I recently learned there […]

We Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing

Following on our item the other day about cultlike birthday messages from the President, I should mention that just after publishing that post, I got this: Malcolm — I don’t want to make this awkward, but… It looks like you haven’t signed OFA’s birthday card for President Obama yet. Today’s the big day — I […]

Further Reading

In response to our quoting Chang Ch’ao the other day, our reader Alex Leibowitz, a scholar of Chinese literature, has kindly provided further translation of the piece from which our excerpt was taken. 少年读书,如隙中窥月;中年读书,如庭中望月;老年读书,如台上玩月。皆以阅 之浅深,为所得之浅深耳。 Shao3 nian2 du2 shu1, ru2 xi4 zhong1 kui1 yue4; zhong1 nian2 du2 shu1, ru2 ting2 zhong1 wang4 yue4; lao3 nian2 […]

Simple Things

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.” – Churchill

Aflame

Saw this startling item this morning in last night’s NightWatch: Iraq: Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) inflicted a significant defeat on Kurdish militia forces on Saturday. They killed 27 Kurds and routed them from three towns and claim to have taken control of the Mosul Dam, which supplies water […]

Reading

From the 2nd-3rd-century Chinese scholar Chang Ch’ao: Reading books in one’s youth is like looking at the moon through a crevice; reading books in one’s middle age is like looking at the moon in one’s courtyard; and reading books in one’s old age is like looking at the moon on an open terrace. This is […]

Ugh

The world is aflame with war and pestilence. The nation’s borders are dissolving. Our ancient and implacable enemies are ascendant in every quarter. Yesterday I received this email from OFA, Barack Obama’s Ministry of Propaganda: Malcolm – Here’s something you might not know about President Obama: The man really loves pie. And for as long […]

The Womaniferous Aether

I’ve just read an outstanding essay on the paucity of women in high-tech jobs, and the stubbornly persistent (and demonstrably counterfactual) belief that it is caused, not by natural differences between the sexes, but by an invisible fog of sexism. I’d sum up its arguments for you, but it’s so good you should go and […]

Auto-Goal

Ripples continue in the wake of the Halbig decision, over which Obamacare enthusiasts have been getting their knickers in a knot since the ruling came down. In today’s Washington Post, blogger Greg Sargent wrote a detailed item explaining, or so he thought, that the intent of the law was always to provide subsidies to people […]

Going Viral

In case you haven’t heard, the Ebola virus — the same one that gave readers the willies in the 1994 book The Hot Zone — is now out of control, and spreading rapidly, in West Africa. Ebola kills you in horrible ways, and there isn’t any cure. If you catch it, you will almost certainly […]

TERF War

As I wrote some time ago, to observe the culture wars is to realize that grievance is fractal: There’s no limiting principle. And if you watch for a while, you begin to realize that “social injustice” is not only infinite, but fractal. It’s a Julia set of grievances. Zoom in all you like; new affronts […]

Gracián

Every so often one is asked: If you could assemble a dinner party with anyone who ever lived, whom would you invite? For me, the list would have to include Baltasar Gracián y Morales, a Jesuit writer, philosopher, and courtier who lived in seventeenth-century Spain. He’s hardly a household name, but he has always struck […]

The Neoliberal Capitalist Endgame

As Michael Anissimov explains in an excellent essay about class and the history of labor, that endgame culminates in: 70 hours of work a week, no children, no family. We read: The capitalist system pushes us to work as hard as possible to increase our wealth and therefore our social status. In a world with […]

Bullshit-O

The Obamacare Federal-exchange-subsidies plot just thickened a bit, with the discovery online of video of one of the Affordable Care Act’s architects, Jonathan Gruber, explaining in 2012, that the exclusion of Federal health-care exchanges from eligibility for IRS subsidies was no bug, but a feature. Its purpose, Gruber explained, was to pressure the states to […]

Cui Bono?

My late sifu, William Chung, used to quote an old Chinese saying: “Where there is confusion, there is profit.” Here’s an example.

The Seven Gambit

With a hat tip to Bill Vallicella, here’s a dark and piercing essay by Richard Fernandez. The gist: the Devil has the power to make you do evil yourself in order to defeat him — and so you cannot really defeat him at all.

Law And Disorder

Shortly after yesterday’s post, a different circuit court — a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond — ruled on a similar case about the legality of IRS subsidies for health-care plans sold on Federal exchanges. (The language of the Affordable Care Act is absolutely unambiguous about this: […]

The Court? How Many Divisions Does It Have?

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was about to become law, Nancy Pelosi famously scoffed at its critics, many of whom had said the proposed legislation was an incomprehensible dog’s breakfast of a bill, far too complicated for anyone in Congress to understand. “[W]e have to pass the bill so that you can […]

Service Notice

The lovely Nina and I are off to a wedding this weekend up in New Hampshire. There will be much feasting and merriment, but likely very little blogging. Back next week.

July 18, 1969

It was 45 years ago today that the philandering, corpulent drunkard Teddy Kennedy drove his car off a bridge in Chappaquiddick, got himself to safety, and abandoned the young Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in the wreckage. The affair likely cost him the Presidency, but little else. If there is any justice in the hereafter, […]

Divertimento

The world is on fire today. At the moment I have nothing to add, other than to express my sorrow at the death of the great Johnny Winter. I did, however, just have a splendid evening, and I’d rather talk briefly about that. A couple of years ago my lovely wife Nina made the acquaintance, […]

Good On Ya

Australia has repealed its carbon tax. Good for them! Australia’s CO2 emissions are a mere 1% of what China alone produces; the idea that a punitive tax on Australian enterprise was going to rescue the Earth from annihilation was a morally narcissistic fantasy, and its implementation nothing more than an ostentatious act of faith. No […]

Lest We Forget

This from @FoolishReporter on Twitter:  

Questions For Mr. Gore

From meteorologist Joe Bastardi. Here.

Facepalm

Here’s a handy guide from the firearms experts at Rolling Stone: The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America We read: Contrary to what those who defend the right to own high-powered assault rifles believe, not all guns are created equal. Due to a combination of availability, portability and criminal usage the following five types of […]

Comic Relief

The comics used to be escapist entertainment. If you’re trying to find a place to escape the mind-bludgeoning drumbeat of cultural Marxism, though, these days you’d better look somewhere else. Not only is Archie Andrews about to martyr himself in the name of homophilia and hoplophobia (a pacifist, anti-cis-heteropatriarchal twofer!), but now we learn that […]

Feh

Sorry, no post tonight. Too humid.

Nippy

From Watts Up With That: Antarctica continues to defy the global warming script, with a report from Meteo France, that June this year was the coldest Antarctic June ever recorded, at the French Antarctic Dumont d’Urville Station. According to the press release, during June this year, the average temperature was -22.4c (-8.3F), 6.6c (11.9F) lower […]

Not Very Sporting, What?

DARPA apparently has a .50-caliber sniper round, called EXACTO, that can adjust its trajectory in-flight to stay on target. I wonder how it works.

Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue

It’s hard to believe that all the Ramones are now dead, but there it is: Tommy Ramone, the last man standing, died yesterday of cancer.

A Dead Giveaway

Our old e-pal, the estimable Deogolwulf, appears to have caught the Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek in a spot of plagiarism. Žižek is something of a “rock star” in certain Continental circles, and so the affair has attracted some attention — so much so that Newsweek has now run an article about it all. That the […]

Casus Belli

This is vexing.

Karma

Here.

And They Tell Me You Are Brutal

Chicago has been a bloody place lately. Over the Fourth of July weekend, there were 82 shootings, 16 of which were lethal. The reflex of the Left, as always, is to call for more (and in keeping with the relentless impulse of both the Left and of democracies generally, more centralized) government control. Here’s the […]

Unsettled

With the mood among our rulers and their media apparatus becoming increasingly intolerant of what they call climate-change “deniers”, here’s a gratifyingly defiant post from the U.K. Spectator. (That such a viewpoint as reasonable as this should now seem “defiant” is a depressing sign of how far things have come.)

Links

It’s been jam-packed week or so: a family getaway with both our kids (a rarity these days, now that both are grown and our daughter lives in Guangzhou), and plenty to do today upon getting back to New York. (Apologies to those of you who’ve emailed me over the past few days…) Solitude has been […]

Addendum

Following on our previous post, here’s a link I ought to have included: Jeremy Bentham on the Declaration of Independence.

The Course Of Human Events

Happy July Fourth, everybody! Although we generally celebrate Independence Day with carefree and bibulous abandon, it’s important to remember that this is a solemn occasion, and a day to honor America’s timeless founding principles. So it’s good to see that some Independence Day rituals still embody this ennobling tradition. Foremost among these, of course, is […]

Blows Against The Empire

There’s another important court ruling on the way, one that focuses on a serious weakness in the language of the Affordable Care Act. Learn more here. .

Metalwork

Here.

Failed State

The UK is now importing sperm. I am not making this up. (HT: Kevin Kim.)