Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mark Steyn on Richard Dawkins getting dumped at Berkeley


Notice how the shriveling of free expression smoothly proceeds to the next diminished staging post: Once upon a time, Berkeley professed to believe in free speech. Then it believed in free speech except for “hate speech”. Now it supports “serious” free speech, but not “hurtful” speech.

Well, we live in a world of hurt. Personally, I’m hurt by people who say they don’t like my cat album, or by the director’s decision to give me purple hair in this video. But what’s really hurtful is that KPFA and Berkeley can’t even be bothered to pretend to a principled defense of free speech. What is “serious” free speech? Not so long ago, arguments for same-sex marriage or tampons for menstruating men would have been dismissed as utterly unserious – indeed, preposterous. What KPFA means by “serious” speech is compliant, conformist speech that brooks no ideological dissent from the pieties of the day – on male menstruation, climate change, Islam, and whatever’s next on the list. You can be as “hurtful” as you like to cardinals but not imams, to climate deniers but not climate alarmists, to homophobic pastry chefs but not to gay newlyweds.

Its “emphatic support” of “serious free speech” is, thus, merely a regime of apostasy enforcement – which is why it has no place for an atheist such as Dawkins. More.

Mark is onto something here, but the underlying issue is that Berkeley, and thousands of other campuses, are not actually interested in ideas anymore. They do not want to be “hurt” because that is all that would happen to them. They are not attracted to ideas and cannot deal with them.

Thought experiment: What if Muhammed Ali had declined to fight Joe Frazier because Frazier might “hurt” him? Well, yes, he might. But wouldn’t that tell us that Ali did not really want to win the contention as much as he wanted to be safe?

It’s reasonable to want to be safe but achievement comes of taking risks, and campuses no longer wish to risk genuine contentions of ideas. Thin-skinned Muslims are even handier than thin-skinned sexual identity groups for the purpose of jettisoning the idea that one should be prepared for conflict of ideas.

Some think that in the age of the internet, university is mostly over anyway. There needs to be a better way for people who really want to learn to think and to defend what they believe to get an education.

Just in: Berkeley radio station cancels Richard Dawkins event over his criticism of Islam:

As for Dawkins’ question about why Islam gets a free pass, one reason is the constant use of the bogus term “Islamophobia” which invites people to engage in a category error, equating criticism of Islam to racism. Indeed, not surprisingly, that’s at least part of what happened here. From the NY Times:

Henry Norr, a former KPFA board member, criticized Mr. Dawkins in a July 17 email to the station. “Yes, he’s a rationalist, an atheist and an advocate of the science of evolution — great, so am I,” Mr. Norr wrote. “But he’s also an outspoken Islamophobe — have you done your homework about that?”

Many people who want to discuss world tensions intelligently and honestly will be trapped by that category error, which will be just fine with the tax- and loan-funded universities.

See also: Evolution News and Views on Dawkins dumped from Berkeley: Did it serve him right?


Dawkins dumped from Berkeley due to “hurtful words”


A play about RCAF Bomber Command in WWII with no ghastly preaching?

Yes, it can be done. I saw a wonderful play about Canadians in Bomber Command in WWII out in Millbrook, Ontario. It gives me hope for the arts in Canada.

RCAF No. 6 Group aircrew walking to their Handley Page Halifax bomber in October 1944. (Photo: Department of National Defence PL-3394) The play is Bombers: Reaping the Whirlwind:

At its peak in the early 1940s, No. 6 Group Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) comprised 15 heavy bomber squadrons that operated in Europe out of airfields in Yorkshire, England. The squadrons in No. 6 Group raided U-boat bases in France and conducted night bombing raids on industrial complexes and urban centres in Germany. In all, No. 6 Group flew 40,822 sorties and dropped 126,122 tons of bombs — and lost 814 aircraft and 4,203 airmen in the process.

“This play is an incredible tribute to the men and women who served, most of whom are no longer with us,” says 4th Line Theatre’s Managing Artistic Director Kim Blackwell. “And for their families, who work tirelessly to ensure the sacrifice is not forgotten, Bombers allows them to honour their family members.”

It was a moving experience for those of us whose fathers were RCAF airmen. It showed the suffering on both sides and the pain that survivors carried with them into old age.

But it was handled with dignity. There was not a single leftist [horsehole] in the entire story.

Canada’s stories can be told with authenticity. It is sad to think of the many decades lost to precious artistes, blathering about themselves and their largely unshared angst on government grants over the last 60 years.

Not that they did it and got paid for it but that they drowned out so many better, truer, and more important stories.


Here’s a putdown of the Amish: Some thoughts

From History in Orbit:

These facts about the Amish might revise some of the assumptions you had about what life in their world actually looks like. Some of their cultural practices are charming, and some are downright bizarre. More.

Reality check: It is only dangerous/illegal to write that sort of thing about grievance and entitlement identity groups. Which is part of what’s wrong with the progressive promotion of such groups at the expense of others.

It shouldn’t be dangerous/illegal to write that kind of thing about any group. The punishment for serious offences should be social disgrace, a presumption that the author is not someone we want to know, introduce as a friend, hire, or promote. That’s how a civil society should deal with genuine bigotry.

Progressive tyranny does not produce civil society; it produces tyrants, grievance mongers, snitches, suck-ups, dim but contented cows, and the like. All waiting their chance at revenge.

See also: Bookstore employee frets at selling un-PC book


Man threatens little girl who set up a lemonade stand with police

From Tom Knighton at PJ Media:

Once upon a time, a child’s lemonade stand was a rite of passage, the proverbial toe in the water of entrepreneurship. Enterprising youngsters would throw together some lemonade, set up a stand somewhere — either in their yard or a local park —and set up shop.

No, they didn’t have business licenses, but hey, they’re kids. No adult would begrudge a child a lemonade stand, right?

Well, it seems there’s always one jackwagon who has to crush a child’s spirit, and a child in Discover Bay, Calif., ran into him.

It kind of makes me wonder if he pulls up to drug dealers and asks them for their business licenses. Or is it just easier to pick on a small child? More.

Reality check: From a progressive perspective, the girl’s parents are abusing her. They are teaching her creative ways to make a living doing something useful when the government, swollen with ‘crats whom technology has made obsolete*, need her to be a useless, demanding, unpleasant little bag of needs, entitlements, and grievances. Pressure groups, social planners, and helping professionals can make a good living off people like that.

* People who used to type, file, and clerk concerning modest regulations need something else to do now that machines have made the tasks for which they were qualified obsolete. Ever more regulation, intrusion, and enforcement is the obvious solution. In the longer term, the cultivation of people who need regulating, intruding, and enforcing is the only path the progressive can now take.

See also: Bernie Sanders’ wife tried to kick group home for disabled from college property Maybe they were not needed just then as props in the costume drama of Virtue.


Bookstore employee frets at selling un-PC book

From Tom Knighton at PJ Media:

When my wife and I first started dating, I worked as a retail drone at a chain bookstore. One of the things I had to do at the time was help people find books that I didn’t care for. From what I’d grown up referring to as “cheap, trashy romance novels” to political books that simply annoyed me, I helped my customers find them all and never really thought much about it. After all, I wasn’t paid for my opinions on most of those books unless a customer asked me, and then I’d reply that I hadn’t read it so I couldn’t tell them anything. However, at least one person who is currently in that position doesn’t seem to understand this. More.

The “Banned in Boston” shelf censor to whom he refers wrote:

Working at an independent bookstore in the Greater Boston area, I find myself having some variation of this conversation a few times a week. To be fair, bookselling, like any retail or service job, comes with its fair share of repetitions. For example, the sales pitch for our loyalty program is so ingrained in me that it comes pouring out in a breathless flurry of words. Such things are largely innocuous, a necessary (if not occasionally tedious) part of the job. But when it comes to the above conversation concerning J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir, there is something a bit more personal at stake, viz. my moral objection to the book that has become, for conservatives and liberals alike, a means of understanding the rise of “Trumpism.” And while it’s easy enough to take this moral high ground, it comes into direct conflict with that old chestnut about the customer always being right, to which even the most fiercely independent of bookstores largely adhere.

I don’t intend to review Elegy here. More capable pieces have already been written about the book’s “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” message, its condemnation of a supposed culture of poverty, its dismissal of the working class’s material reality as a determining factor in their lives, and its callous claim that the welfare state only reinforces a cycle of dependency. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because these are the same rightwing talking points that have been leveled at the working class and poor for decades. As if that weren’t enough, the book also boasts glowing blurbs from the likes of…

Reality check: What “Banned in Boston” mainly doesn’t understand is that he is one of the reasons Trump got elected. Americans feel they need their freedom more than they need his opinion. But if the world was as he’d like, it would be impossible to have an honest discussion of causes of poverty in a once-free society.

See also: Trump forcing people to choose


Why so much traditional mainstream news now sounds like oppo research

Because it is, literally. From Lee Smith at Tablet,

Fusion GPS was founded in 2009—before the social media wave destroyed most of the remaining structures of 20th-century American journalism—by two Wall Street Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. They picked up former colleagues from the Journal, Tom Catan, and Neil King, Jr., who were also well-respected by their peers. When the social media wave hit two years later, print media’s last hopes for profitability vanished, and Facebook became the actual publisher of most of the news that Americans consumed. Opposition research and comms shops like Fusion GPS became the news-rooms—with investigative teams and foreign bureaus—that newspapers could no longer afford.

As top reporters themselves, the principals of Fusion GPS knew exactly what their former colleagues needed in order to package and sell stories to their editors and bosses. More.

Reality check: Which explains why so much news about progressive government sounds like PR and so much news about government for free people sounds like oppo research. Many laid off reporters now work openly at packaging the oppo research as news.

See also: 100 New York Times reporters accept “death panel” buyouts


New York Times sent three reporters to Rebel Live 2017


100 New York Times reporters accept “death panel” buyouts

In the form of buyout packages. From Keith J. Post at New York Post, we learn that 100 emplyees have accepted death panel buyout packages. From Adm Shaw at Breitbart:

Grant Glickson, the president of the employee’s union NewsGuild, told the New York Post that the Times had eliminated the title of copy editor and had offered buyouts to some reporters, photographers, and design staff. However, the Post notes that while the newsroom has been gutted by 100 employees after what it deemed the Times’ “death panels,” it is not clear whether involuntary redundancies will follow.

Of course they will. Shaw also notes, re a recent pushback from employees:

Breitbart News reported at the time that the protest was curiously low-energy, with many staffers refusing to talk to reporters — especially Breitbart News.

Newsroom staff had penned a letter to management expressing their grievances and painting a picture of devastating morale in the newsroom.

Reality check: In their hearts, they know that going digital will not save them. Online media is the home of the upheld handheld, not of Gray Lady gatekeepers. Everyone who didn’t waste time at J-school knows it. Essentially, the people who are still there are not the brightest or the best anyway.

See also: New York Times sent three reporters to Rebel Live 2017


What Mechanical Analog Computing Looked Like Before They Were Displaced by Modern Digital Computing

Just sit back and admire what it took to not only conceive of such a machine in the 19th century, but to design and build such a thing back then.

There are three other videos in the series, but just sit through the first one. Give it a chance.

My father, who had a foot in both the analog and digital computing worlds, admitted that digital computing was “better” but when analysing why a program, an equation, or some other type of mathematical model failed, and how it failed, that analog computers gave you much better clues as where to look for the cause of that failure, where when digital computers failed, you just got back a bunch of garbage.


Breaking: Richard Dawkins dumped from Berkeley due to “hurtful words”

Just like Coulter and Yiannopoulos?

From Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist:

Richard Dawkins has a new collection of essays coming out next month in a book called Science in the Soul. Naturally, he’ll be visiting the U.S. on a book tour.

One of the stops was going to be in Berkeley, California on August 9. It was sponsored by KPFA, a progressive radio station in the area, in a city known for being the hotbed of liberal activism.

But that talk has now been canceled. More.

Jerry Coyne quotes the cancellation notice:

We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.

KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech. While KPFA emphatically supports serious free speech, we do not support abusive speech. We apologize for not having had broader knowledge of Dawkins views much earlier. We also apologize to all those inconvenienced by this cancellation. Your ticket purchases will automatically be refunded by Brown Paper Tickets.

KPFA Radio 94.1 FM

They did not tell Dawkins  this in advance.

Look on the bright side: No one who should be taken seriously will ever buy a ticket from Brown Paper Tickets again. Unless they like intellectual baby food. Takes all kinds, right? And it is good to actually know who they are.

More  from Coyne:

KPFA, like so many, is guilty of confusing free speech with “abusive speech”, banning a talk, and thus depriving people of the chance to hear Richard–and probably ask him questions or even criticize him.

Coyne doesn’t grasp, it seems, that to a millennial progressive, all free speech is by definition abusive speech because it is uttered without taking all of his sensitivities into account. Coyne’ll learn.

An appeal from  Uncommon Descent to progressive scholars and intellectuals: If the local censorious relent and Dawkins does come to Berkeley, please don’t torch cars. We realize that human beings don’t matter to you but the practice is bad for The Environment and murder on underground insects.

See also: The war on intellectual freedom: How political correctness morphed into a monster.

The war on freedom is rotting our intellectual life: In a world governed by naturalism, power is its own justification. That is the single hardest thing for opponents of rampant political correctness to grasp.

When professors stifle freedom of thought :These protest movements are not 1960s retro; they are a flat-out war on reality, conducted by seasoned veterans with a lot at stake.

Don’t expect a quick end to the war on free speech: The momentum of the campaign will be hard to stop


How can we defend the right to think for ourselves? You need true grit and a thick skin


Saudi prince arrested by furious King Salman after video ‘showing him viciously beating blood-soaked men and women’ goes viral

A man appearing to be the Saudi prince waves a gun at the camera as pals laugh


A SAUDI prince has been arrested on the orders of the country’s King Salman after footage emerged appearing to show him beating people — including defenceless women. Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Musaed bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud — known as Prince Abdulaziz — seemingly launched attacks on his innocent subjects with pals.

…Bloodied victims could be seen looking to the camera before a figure appears to hold up a rifle as a terrified man is led with his hands over his head.

Another citizen runs in fear as one of the prince’s entourage seems to thump him in the back of his head.

Other shocking clips show Abdulaziz allegedly waving a gun towards the camera while jeering friends laugh.

Hijab-clad women can also be seen fleeing in terror as a voice screams at them.

A man’s voice says: “You park by my house, I’ll screw your mother in her grave” in another appalling video.


City of Ghosts: Citizen journalism is the future

But hardly an easy one. From Meredith Bragg at Reason TV:

The website Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) publishes firsthand accounts of the war crimes of ISIS in often horrific detail. City of Ghosts, a new documentary by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman, tells the story of the citizen journalists who risk their lives to tell the world about the atrocities committed by the Islamic State.

“After ISIS took over the city there really was not any information going in or any information going out,” explains Heineman. “There were no western journalists there. They would be killed instantly. So this group really provided a service to the world to help understand the atrocities that were being committed in their hometown, which just happened to be the capital of the Islamic State.”

Heineman and RBSS Co-founder Abdalaziz “Aziz” Alhamza sat down with Reason to discuss how these citizen journalists are risking their lives to counter ISIS propaganda. More.

Reality check: The Big Cool can’t be down there on the ground and also freaking out over Trump’s tweets at the same time. For who they are, they have chosen wisely.

See also: New York Times layoffs “humiliating”


New York Times Sent Three Reporters To The Rebel Media’s Live 2017 Celebration. The age of the upheld handheld.


Involuntary euthanasia push: Charlie Gard safe till July 25

From Micaiah Bilger at Life News:

Charlie is an 11-month-old British infant who suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease, and his parents want to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment. They raised more than $1 million for his care, and said they want to give Charlie every chance at life.More.

Reality check: But the EU decided he should die, and Brits did not turn out to have the guts to just Brexit.

This is not only involuntary euthanasia but explicitly against the wishes of those able to give consent.

Anyone who accepts any kind of Euro-welfare is vulnerable. It will start to happen here too as the progressive state ramps up ownership of humans (we re just animals anyway, right?) and decides where to put its tax dollars when managing the farm.

See also: But WHY The Surprise That 431 People Were Involuntarily Euthanized In The Netherlands?