Lindsey Stirling

h/t My Muse Shanked Me

I'd never run into MSgt B before tonight when I wandered in on a Lindsey Stirling video link, but he's got a Nathanial Rateliff video up and a dog that eats lawnmowers, so I figure he'd fit in here.

Smaller libraries

Martin Amis on re-reading the authors whose voices you hear best:
I find another thing about getting older is that your library gets not bigger but smaller, that you return to the key writers who seem to speak to you with a special intimacy. Others you admire or are bored by, but these writers seem to awaken something in you.
For me the two, the twin peaks, like two mountains, are Saul Bellow and Nabokov. And those two I go on reading and rereading. And the great thing about the great books is that it’s like having an infinite library, because every five years you can read them again and the books haven’t changed but you have. And they seem to renew themselves, transform themselves for you.
So you can never say you’ve read a novel. Nabokov always said, funnily enough, you can’t read a novel, you can only reread a novel. If you listen to music, you don’t say, “That’s it.” If it speaks to you then you play it dozens of times, and you probably won’t like that piece of music until you get to know it. It’s the same with a novel. You have to know the kind of thing a novel is, you have to know what it’s about, and the second time you read a novel you can see how this is achieved.
When I teach literature I always tell them, these would-be writers (we don’t do workshops, we just read great books), I say, “When you read Pride and Prejudice, don’t if you’re a girl identify with Elizabeth Bennet, if you’re a boy with Darcy. Identify with the author, not with the characters.” All good readers do that automatically, but I think it’s helpful to make that clear. Your affinity is not with the characters, always with the writer.

NRO On Why Hillary Wasn't Indicted

This has been Mr. Hines' theory all along.

Is this MRAP Really Necessary?

Police go after unarmed "water protectors" in full kit.

OK, I get that the law has sided with the corporation here, and thus that these protests are a kind of trespassing that the police have a duty to stop. However....

"After the Republic"

If it is not res publica, it is because the government has turned against the people:
The Democratic Party—regardless of its standard bearer—would use its victory to drive the transformations that it has already wrought on America to quantitative and qualitative levels that not even its members can imagine. We can be sure of that because what it has done and is doing is rooted in a logic that has animated the ruling class for a century, and because that logic has shaped the minds and hearts of millions of this class’s members, supporters, and wannabes.

That logic’s essence, expressed variously by Herbert Croly and Woodrow Wilson, FDR’s brains trust, intellectuals of both the old and the new Left, choked back and blurted out by progressive politicians, is this: America’s constitutional republic had given the American people too much latitude to be who they are, that is: religiously and socially reactionary, ignorant, even pathological, barriers to Progress. Thankfully, an enlightened minority exists with the expertise and the duty to disperse the religious obscurantism, the hypocritical talk of piety, freedom, and equality, which excuses Americans’ racism, sexism, greed, and rape of the environment. As we progressives take up our proper responsibilities, Americans will no longer live politically according to their prejudices; they will be ruled administratively according to scientific knowledge.
Emphasis added.

Of Course She Did

Preparation is easy when you get the test questions a week in advance.

Is anybody surprised by this?

UPDATE: Ironically, an article on how dangerous it would be if the American people came to believe the election was rigged.

The right question

A lot of the debate coverage is an argument over which candidate won the kind of contest the author thinks should matter to the rest of us.
Drew McCoy wrote, “Before declaring one ‘the winner’ and the other ‘the loser,’ consider their goals, their specific audiences, etc. Did they accomplish them?”
What did blue-collar voters in swing states get from Hillary Clinton in this debate? What did college-educated whites in the suburbs get from Trump in this debate?
Glenn Reynolds calls it a draw on the ground that Trump didn't throw anything and Clinton didn't cough up blood.  Others point out that although Trump's arguments were lackluster, all he really needed to do was appear calm enough to dispel his persistent portrayal as a nut job; from there he can rely on the desperate desire of many voters for a change, any change.

Joe Bob Briggs was right on point:
I’ve got news for these Rhodes Scholars. People don’t care about who’s prepared. They care about who’s lying and, in this case, who’s lying more than the other liar. . . . This is where we end up—two liars arguing over who’s the bigger liar and who’s more crazy. Trump probably wins that argument, simply because all his sins were under the rubric of surviving in a brutal business world, whereas all Hillary’s were committed while serving as an office holder.

First Convention of States Simulation Completed

The first ever, historic Convention of States Simulation is now complete. One-hundred and thirty-seven delegates representing every state in the nation convened in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, Sept. 21-23. It was an amazing experience and the Convention operated flawlessly. If you watch the live stream link below, we know you'll agree.

Click over to read the whole report and watch the vids.

Here is a summary of the amendments agreed upon:

1. Requiring the states to approve any increase in the national debt
2. Term limits on Congress
3. Limiting federal overreach by returning the Commerce Clause to its original meaning
4. Limiting the power of federal regulations by giving an easy congressional override
5. Require a super majority for federal taxes and repeal the 16th Amendment
6. Give the states (by a 3/5ths vote) the power to abrogate any federal law, regulation or executive order.

And here's a PDF with the full amendments. Interesting stuff.

It's good, but I am disappointed that no check on the Supreme Court made it through.

Joe Bob Renders Judgment

Here is his summation of the debate.

UPDATE: It may be his style, but here as in the last long piece I cited from him, you have to read to the very end to get the point.

Analysis of an Analysis of the Alt-Right

There's a lot packed into this WaPo article which purports to analyze changes in the alt-right community over the last 9 months. The method of analysis, relying on new machine-assisted text analysis techniques, and the conclusions from that are interesting, and the article suggests a method for "de-radicalizing" people in the alt-right. How to change minds is a big question, and their suggestions seem good in general (not just for changing the alt-right), if difficult to accomplish.

On the other hand, the definitions and assumptions given by the author tell us a lot about the team that did the analysis. I wonder if we don't learn more about them than the alt-right.

We also find out that Facebook, Twitter, Google, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and ExitUSA have been working together to change minds within the alt-right. That's a bit creepy.

I don't have time to get into it right now, but if anyone cares to read it, I'll be back to discuss this evening.

Jill Stein Arrested For Trying to Participate in Presidential Debate

And boy, you can see why. I'm sure we're all grateful to the powers that be for making sure that only quality candidates like those two show up on our national stage.

I've heard her talk several times now. I don't agree with her about much of anything, but she's far and away smarter than either of those two. She has a better command of the issues as well.

Changing the Definition of Rape

I was unaware, until this morning, that the FBI had changed the definition of the crime "rape" for the purposes of its Uniform Crime Reports. We've discussed these reports at times. There are some known issues with them, but they are also the main tool that we have for trying to understand crime rates at the national level.

A change in the definition of a crime is a major change, as it means you lose backwards compatibility that would allow you to compare earlier years. Such a change should therefore be done only if there is some extremely good reason for doing it. Rape itself is not new, and indeed almost certainly more ancient than human history. So what could be driving a change in our understanding of it, if it is not a change in the nature of the offense itself?

Let's look at the definitions.
Previously, offense data for forcible rape were collected under the legacy UCR definition: the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Beginning with the 2013 data year, the term “forcible” was removed from the offense title, and the definition was changed. The revised UCR definition of rape is: penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. Attempts or assaults to commit rape are also included in the statistics presented here; however, statutory rape and incest are excluded.
So there are two particularly significant changes:

1) The old definition stated explicitly that only females could be raped.

2) The old definition was interested only in cases in which force was used to effect the rape, whereas the new definition doesn't care about the issue of force at all. It is only interested in whether or not there was consent.

If the issue of prison rape is taken seriously, just the first change should more than double the incidence of rape in America. It would also put an end to a statistical anomaly: rape has heretofore been the only violent crime that women suffer more often than men, and that will no longer be true. (So far they don't seem to be considering prison rape in these statistics, as the rate jumps according to the definition only from 24.0 to 39.0, and not to ~50+.)

The removal of force from the definition won't change the statistics as much as the change that removes the restriction against men being considered rape victims, but it is still also a very significant change to the standard.

Tomorrow's Debate

The Legendary Joe Bob Briggs will be live-"tweeting" the whole thing. I'm planning to read his summary rather than watching it myself. Given that the word of neither of these clowns can bear a feather's weight of trust, the words that they say will not matter one tiny little bit. Their words are empty and hollow.

The only thing that does matter is the spectacle, and how it sways human hearts. Joe Bob Briggs is a master at understanding this kind of blood-and-gore, low-budget, badly-acted, unbelievable farce. He's made his career out of performances like this. No one could be a better guide.

New Social Media Platforms

I dislike facebook and have been looking for other social media platforms. Have any of you tried any of these? If so, what did you think?

Codias: The Social Network for Conservatives -- This site seems more like a way to organize for political action and less of a way to share interesting pics and stories with friends. It's still in beta testing, but I signed up just to check it out. Apparently a week or so ago you had to swear an oath to join, but I didn't have to today. The People First Social Network -- A Twitter replacement? It apparently focuses on allowing users to control what they see rather than stopping people from posting offensive material. Emma Grey Ellis at Wired seems to think it's already alt-right dominated.

MeWe looks like a possible replacement for facebook. Its advertising focuses on privacy:

We are social creatures by nature and private people by right. That’s why MeWe offers the power of self-expression delivered under the umbrella of safety. 
At MeWe, you can enjoy amazing online experiences that give you the freedom and safety to be and share the real you. 
As individuals, our creativity and innermost thoughts require privacy. It’s how we change ourselves and the world. That’s why we believe that everyone should have the right to be their uncensored self online, without worrying about who can watch and where our information goes.
I like their Privacy Bill of Rights (click the pop-up link on their main page):

  1. You own your personal information & content. It is explicitly not ours.
  2. You will never receive a targeted advertisement or 3rd party content based on what you do or say online. We think that's creepy.
  3. You see every post in timeline order from your friends, family & groups. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your content or what you see.
  4. Permissions & privacy are your rights. You control them.
  5. You control who can access your content.
  6. You control what, if anything, others can see in member searches.
  7. We're a private network. That means we do not track or profile you.
  8. Your privacy means we do not share your personal information with anyone.
  9. Your emojis are for you and your friends. We do not monitor or mine your data.
  10. Your face is your business. We do not use facial recognition technology.
  11. You have the right to delete your account and take your content with you at any time.
Diaspora looks interesting as well. This is the first social network site (that I've seen, anyway) where they let you choose where your data is stored, so you could opt for a country that has stronger privacy laws. They also explicitly allow pseudonyms, and they provide integration for cross-posting to facebook, Twitter, etc.

Are there others you would recommend checking out?