View 824, Monday, May 12, 2014
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009
If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.
Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983
Sterling’s wife vows to keep Clippers share, NBA says no
The NBA has said that neither Sterling’s wife, nor any of his children, nor even the husband of his daughter, may have anything to do with the ownership of the NBA team Los Angeles Clippers, which he has owned for decades; and this is because in what he thought was a private conversation (not in a public statement) he told his mistress that he did not want her to appear in public with black athletes, and specifically not to bring Magic Johnson as her escort to a Clippers game.
Now the NBA is a private organization (but of course chartered as a corporation under law), so it is not the same as a government imposing this penalty, but it is still a penalty that the government needs to enforce (assuming that anyone is still left living after all the court cases are resolved and that the ownership is worth anything after all the lawyers have been paid). And we have here Thoughtcrime – assuming, as everyone does, that Sterling is a racist at heart. Publicly he has two NAACP lifetime achievement awards and a number of other records of charitable donations to minority benefits, and there is certainly no evidence of racism affecting his decisions in hiring coaches and players. We also have guilt of Thoughtcrime by association: I haven’t seen evidence of the racism of Mrs. Sterling, nor of her children nor of their spouses. And we have the reinvention of Corruption of Blood, a punishment specifically listed and forbidden in the US Constitution.
For a very long time real estate deeds had restrictive covenants: agreements that the buyer of this property would not sell to certain people or certain classes of people. It was on effective way of enforcing segregated neighborhoods: this wasn’t a state action, it was a contract, and the buyer knew when he bought the property that he (or she) could not sell it to people of color. These covenants remain in some real estate deeds in some states to this day – but they have no effect, because the courts refuse to enforce them.
So we now have an NBA covenant requiring the government to apply the punishment of corruption of blood to Sterling’s Thoughtcrime.
I don’t want to get the reputation of being Sterling’s defender. I have no brief to Mr. Sterling, and I have never met him. I’m not a racist unless you define a firm belief that the law ought to be colorblind as some form of racism; I have believed that the law ought to be colorblind since I was in tenth grade and lived in Memphis which was then legally segregated, and my only sympathizers for this remarkable view were the Brothers at Christian Brothers High School. But I am concerned that in our zeal for equality we destroy other important rights and principles. Die Gedanken sind frei. My thought are free. Of course this was at one time the cry of liberalism and enlightened thought. You may be prosecuted for what you do, but not what you think. And that led to the notion of speech and advocacy, that one ought to be free to state and argue for your views.
One of the charges against Senator McCarthy was that he believed in guilt by association. If you associated with Reds, you’re a Red, if you hang out with Communists you are an enemy of the Republic. And of course he was said to believe in Thoughtcrime, and he was thoroughly denounced, not merely by left wingers but eventually by a coalition of decent people who had had enough. (Incidentally, it is no defense of McCarthy, but Bill Buckley’s historical novel The Red Hunter is the best depiction and explanation of that era that I know.)
But we are now seeing defenses for reviving Guilt by Association and the punishment of Corruption of Blood when the Thoughtcrime is racism. Racism has become the unforgiveable Thoughtcrime.
Now realistically it is not likely that the players will play their hearts out to enrich the Sterlings, any of them, or any relatives they might have, and the NBA has very good reasons to want the Sterlings out of the game forever. I understand that, but there are principles at stake here, and they are important.
Latest on NBA
The NBA is saying that if Donald Sterling is forced to sell the team, his wife loses her percentage of ownership as well.
Where in American law is a private corporation (the NBA) permitted to take away her property? SHE has not violated their rules, so the NBA has no legal or moral right to punish her for someone else’s actions or words.
I think this is going to turn around and snakebite professional sports organizations. The NBA will lose in court, and with that, will lose much of their power over their leagues, teams, owners, etc. Maybe it’s about time.
Myself, I don’t care one way or the other about the NBA, NFL, MLB, etc.
But it IS fun to watch this whole thing play out, as the Thought Taliban go after the designated bad guys (while the rest cheer, to keep attention away from their own comments and attitudes). Pass the popcorn!
A related subject:
The Closing of the Collegiate Mind
Opponents of free speech have chalked up many campus victories lately as ideological conformity marches on.
By Ruth Wisse
There was a time when people looking for intellectual debate turned away from politics to the university. Political backrooms bred slogans and bagmen; universities fostered educated discussion. But when students in the 1960s began occupying university property like the thugs of regimes America was fighting abroad, the venues gradually reversed. Open debate is now protected only in the polity: In universities, muggers prevail.
Assaults on intellectual and political freedom have been making headlines. Pressure from faculty egged on by Muslim groups induced Brandeis University last month not to grant Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the proponent of women’s rights under Islam, an intended honorary degree at its convocation. This was a replay of 1994, when Brandeis faculty demanded that trustees rescind their decision to award an honorary degree to Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. In each case, a faculty cabal joined by (let us charitably say) ignorant students promoted the value of repression over the values of America’s liberal democracy.
Opponents of free speech have lately chalked up many such victories: New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly prevented from speaking at Brown University in November; a lecture by Charles Murray canceled by Azusa Pacific University in April; Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state and national-security adviser under the George W. Bush administration, harassed earlier this month into declining the invitation by Rutgers University to address this year’s convocation.
The entire essay is worth your reading. Many of the best known universities have abandoned the principle of rational debate: some dissent is automatically wrong, Thoughtcrime, and cannot be allowed on campus.
Meanwhile, in the real world, JoAnne observes:
What is life like for a Christian in Palestine?
Quoting from the video’s description:
"Christy, a Palestinian Christian shared her political views and experiences on the internal events that happened regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, and as a consequence her family is being intimidated, threatened and harassed.
Christy herself has also received death threats in the UK since speaking on camera. Her family are in a serious situation. She is making a public plea to Dr. Saeb Erekat to honour the promise he made to her personally on Al Jazeera TV."
Here is more about it from "The Federalist".
Her life is precisely that of any non-Muslim who happens to believe in a singular God in a Muslim dominated land. Pagan or atheist non-Muslims in a Muslim land are dead, slaves, or hostages.
Speak out against Sharia and what happens? Pamela Geller has the answer, from Saudi Arabia. 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes.
“Free Saudi Liberals” website founder sentenced to 10 years jail, thousand lashes http://pamelageller.com/2014/05/free-saudi-liberals-website-founder-sentenced-10-years-jail-thousand-lashes.html
So what do our wonderful liberal institutions here in the US do? The Washington Post says we have to stop saying anything that upsets Muslims.
Washington Post calls for Islamic restrictions on internet free speech http://pamelageller.com/2014/05/washington-post-calls-muslim-restriction-internet-free-speech.html/
There is so much of this "stuff" going on it’s hard to subject others to seeing it. That’s why I’ve tended to be quiet about for the last year or two.
It is simply getting too raw. So I had to speak out again at least once. I do NOT want the US to become another Britain.
Clitoridectomy ‘Parties’ Being Held in UK, MPs Warned http://pamelageller.com/2014/05/clitoridectomy-parties-held-uk-mps-warned.html
Unfortunately as Geller mentions, it’s already becoming a problem here in the US.
Let’s not fall into the internal warfare that is tearing Nigeria apart. They have the lovely slavers called "Boko Haram" kidnapping children and selling them as sex slaves. AND NO MUSLIMS ARE SPEAKING OUT AGAINST IT. Where is CAIR?
Where is MSA? Where are any of the other mosques and Muslim institutions in the US who should be speaking out against this very vigorously if they were in any way civilized.
Yes, it is a problem in the US already and we’re trying to look the other way and not see it. We’re trying to Chamberlain it. We’re trying to create the seeds for our own doom. It’s time we stopped sniffing the roses and realized we’re knee deep in offal.
And I have not forgotten that there is now a great new incentive for traffic in very young human slaves, now that there is evidence that young rat blood revitalizes old rats, and evidence for the theory that the same will be true for humans.
We live in an increasingly dangerous world, and rational discourse is no longer valued in the most prestigious American academic institutions. We have sown the wind, we reap the whirlwind and denounce those to decry it.
Snow Continues Over Colorado, Wyoming
The cause must be global warming, of course. And in fact if the Believers are correct, it indeed must be: they have no other explanations of climate events (and no explanation at all of some climatic events such as the Nino/Nina cycles).
There are also tornadoes in Nebraska.
The current CO2 level is about 400 parts per million, up from preindustrial levels of about 280. Arrhenius about the turn of the 20th Century predicted a rise in global temperature of about 6.0 C would follow a doubling of the CO2 level of 1900. He later adjusted that to 1.6 C. http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm#S1 Back when the fear was of Global Cooling dominated meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the theory was put forward that minor warming of the atmosphere might bring about more transport of water vapor to colder areas, thus increasing the amount of ice and bring about accelerated cooling. When contemplating a return of the Ice Age, there does need to be an account of where the energy for moving all that water from the seas to the land comes from. This used to be a major field of study, but it is mostly neglected now.
There is no questioning that the Earth is now warming after the Little Ice Age. There is no compelling evidence that it has warmed more that it did during the Viking period (Medieval Warm), and that it had been colder during the chaotic times known as the Dark Ages when Rome fell. CO2 levels for those time periods have various estimates, but none are as dramatic as the increase since 1900.
We don’t understand climate, but it is pretty hard to blame it all on CO2.
And continuing the discussion of operating systems (see last night’s mail bag):
Interesting to see OS/2 mentioned by Kieth. I was a Member of IBM’s OS/2 Corporate Council for several years prior to my retirement in 1995.
If the IBM Marketers had been half as smart as the Developers, OS/2 might be the dominant Desktop and Laptop OS today.
To go back in time a bit farther we can look at the "Common Wisdom" that IBM was a great Marketing Company. Great Marketing Companies do not try to push their top sales people into management positions because they are making too much money on commission. Ross Perot left IBM because of this. IBM had always been an excellent Technology Company, not so much Marketing.
In Corporate Council Meetings the OS/2 Developers were always interested in our feedback. The Marketing people, by and large, always knew best and paid no attention to us. At the last meeting I attended in early 1995 we tried to explain that the "real" decision makers for a Corporate Desktop OS were the end users that wanted to use the same OS at work that they used at home. The Marketers believed that Corporate IT Groups made the decision.
Forces within IBM wanted to recapture the PC hardware market by using their proprietary RISC Processor in place of Intel’s x86 CPU’s in hardware dubbed Power PCI. BM spent a lot of OS/2 development resources creating a Power PC version of OS/2. The only Power PCs I ever saw were at a Computer City Store I visited in Los Angeles to buy HP ink cartridges at 1/2 price. It was not too long after that that Computer City disappeared.
In the early days of OS/2, when Microsoft and IBM were still partners, Bill Gates tried to convince IBM that continuing to support the 80286 16 bit processor was wasting development resources and should be dropped in favor of making OS/2 a 32 bit OS. Bill finally went along with IBM’s desire to continue support for the 286 and it was not too much longer before MS and IBM went their separate ways.
Decisions like this by IBM were, unfortunately, quite common. When IBM introduced the PS/2 and MicroChannel in 1987, they included a 16 bit model utilizing the 80286 processor. At the same time they discontinued their best selling PC AT models. Marketing Genius at work. Get rid of your best selling model and dilute the impact of your new architecture by having a crippled 16 bit model that also used a hard disk with a horribly slow access time.
Jerry, you are absolutely right about IBM’s lack of support for software developers. The Marketers at IBM evidently saw the OS/2 SDK as a profit center rather than a way to enable the success of OS/2. At the same time IBM’s strategy to entice companies like Word Perfect, Lotus and other established companies to develop OS/2 Versions of their products appeared to be as effective as tossing large bundles of cash into the sewer. The OS/2 Apps that this effort were bloated pigs that had all of the performance of a Snail coated with Super Glue. IBM had provided cash incentives, but no real help to ensure Apps that showed off OS/2’s unique abilities. The WordPerfect OS/2 APP was an excellent example of an APP that was a slow productivity killer and the OS/2 version of Lotus 123 was not much better.
While all this was going on MS was concentrating on Windows 3 and improving the Office Suite. Then, in 1995, Microsoft dropped the Windows 95 bomb. This was the start of the end for OS/2, WordPerfect and Lotus 123. OS/2 was a much better OS, but Microsoft’s Marketing power coupled with the Rolling Stone’s "Start Me Up" were the final nails in OS2’s coffin.
Looking back I believe that IBM decisions drove most of the nails in that coffin.
They had a chance at a restart when they put Lucy Baney in charge of OS/2 for a time, but there was too much opposition to her among the IBM executives – and of course Small Computers were, after all, the “entry level” computers before people moved on to real computers – IBM mainframes. OS/2 did have an input channel choke point problem. It could have been remedied, but IBM didn’t assign enough resources. After all, the little computers weren’t where the company’s heart was.
The perils of spending on science
A correlation that high must be significant at the 90% level, surely? As taught in Stat for Soc Sci…
There was both a View and a Mail last night. They’re just below here. That’s not always obvious from the structure of this place.
In digging about last night I came across http://www.jerrypournelle.com/science/velikovsky.htm this summary of the Velikovsky affair, another time in which Big Science had a Consensus. No, it’s not an attempt to persuade you that Velikovsky had it right or was even close to that; it’s about the panic he caused and the strange measures Big Science took to suppress him. Similarities to Climate Change Believers and Deniers may not be entirely coincidental.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.