Author Archives: Denyse O'Leary

Even leftish media seem down on the Oscars now

From BJ Pang Chieh Ho and Mathew Olson at Digg:

On the bad side: the Academy is soldiering on without a host after dropping Kevin Hart for his history of homophobic comments. “Green Book,” criticized as a dopey “white people’s guide to racism,” movie, angered the family of musician Dr. Don Shirley and was directed by Peter Farrelly, whose previously reported on-set “pranking” reeks of pre-Time’s Up, quietly-ignored misconduct. Meanwhile, many “Bohemian Rhapsody” viewers found its moralizing over Freddy Mercury’s sexuality quite regressive, and it was directed in part by alleged predator Bryan Singer.More.

(Some of us remember when the left considered sin and vice interesting.)


From Drew Vagary at The Concourse:

They won’t even have a host this year because Kevin Hart made an ass of himself, but they’ll STILL find a way to overstuff this affair with speeches from humorless trustees, montages about how Movies Are Special, and an In Memoriam reel that won’t even include anyone who died in Avengers: Infinity War.

It’s gonna be the same tacky, bloated mess it’s always been, which is why it’s time for myself and the Deadspin staff to dig in and hate this year’s group of nominees properly. And holy shit do some of these nominees deserve it. See for yourself! More.

Reality check: When even Hollywood isn’t Woke enough for you, take up knitting. Actually, knitting recently went Woke too and the needles were flying (“whiteness in knitting”).

See also: That’s not funny. The Onion is losing money Too much Woke, not enough joke?


Science is unravelling in Venezuela

From Jim Daley at Scientific American,

Research has ground to a halt, and many scientists have left the country out of desperation …

“At all levels of the national scientific establishment, inexperienced professionals with little scientific or technical knowledge or background have been assigned to positions of authority,” says Ruth Castillo Ochoa, a philosopher of physics who left Venezuela in 2017 after she says the lack of food and basic services—combined with military repression—made life unbearable. She contends authorities at the MPPEUCT are appointed based on loyalty to the regime. “This approach excludes a constructive dialogue with the research and development community and reduces academic performance freedom,” she says.

It’s called socialism. It makes everyone equal. What business has anyone pretending they know more about anything at all than the regime’s loyal supporters do? Such elitism mustn’t be tolerated.

At least, if the scientists give up, the starving arts faculty can eat the lab rats.

See also: Shortage of baristas looms! Only five students taking “gender studies” course


Amazon, it turns out, was fleeing to New York to escape Seattle socialism

Well, that answers another question I had.

From business prof Jay Richards at Mind Matters:

From the beginning, it was clear that Amazon was seeking to build a second headquarters because of the extremely hostile climate of Seattle, where it is headquartered. AOC and other progressives in New York did everything they could to repeat the mistakes of Seattle.

Because they don’t see them as mistakes. Also:

And Doug Ford? He has given Amazon a “direct line” to his office at Queen’s Park in Toronto, Canada. Doubtless, American mayors and governors are keeping abreast and making discreet arrangements as well. We live in interesting times. More.

Reality check: Richards is author of The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines, a look at the winners and losers in the new economy.

See also: Understanding why the NYC progressives kited Amazon


Is pedophilia next on the sexual revolution’s agenda?

From Stella Morabito at the Federalist:

There are two main avenues to legalizing adult sexual relations with pre-pubescent children: 1) to designate it as a sexual orientation; and 2) to lower—or abolish—the age of consent for sexual activity. Both efforts are on track by pedophilia advocates, especially in academia and in the mass media. Take a look at this TED Talk released last year, in which the speaker chides us: “Let’s be mature about pedophilia.”

The speaker, Madeleine Van Der Bruggen, makes the case that pedophilia is simply a sexual orientation that can be neither chosen nor changed. She appeals us to “stop with the hate!” (sound familiar?). She argues that everybody probably knows someone with a pedophilic interest. And, really, they’re just like you. Most don’t talk about it because it’s illegal. Imagine, she asks, if you’re told you could never act on your passion? She implores us to imagine “how lonely” that must be…

The academic literature is also getting much bolder by publishing increasing numbers of articles in support of both avenues: designation as sexual orientation and re-considering age of consent. More.

Reality check: Generally, when advocates adopt that kind of language, they sense they are starting to win. Here’s a thought experiment: If progressives win the next few elections, what do you think will happen in this area?

Support could, of course, be tacit in the sense that people who want legal sex with children could support a given candidate’s political campaign without really telling the public why. But the candidate sort of knows that they expect something in return if their candidate wins – maybe just passivity in the face of those pushing the agenda. It would go down easier that way among people who just do not want to know.

See also: Why infanticide is going mainstream


25,000 jobs kaput! New York’s progressives bemoan the high cost of wokeness

From Mary Chastain at Legal Insurrection:

Now Amazon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Gov. Chris Cuomo, and others have ripped into Ocasio-Cortez not only for her behavior to push out Amazon, but how she is cheering loudly over the decision. An Amazon spokesperson said the congresswoman and other lawmakers “made it a hostile environment to do business.” …

Panelist Donny Deutsch explained that this behavior puts us “in a dangerous place” and if Democrats “don’t start to speak up against people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is young and dynamic but does not know what she’s talking about, they’re going to hand the presidency back to Donald Trump.” More.

Reality check: The fundamental question is whether New Yorkers would rather have jobs and investments or welfare and outrage. Ocasio-Cortez is so visible a symbol of the choice that just watching what happens to her career will answer a lot of questions about the future.

See also: Interest in the Superbowl declines as its “wokeness” rises


Sure enough, Gillette is a sunset business anyway… By experience, I find that the Get Woke Go Broke people are, more often than not, already subject to market forces that bode no good for them. They are parasitized by the raging Woke when they are already weakened.


Understanding why the NYC progressives kited Amazon

From Noah Rothman at Commentary:

This is a strange new species of success. It’s one thing to be philosophically opposed to tax incentives of any sort for firms that meet the requirements arbitrarily imposed on them by the political class, but that’s not the progressive left’s objection here. They don’t want a freer and flatter tax structure. The don’t oppose using tax policy to induce certain behaviors from companies and individuals. They just didn’t like this company, in part, because of its conspicuous success…

Progressive politicians like Ocasio-Cortez are responding to a new incentive structure. It used to be that their constituents rewarded politicians for attracting businesses to their districts. But for a political class that views private enterprise with suspicion, large firms like Amazon and the affluence they create represents a threat. Today, Ocasio-Cortez and her allies are celebrating a victory. But when Amazon invests in a more deserving economic climate than New York’s and the fruits of that venture are being enjoyed elsewhere, that victory is going to look more like the pyrrhic sort.More.

Reality check: The new incentive structure, both in New York City and in any progressive-run venue in Canada as well is that you pay taxes for their lifestyle and consider yourself unworthy of so great a privilege.

See also: Shortage of baristas looms! Only five students taking “gender studies” course! (Progressives will ask, why should students finance gender studies courses by working at Amazon? Taxpayers can fund it all and consider ourselves lucky for a chance to do so. Indeed, tax money will be employing the graduates all their lives if progressives have their way. But if progressives lose, there will be five more “Would you like whipped cream with that?”s in the workplace.)


Facebook bans Wrongthink on Jussie Smollett

From Rod Dreher at American Conservative:

Facebook will not allow its users to read my commentary on Jussie Smollett’s apparent hate hoax.

Facebook will apparently not allow its users to say that police believe Smollett, a black gay actor, may have paid his two “assailants” to attack him last month, and blamed it on white Trump supporters — this, even though that is being reported by multiple national media outlets …

Just after typing that line, the same friend who sent out the tiny url blocked by Facebook texted to say that Facebook is no longer blocking my Jussie Smollett post. If true, that’s good news — but the fact that FB blocked it in the first place is a very troubling sign. I’m not going to reinstate my account. I’m done with Facebook. More.

Reality check: Some think conservatives made a mistake leaving the blogosphere for progressive-dominated social media. They’re probably right.

See also: The real problem, US media tell us, is that Republicans “pounce on” Democrats


That’s not funny. The Onion is losing money

From Jeremy Barr at The Hollywood Reporter:

Earlier in the day, the company reported that its English-language digital businesses, which includes The Onion, lost $32.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to just $3 million in the same quarter a year earlier. But the losses were even greater in the third quarter of 2018, with the company reporting a loss of $96.1 million for the U.S. digital brands.

Univision is still looking for a buyer for the Gizmodo Media Group properties, which the company still believes to be strong. More.

Reality check: I wondered if it was just me but maybe not; I didn’t think the Onion was that funny in recent years. Too much Woke, not enough joke?

It would be interesting to see whether accelerating Wokeness is harming a lot of these media brands.

See also: Microsoft will kindly pick the news you read: Huffpost YES! Drudge NO!


Should we ban killer robots and let hostile powers develop them?

That’s the real decision, according to computer science prof Robert J. Marks at Mind Matters:

My position counters that of over a thousand AI experts who put their X on a letter demanding a ban of all autonomous weapons in 2015. Celebrity signatories included the late Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Apple’s Steve Wozniak, Noam Chomsky, and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn.

These luminaries are looking at their feet rather than over the landscape of behavioral and historical reality. …

The problem is, constructing offensive autonomous AI weapons is a lot easier that developing the atomic bomb was. Autonomous AI weapons are potentially within the reach of terrorists, madmen, and hostile regimes like Iran and North Korea. As with nuclear warheads, we need autonomous AI to counteract possible enemy deployment while avoiding its use ourselves. More.

Reality check: Why do people think that North America has never been nuked? Because the world’s dictators would not go that far morally?

See also: Top Ten AI hypes of 2018 The problem with believing the hype and nonsense about AI, Marks warns, is that we won’t know a real threat when we see one.


What if Pope Francis resigned?

Along the lines of my original intention as a faithful Catholic, to write about the ongoing meltdown from the perspective of “Who is honestly trying to answer questions I really have?”:

From William Kilpatrick at The Catholic Thing:

The reason that the resignation of the pope alone is not sufficient to bring about reform is that, as things stand now, the election of the next pope will be largely in the hands of cardinals created by Francis. Of the cardinal electors, 59 have been appointed by Francis, 47 by Pope Benedict XVI and 19 by Pope John Paul II. And those appointed by Benedict and John Paul are quite probably near the cut-off age for voting.

Moreover, if Fr. James Martin is to be believed, Pope Francis has purposely “appointed gay-friendly bishops and archbishops and cardinals.” Like Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Pope Francis seems to choose his “team” with an eye toward ideological conformity

The presence of so many Francis appointees in the College of Cardinals puts a crimp in another scenario. Some Catholics who have given up on the hope that Francis will seriously tackle the abuse crisis, think that all that is necessary is to wait him out. They reason that he is getting along in years, and is unlikely to reign much longer. But this too ignores the fact that Francis has already stacked the College of Cardinals with prelates who are made in his own image, and who are therefore likely to elect someone like him. More.

Reality check: A really “woke” Church would not actually care that much about its own survival, come to think about it. One can put a Big Cool spin on anything.

Note: Archbishop McCarrick has been defrocked (“fired”) as a priest but analysts say that means little, considering that his power base at the Vatican is intact.

See also: Pope warns Catholics, don’t expect too much from sex abuse summit


Pope Francis fiddles while the Church burns Odd that Francis is committed to social justice for everyone and everything except people harmed and wronged by the institutional Church. But, come to think of it, that makes him an exemplary progressive.


Microsoft will kindly pick the news you read

And how nice of them. From Harmeet K. Dhillon at The Daily Caller:

Now a familiar player is getting into the censorship game: Microsoft just announced that the tech giant’s Edge web browser will feature a “NewsGuard” plugin that will display a big red exclamation mark and a scolding warning when users view news outlets its censors dislike. Media outlets hand-selected by NewsGuard and Microsoft, on the other hand, will get a big friendly green check mark and flattering praise of their journalistic merit. More.

Of course, you are steered to Huffington Post and away from Drudge.

Reality check: Edge is one of the least popular web browsers and may become less popular now that it has decided to be Nanny. Probably, the only way that getting Woke doesn’t lead to going Broke is if a country morphs into an authoritarian hellhole and the media become the state’s propaganda arm. Just think of the people who would suddenly become very important.

See also: Why Twitter censors went nuts over “learn to code”


Could DNA be hacked, like software?

File:DNA simple.svg It’s already been done. As a language, DNA can carry malicious messages:

People often say that our genome is like a language. For example, a recent science paper explains that “genomes appear similar to natural language texts, and protein domains can be treated as analogs of words.” For that reason, DNA can be used to encode messages …

In August 2017, researchers announced that they had used DNA to encode malware to hack a computer program that reads genetic sequences: What the researchers did was to write a piece of attack software that, 37% of the time, survived translation from physical DNA to FASTQ, a digital storage format for DNA sequences and then could get into the computer’s memory and start running whatever it was coded to do. More.

That’s enough to cause a lot of trouble. The researchers did it as a test, to demonstrate that we need to be concerned about future developments in this area.

See also: How a computer programmer looks at DNA And finds it to be “amazing” code

Your phone knows everything now And in a world where no data is anonymous, yours may be sold to the highest bidder


The $60 billion-dollar medical data market is coming under scrutiny As a patient, you do not own the data and are not as anonymous as you think


The real problem, US media tell us, is that Republicans “pounce on” Democrats

From Ben Shapiro at Townhall:

Two weeks ago, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam stated in an interview that he favors legislation that would allow a woman to abort a baby at the point of dilation and then added that in certain cases in which a baby would be born alive, the baby would be kept “comfortable” while parents and doctors decide what to do with it. This seems rather radical. Here was the Washington Post’s take, as said in a headline: “Republicans seize on liberal positions to paint Democrats as radical.” The positions, you see, are actually mainstream. It’s just that Republicans seized on them and painted them as radical. More.

Reality check: Shapiro cites several other examples from media coverage. It’s telling how these media have so little interest in actual news coverage as opposed to news manipulation. There’s a risk that some would stop us from getting information elsewhere if they could.

See also: What made the Covington high school boys a story anyway?


Columnist misses the point about the Democrats

From Derek Hunter at Townhall:

Democrats preach tolerance while celebrating the hatred of Israel. They award themselves the mantle of “champions of women” while one of their own is credibly accused of rape. They actively cheer legalizing infanticide, then deny the did it. They decry racism while backing off calls for the resignations of 2 statewide officials with a history of painting themselves in blackface. More.

Reality check: His anger is easier to understand than his proposed solution. What happens when the Democrats or Liberals are not in power to chip away at the right to live or intellectual freedom or whatever their target is? Republicans or Conservatives replace them and diddle around for years collecting pay and perks until the real power is back.

The Republicans hate Donald Trump because he actually intends to do something. Whether what he wants to do is good or bad, that’s not allowed. If we had someone like that in Canada, the Conservatives would hate that person.

Prediction: Now that the Liberals here have put the media on welfare, the Conservatives, if they come to power, will refuse to dump them off it. Then the media will campaign all out for the Liberals to come back to power again, so they can get ever more and bigger welfare. They can trash us all and force us to pay for it. And as for dumping the CBC off the public purse, forget it. Even Harper didn’t do that.

There is no point wasting energy hating the Democrats or the Liberals unless and until there is a real alternative to them.

See also: Roundup of thoughts on the 1000-strong US media layoffs


Why infanticide is going mainstream

From Wesley J.Smith at First Things:

The events of the last few weeks have moved the “Neuhaus Gauge” on infanticide from “debatable” to “justifiable” because it is now being embraced within the political and cultural mainstream. New York recently legalized late-term abortion and repealed a law requiring doctors to care for babies who survive abortions. A similar Virginia proposal made huge news but failed in committee. Rhode Island has a similar bill pending, supported by its governor. Meanwhile a Vermont bill aims to make abortion an absolute right without any limitation as to time of gestation, purpose, or method. The bill has 91 co-sponsors.

Further evidence can be seen in the support Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam received after asserting that babies who survive late-term abortion can legally be left to die. More.

Reality check: In the age of euthanasia, we are all “the fetus” now so it was bound to spill over from abortion.

It’s not that anyone is exactly planning this, it’s that things will work out the easiest this way: In a society that slowly becomes thoroughly accustomed to the idea that a person should be able to choose to die whenever they want, a progressive government needs only to supply the circumstances in which they want it. To people also accustomed to relying on government, the government can promise large and provide little. Long lineups for health care, loneliness in old age, and homelessness (high among people with mental issues) will create the circumstances in which people wish for death and frequent euthanasia will take the edge off the problems.

See also: Some Dutch worry that euthanasia has “gone too far.” Exactly. Was there something else they wanted to know?