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Our society's REAL conflict: the authoritarians vs. the idea of America

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....Aaaaaand now Mr. Trump UNsays most of what he should have said Saturday!

It's getting pretty hard to be charitable in interpreting President Trump's... er.... verbalizations. 

Yesterday he finally got around to blaming the people actually responsible for the Charlottesville violence, the racists, and the alt-right (who just happen to include some of his most loyal and fanatical supporters).

Today, he stepped in it again, blaming "both sides" and creating out of his imagination "very violent" demonstrators against the statue of Robert E. Lee which was already going to be removed!

We have a delusional president. He makes up "facts" on the spot as the fancy takes him. It is very, very hard not to question his mental health.

Look. I happen to agree that the statue of General Lee should not be removed. Unlike other Confederate figures, Lee worked hard after the war to reconcile not only North and South but white Southerners to the reality that their former slaves were now fellow citizens. Yes, he was a slaveholder. As the …

All that spin can make a person dizzy!

The AP has run an interesting story on how the Charlottesville disturbances are being reported in the media.

Let me say that after years as a respectable conservative news source, Breitbart has gone so completely alt-right that its credibility is nil. Fox News is... well, Fox News. And a great many of the attempts to "spin" the story in a Trump-friendly fashion involve conspiracies on the part of government and law-enforcement officials which would require a great deal more evidence than is being provided to avoid being dismissed as paranoia or wishful thinking.

Still, the article is a fascinating insight into the state of journalism these days. As long-time readers of this blog know, I believe very strongly that the social, educational, and cultural uniformity of people who work in the media across the board establishes an echo-chamber which guarantees that the news will be filtered through a leftist worldview. This is not a conspiracy. It's simply a consequence of too…

Finally, Mr. Trump says what he should have said Saturday

It took him 48 hours, but President Trump has finally and explicitly condemned the white supremacist groups primarily responsible for the Charlottesville riot and for killing a counter-protestor.

“Racism is evil,” Mr. Trump said today, “and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Good for him. Yet it's disturbing that even after similar incidents in the past he "put his foot in it" by implying a moral equivalence between those groups and their opponents in his initial statement.

I'd like to think that it's just a matter of Mr. Trump not thinking things through. He isn't very good at choosing his words, and it would be well for him to rely on those who are better at that sort of thing to choose them when he is making an official pronouncement about something. In fact, you would think that he would be surrounde…

How dare you, Mr. President?

Imagine that a group of burglars broke into a home and murdered a person who lived there. And now imagine that the mayor held a press conference and condemned violence "on both sides," making no distinction between the murderers and the victim. I suspect that quite a few people on the Right would go bananas, and rightly so.

Well, today white nationalists held rallies on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. A smaller group counter-picketed. A car plowed into a group of counter-demonstrators. One of them was killed. Two policemen also died in a helicopter crash whose cause is being investigated.

President Trump condemned hate and violence "on many sides." In other words, he suggested an equivalence between the KKK and those committed murder on one hand and the victim and the other people demonstrating against racism on the other.

And as always, he made it about himself. He turned the political murder of American citizens into an opportunity t…

Beware! The market is being flooded with fake eclipse glasses which won't protect your eyes!

I find it impossible to imagine what it must be like to be a psychopath capable of marketing fake eclipse glasses in advance of the August 21 total solar eclipse, but the American Astronomical Society warns that the market is being flooded with them.

People are almost certainly going to go permanently blind as a result.

Here are some ways to check to see whether your eclipse glasses are the genuine article.


Your best bet, if you haven't bought your glasses yet, is to get them from trusted, reputable sources. Here is the AAS's list of approved, reputable vendors. You can trust glasses bought from any of them.

Here is a guide to the very best stuff. But remember how high the odds are. The damage done to your eyes by viewing the sun without adequate protection is permanent. Stories are told about a great scientist who supposedly viewed an eclipse with only one. unprotected eye and thereafter could see only reds and blues through it. If so, he got off lightly; that's a good way…

Three cheers for David Brooks and the New York Times!

Yesterday I had this to say about the Orwellian events at Google, where an engineer was fired for writing a nuanced, carefully documented, and eminently reasonable memo suggesting, among other things,  that while men and women are equally intelligent and that there are individual men and women are every bit as good at just about anything you can think of, science does increasingly conclude that male and female brains are wired differently, that men as a class and women as a class may each tend to have different strengths and weaknesses, and that to some unspecified extent that-not even "rather than" but "as well as-"   discrimination, might explain why there are more men in certain jobs and more women in others.

James Damore also touched on another ideological third rail in his memo. He acknowledged the degree to which his company had become a political and social echo chamber, noted that this has serious consequences for any enterprise in which objectivity was imp…