Discussion thread

February 3, 2022 • 12:15 pm

I haz a malaise today, and so will take a pas until tomorrow on what I was going to write about today: new accusations of racism against E. O. Wilson.  It’s taking me longer than I thought to process the accusations, and in fact I don’t know what I think. I think I’ll know what I think by tomorrow—at least so I hope.

Every day I get a lot of emails with the accusations against him from one article, and I guess people are demanding to know what I think, especially since I poo-pooed earlier accusations in Scientific American that Wilson (along with Gregor Mendel!) was a racist. I still reject that article since the writer’s claims since were based on no evidence, but now there’s new evidence from Wilson’s correspondence, and so we must reconsider.

Until tomorrow, then, I’m taking a break, working on my talks for Antarctica, and asking readers to fill in by having a discussion thread on this post. I’d ask you to leave the Wilson issues aside for the moment, as I don’t want to be influenced by anybody else, but there are a number of things to talk about. Here are a few suggestions:

1.) The Spotify vs. Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and every other music artist issue. Were people like Young, who said “take me or Rogan, but not both” exercising censorship as opposed to the people who just bailed? Should Spotify let Rogan continue giving unsound medical advice?

2.) Was Whoopi Goldberg’s apology that the Holocaust was not about racism, but two groups of white people fighting each other, a sufficient apology? Does she deserve being suspended from “The View” for two weeks. Are Jews a “race” or not?

3.) Will Russia invade Ukraine? The build-up of troops is getting serious, and I’m worried.

4.) Is Wokeism on the way out? There are some signs, but not many.

Or talk about anything you want. I won’t be happy if there aren’t many comments, for I’ll have failed.

As Andrew Sullivan says, “See you Friday.” Till then, here are some winter ducks, braving the cold in Botany Pond:

173 thoughts on “Discussion thread

  1. Were people like Young, who said “take me or Rogan, but not both” exercising censorship …?

    Yes, they were trying to censor. That is, they were not attempting to argue against or rebut the speech, they were attempting to prevent it from being a part of the “public square”.

    Should Spotify let Rogan continue giving unsound medical advice?

    I think yes, they should. That’s because the biggest problem is not actually people being influenced by the “unsound medical advice”, the biggest problem is people not trusting the authorities and the mainstream media, and a big part of that is the impression (largely correct!) that they are trying to control what is and is not said in the “public square”, and are doing so based on their agenda (rather than attempting to do so neutrally based on evidence and fact).

    Thus trying to shut down Rogan will do more harm than good. (Though I would ask him to interview several mainstream covid/vaccine experts who can discuss the facts of the issue in a straightforward manner.)

      1. Wiki agrees with me that “censorship” is a wider concept than state action, and that censorship by private institutions with dominant market share (Spotify, Facebook, Google, Twitter etc) does count as censorship. Young et al, in petitioning Spotify, are indeed trying to have Rogan censored. The intent is the important aspect of this, and they are indeed trying to ensure that certain views are not promulgated by mainstream platforms. That is the essence of censorship.

    1. According to the report I saw, Neil Young made no demand to Spotify that it remove Rogan’s podcast. Instead he wrote a letter to his own management team and record label demanding that his own music be removed from Spotify. He simply added to the letter the observation that “They [Spotify] can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

      This strikes me as much closer to a traditional economic boycott — a decision not to do business with a company exercising what one believes to be poor corporate citizenship — than to a call for censorship.

      1. “They [Spotify] can have Rogan or Young. Not both.”

        I read that as suggesting that Spotify could dump Rogan and keep Young. Perhaps not a very strong demand but its meaning seems clear.

        1. Well, I suppose so, but I read it more as simply a recognition of the fait accompli that Spotify would not have Young.

          And I think it a stretch to call that kind of marketplace approach “censorship.”

          1. If Spotify cancels Rogan, or reins him in, they are censoring him. Still, not all censorship is bad. Rogan has no legal right to be given a platform to say whatever he wishes. On the other hand, it is probably best to reserve “censorship” for when a government does it to its citizens.

            My guess is Young didn’t strongly demand that Spotify dump Rogan simply because he didn’t expect them to do it and he was right.

          2. Ken, I read it as a Boomer, the anti-censorship generation, trying to be relevant to the Woke generation by trying to cancel Joe Rogan. Ditto Joni Mitchell. But maybe they are just trying to protect vulnerable Boomers like themselves, and me, from Covid.

            1. Yes, the Covid pandemic has been all about Boomers like us, hasn’t it. And we’ve done pretty well out of it, I’d say, just as we’ve done pretty well out of everything since 1960. Financially we’ve thrived. Nearly all the deaths were in people older or poorer than most of us are. The economic costs, including the cost of doing all that surgery that we didn’t get for two years, are going to born by our children and grandchildren — unless they come after us with pitchforks and Tiki torches. So glad to know that Joni and Neil are in there pitching for us.

              1. That sounds too rosy to me. We (the Boomers) are the ones who have been needing/postponing/skipping the surgeries. And those of us who are among the Covidiot Contingent have been dying like flies.

      2. I agree. The comment had to be looked at in its context. If the “him or me” comes as a tag to a letter as you suggested, then it’s a boycott.

      3. I generally agree. When someone with a lot of purchasing power like that makes an ultimatum to their business partner, maybe the ultimatum part of it is bit shifty and could arguably be said to go against the spirit of ‘free speech.’ But if you’re not making an ultimatum, if you’re just walking away and refusing to do business with someone whose policies you disagree with, that’s not censorship even in the loose sense. It’s just boycott.

        If I choose Subway instead of Chik-Fil-A, I am not “censoring” Chick-Fil-A’s speech. Not even in spirit, not even in any loose sense.

        AIUI, that’s what Mitchell did. My first read of Young’s case, it sounded like he issued an ultimatum to Spotify, which I didn’t like as much as I did Mitchell’s response. But if you’re right, he didn’t do that.

      1. If they do “editorialise”, meaning that they curate all the content, then fine, that is just taking an editorial stance. But an open platform that hosts more or less everyone and anything is then “censoring” if it makes limited exceptions.

  2. A Reuters dispatch below provided an explanation for Russia’s massing of troops on the border with Ukraine: it is to pressure Ukraine to avoid taking any decisive military action against the “separatist” zones in the Donbass which Russia supports and supplies with weapons and leadership. The report implies that Ukraine’s use of drones purchased from Turkey against these enclaves has been rather successful (which the Russians call “provocative”). I suggest that the massive Russian deployment near the border is meant to warn Ukraine against any effective military action against the enclaves. If Ukraine does not take these orders from Russia, we may expect at least a limited movement by the Russian army into Donetsk and Lugansk to maintain them as puppet Russian statelets, like the similar enclaves in Georgia. Of course, if the Russians do this, an expansion of Russian military control to the Black Sea coast east of Crimea is quite possible.

    “MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Ukraine is using Turkish-made drones in the conflict zone in the Donbass region, sticking to “destructive” behaviour, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, the Kremlin said.
    Relations between Russia and Ukraine are in the spotlight as Kyiv says Russia amassed thousands of troops near the Ukrainian border and may be gearing up for a military offensive. Moscow denies plans for an offensive operation.

    In a phone call, Putin told Erdogan that Ukrainian forces are carrying out “provocative activity” and are using Turkish-made Bayraktar drones in the conflict zone in a further attempt to undermine Minsk peace accords, the Kremlin said. “

    1. Such a justification should be opposed by the international community because it flagrantly violates the notion of sovereignty. It’s the equivalent of Mexico bringing down the Texas state government, having Mexican insurgents take control of the region, and then telling the U.S. that they have the right to “protect” Texas against “US aggression” if we try to reimpose US law and order on it. It’s our territory (…now…), not yours. It is not aggression for us to rule it. It is YOUR aggression if you come across our border to try and prevent us.

    2. Talking of Putin’s complaints about Turkish drones:

      US officials claim they have evidence of a Russian plan to make a “very graphic” fake video of a Ukrainian attack as a pretext for an invasion.

      The alleged plot would involve using corpses, footage of blown-up buildings, fake Ukrainian military hardware, Turkish-made drones and actors playing the part of Russian-speaking mourners.

      “We don’t know definitively that this is the route they are going to take, but we know that this is an option under consideration,” the deputy national security adviser, Jonathan Finer, told MSNBC, adding that the video “would involve actors playing mourners for people who are killed in an event that they would have created themselves”.


  3. I haz a malaise today, and so will take a pas until tomorrow

    ‘Pas’ intended or just an accidental french double entendre?

    Were people like Young, who said “take me or Rogan, but not both” exercising censorship as opposed to the people who just bailed?

    Personal boycott is IMO not censorship, even if the long-term consequence is the offerer no longer offering the speech. Though I much preferred Mitchell’s choice just to leave over Young’s ultimatum.

    Spotify’s private, right? Let them put whatever cr*p they want on. And let them lose artists and listeners for doing so. That’s the 1st amendment give and take as it’s meant to be: you get to opine…I get to walk away.


    2) Sufficient to me, because I’ve heard her speak on other issues, and I think this was a boneheaded mistake rather than some indication of anti-semitism. No suspension. Depends on how you define race, doesn’t it? 🙂


    3) Donetsk and Luhansk regions, yes. Not sure how far further Putin will go. Like with Crimea, he’ll justify this as protecting the rights of ethnic Russians. Russian separatists already control parts of those regions, so other countries may tolerate it as a realpolitik recognition of the current status quo, rather than thinking of it as an alarming and destabilizing change of borders.


    4) Ehhhh…I’d say it’s got another 5+ years to go. This generation of angry young 20-somethings won’t change their position. What will happen is the next generation will become the angry young 20-somethings, and they won’t share their parents or older siblings’ same causes.

    1. ‘Pas’ intended or just an accidental french double entendre?

      Makes a nice side dish to the malaise entrée.

  4. Get well soon!

    I’d suggest food as a discussion – take it easy for PCC(E) – I’d start with lasagna, making pasta, dunno … making salsa…

    Or puzzlers – needs a sturdy mind, though.

    1. +1 I’m always keen to hear about the culinary adventures of others. My last kick was hot-water crust savory pies. What was yours?

        1. I wanted a festive holiday pie for Christmas. I did the hot water pastry, but couldn’t find lard anywhere (I tried four stores!) so I used vegetable shortening. I used a Bundt pan and drew a schema if how I wanted the layers to look since I’d be flipping after baking. The top (after baking) layer was puree of celeriac with a cranberry sauce tunnel, then the caramelized onions & mushrooms, then the turkey, the bacon roasted Brussels sprouts and finally the bottom of stuffing. It turned out pretty great and I was pleased with the cut slice profile. Would do again.

            1. Very – it’s a feature of this method. The structural integrity aspect is what intrigued me in the first place. You can whack it with a wooden spoon and get a nice sound & bounce.

          1. That sounds delicious and fun. I don’t know if you have a Mexican grocer where you live, but that’s where I get lard- they have pork and beef. I get the pork for refried beans.

            1. I do! I was just there last weekend for some fresh El Salvadoran cheese & black label Valentina but didn’t think to look for lard. I will next time though.

          2. Nowhere near the artistic level of yours, but over the holidays I made the best meat pie I’ve ever made. For a big turkey holiday dinner I typically make a sausage for the stuffing, based on Swedish korv. Most often I use ground beef and pork but this year my wife scored some ground venison from a friend at work, so I used that instead of beef. The primary seasonings, besides salt and pepper, are allspice and cinnamon.

            Because of the amount of venison I ended up making about 4 pounds of sausage. There was plenty left over so I decided to make a couple of meat pies. My wife made the crust, she’s perfected a few different recipes over a number of years and they’re all amazing. For the filling I sautéed onions, small cubed yellow and sweet potatoes, some fresh thyme and the sausage. Quite simple, unplanned just stuff I had sitting around the kitchen at the moment. The pies were phenomenal. They didn’t last more than 5 minutes.

            1. Sounds amazing! I love using game when I can. I’m going to be getting some wild pig soon, will try this with it.

              1. I assume wild pig is the same as wild boar?? Delicious!
                Yazikus, any photos of your creation?

              2. @Merilee – I’m actually not sure if it is the same! My friend invited kiddo to come harvest one this month on his rural property, and he’s occasionally had purchased wild animals up there. I do have pics! Though I am not a food photographer. I wonder if PCC(E) would be amenable to a Readers Foodie Projects post or some such? Can’t remember if we are allowed to drop photos in the comments.

              3. I would think they would be the same, though the boar being the male version.Not sure about photos. Don’t think it’s easy to do on WEIT.

  5. Here’s an Antarctica joke I heard Alexei Sayle do.

    On a holiday tour in Antarctica, a woman said to the guide, “What’s the difference between the white & the black penguins?”

    The guide looks at the woman, & says “The white penguins are walking towards you…”

    1. According to a Bulgarian friend of mine, the poor Bulgarians were blamed for the 1981 attempt on the Pope’s life. The rumours began when an inside story was leaked:

      The president of Bulgaria walked into a cabinet meeting. He was in a rough mood.

      ‘I called Mrs. Thatcher to wish her a good morning but she was still in bed. Then I called comrade Brezhnev to wish him good afternoon, but in Moscow it was not afternoon yet. Then I called the Vatican to express my condolences on the assassination of the Pope, but the Pope had not been assassinated yet.’

      Then the rumours started.

    2. A penguin walks into a bar. “Has my brother been in?”
      Bartender. “What des he look like?”
      (The recent late Barry Cryer.)

  6. E.O. Wilson: I saw some of the new accusations. They were troubling. However, he grew up in an era when that was common. I’m not into criticizing people for that.

    Spotify: I don’t have a strong opinion on this. No, I don’t believe Young and others are censoring, but perhaps they were censuring. I’m okay with the Spotify response of adding disclaimers.

    Whoopi: What she said was unwise, but not racist and not anti-semitic. People are overreacting.

    Russia and Ukraine: I’m watching, but not making predictions.

    Wokeism: To me, this has always looked like a fad, and likely to fade over time. So I have not been in a panic about it.

    (Just my opinions)

    1. All of the discussion I had the other day on the Whoopi issue said nothing about racist or anti-semitic. I just thought whatever she was saying made no sense. In a nut shell, it was stupid. I do not think I am being too hard on her and what the hell does she care anyway.

  7. I don’t agree but I think the difference is, I do not think Young or any of the other performers are censoring Spotify. When he says – Take me or Rogan, he means, if you keep paying Rogan for his speech, I am removing my music. You can call it a boycott but Young is not censoring anyone.

    If I choose not to watch the Olympics because of human rights abuse in China I am not censoring China, I am boycotting their sports. China does plenty of censoring but not me. If I refuse to have anything to do with Facebook I am not censoring them one bit. They should be regulated a whole lot but that is not sensor, it is regulation. People get some really funny ideas of free speech and like to attach it to lots of things it has nothing to do with.

    This business of controlling what is said or not said is not the issue. The fact is, if someone is talking on public or private communication and saying things that are flat lies and incorrect or damaging information they must be called out for it. They should be shamed for it. The FCC I think it is, may be there to regulate Television and Radio but they do a piss poor job of it. We let a company like Fox run a full time operation to put out lies and misinformation everyday. This is killing this country and nobody seems to care. If this is what is defined as free speech we are all in big trouble.

      1. You can call it a boycott but Young is not censoring anyone …

        Young was petitioning for censorship, asking Spotify to censor Rogan (and yes, censorship by companies with dominant market share is indeed “censorship”, since it de facto affects what is part of the mainstream conversation; ever since Mill, free speech has not been only about governments).

        … if someone is talking on public or private communication and saying things that are flat lies and incorrect or damaging information they must be called out for it.

        There’s a big difference between being “called out” (that’s fine), and being prevented from speaking. As ever, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who gets to decide what is “incorrect or damaging information”? I, for one, do not want woke-captured institutions making that call. Who in America would you trust?

        Tolerating Rogan hosting fringe conspiracy-theorists speaking misinformation is perhaps a price we have to pay for a much greater liberty — being able to publicly disagree with whoever it is who has the power to decide what is “incorrect or damaging information”. There are way too many examples of the authorities and the major companies and the mainstream media getting things wrong.

        1. Wait… every time I choose to purchase from Vendor A instead of Vendor B because I dislike the political stance of Vendor B’s ownership I’m petitioning for censorship? This seems an over-broad concept to me.

          1. I agree.

            Another way to frame the Spotify issue is Freedom of Association (IIRC, also a 1A right). If Neil Young does not want to share a platform with Joe Rogan, then he has a right to do so.

            1. Something can still be “censorship” when it is entirely legal.

              For example, all mainstream media in the Western world self-censor by not publishing Mohammed cartoons. It is entirely legal and entirely within their rights to self-censor like that. But it is still self-censorship.

    1. I’m not really sure what to do about the misinformation. I definitely agree that Rogan should have been firmly criticized by people closer to him, but from what I’m aware of, the only one to do that was Sam Harris. I don’t think Rogan is an awesome person for his “apology” as many public intellectuals have cheered (Andrew Sullivan, Bari Weiss for example). Btw, within 12 hours of his apology he tweeted a bogus ivermectin study in Japan. Later he deleted it. On this issue of free speech, Cathy Young raised the question of what is more important during a pandemic, free speech and its attendant misinformation or getting through the pandemic effectively. I know that the US has performed very badly compared to other wealthy nations on health outcomes from Covid. It is pretty ironic that Pfizer and Moderna are American companies. There has been enormous economic damage and death. Healthcare workers have shouldered tremendous workloads. And during all of this, some imbeciles on social media have devoted great time and energy to “just raising questions”. MSM absolutely has its problem and they certainly deserve blame for this shift. However, if this new media is our salvation, the US has some big problems right around the corner. This country has been on the bad end of some pretty sick jokes in the last 5 years.

        1. Couldn’t agree more. Imagine if, for the past 30 years, when a politician lied journalists actually said so.

      1. One way we could stop misinformation at least with Rohan is stop incentivizing it. He makes millions spreading BS. Find out how not to give him tons of money for that.

        1. ! don’t generally approve of censorship, but Zuck removing Tr*mp from Twitter/facebook was something I totally approved of, and I didn’t even care why.

        2. I think you’re right. There really should be some kind of financial consequences. Now if people are “just asking questions”, they have some skin in the game. Of course there are free market purists that will label this authoritarian. Also, you could have another company that markets itself as defending free speech and will not penalize anyone that they host. The truth about Spotify (and other major tech platforms) is that its decisions are not typically made for ethical reasons. They are trying to boost subscribers. Below though, someone pointed out Trump being banned from Twitter (I also think this was good). Perhaps subjecting the company and the podcaster to lawsuits would change their attitude. Pharmaceutical companies certainly face massive lawsuits. And yeah, swapping “lies” for “misinformation” is a big (and easy) improvement.

  8. 1 no: withdrawal of business is not censorship.
    2 no: I don’t think the word apology means what she thinks it means.
    3: not sure, but I think they (Ukraine) should do something about that road that runs from the Belarus border straight to Kiev.
    4: I think it will take a while. These things have to be talked through face to face, over and again, not through the coward-buffer hate-stir machine that is social media.

    1. Mostly agree. But I think Spotify’s long-term strategy might be to maximise their podcast and other non-musical output anyway, so they might well welcome the Rogan to-do. No such thing as bad publicity…

      And let’s not forget that the road from Belarus to Kyiv passes through Chernobyl…

  9. I think Whoopi’s comments were based on ignorance, not malice.
    The whole point of the show is to have people with different views argue. I would not have suspended her.

  10. A question that often arises regards the relative power and influence of the illiberal left versus the illiberal right. At the Bulwark (a never-Trumper site), Thomas J. Main tackles the issue. He has analyzed far left and far right websites and has reached the following conclusions (the bullets are quotes):

    • In terms of audience size, Hard Core Right illiberal sites averaged about 186 million visits monthly. That’s about 31 percent the size of the audience for sites representing the mainstream Right and 19 percent the size of the audience of mainstream Left sites.
    • Given that America has roughly 250 million adults, if at least 4 percent of them support neo-Nazism, then our nation has at least 10 million proponents of one form of radical right-wing illiberalism.
    • Unlike the Hard Core Right illiberal sites, the audience for Left illiberal sites is miniscule. Left illiberal sites received a monthly average of about 2.5 million visits.
    • Engagement matters, too. And it appears that the Hard Core Right illiberal audience is much more engaged than the audiences of any other ideology.
    • Illiberalism is dangerous in whatever form it takes. But not all dangers are created equal. And in America, right now, it is clear that the size and influence of right-wing illiberalism dwarfs that of left-wing illiberalism.

    In other words, any people that attempt to argue an equivalency between left and right illiberalism in terms of power and influence are doing so out of ignorance or an attempt to obfuscate the issue. In effect, Main is quantifying what is obvious to any student of contemporary American politics: the illiberal right, anchored by the Trump cult, represents a clear and present danger to American democracy. It is a malignancy on the body politic; the illiberal left is an annoying and sometimes painful boil on the ass that at least has the potential to be lanced.


    1. I believe what your study indicates has been pretty clear for a long time. The radio right – Rush Limbaugh had shown that trend for years. Far right was where the money is. It just sells. The only way to stop the Trump train is to convict and go to prison. Also, the 14th amendment will prevent his ever running for office again. I honestly do no know what the DOJ is waiting for.

      1. The fact that you and I can’t understand why the DOJ hasn’t acted is an argument that the 14th Amendment may not be the defense we hope it is.

        1. The only part of the 14th that specifically applies to Trump and what he has done is at section 3. No person shall be President. Who was engaged in insurrection or rebellion against

          If that is not Trump, I don’t know what. So if the DOJ stands up and does their job, the 14th is kind of automatic

          1. Nothing is automatic. I completely agree with you except that lawyers will argue and agencies will shuffle. It is obvious to you and me but…

    2. Given that America has roughly 250 million adults, if at least 4 percent of them support neo-Nazism, then our nation has at least 10 million proponents of one form of radical right-wing illiberalism.

      And yet, at their grand, well-publicised “Unite the Right” rally at Charlottesville, they managed to get a whopping great … 200 or so.

      1. Is this supposed to be a comparison that matters in some way? Being a proponent of something and being willing to participate in a demonstration like Charlottesville are not remotely equivalent. The percentage of any group that is willing to engage in overt behavior is always a small fraction of the group. The more extreme the behavior, the fewer are willing to participate. This is a well known aspect of human behavior and I’m surprised that you would try to make this equivalence.

      2. To that I would say so what? Trump is famous for saying he had the huge crowd that was not so. It did not matter because he had twitter and facebook to throw out all the crap and round them up for the insurrection. Oh, I’m sorry, just free speech.

      3. And yet, at their grand, well-publicised “Unite the Right” rally at Charlottesville, they managed to get a whopping great … 200 or so.

        And we have it from a very reliable source that some of these were “very fine people.”

        BTW, what’s your source for the 200 number?

        1. I was quoting 200 from memory, so can’t recall. Googling, this ADL link says 600. A wired article says: “In Charlottesville, the best estimates put rally participant numbers between 500 and 600 people. For context, that’s five times as big as any far-right rally in the last decade …”. So a bit more than 200 but still pretty puny. The Wiki page quotes the Washington Post saying “250” for one of the marches. Then there’s the “Unite the Right 2” rally in Washington a year later. The BBC says: “Organisers had applied for a permit for as many as 400 people – but in the end they couldn’t gather much more than 20.”.

  11. I found this article in the Jerusalem Post interesting. It’s a commentary on Judaism as a race and, not surprisingly, it was motivated by the Whoopi Goldberg kerfuffle.


    After 60+ years as both an atheist and a Jew, I can affirm that Jewish identity is a complex matter. Judaism is a religion, a culture, and perhaps a nation. Some would argue that Jews constitute a race. Since race, to me, connotes genealogical relationship, it’s hard to regard Judaism strictly as a race, since there are plenty of Jewish converts who have no genealogical connection to Judaism beyond being human. One could say that Jews are people who identify as Jews, but that doesn’t cover people who are Jewish by blood, but don’t identify as Jews. Are they still Jewish?

    As I said above, it’s complicated.

    1. I always thought that race referred to biology. But if it includes culture, language, history, religion, etc. then there seems to be no end of races: the Irish race, French race, Icelandic race, Cherokee race, ad infinitum. I know a lady formerly of the “protestant” race. She converted to Judaism so she is now of the Jewish race. Right? A race is whatever one says it is. A pox upon race, I say!

  12. About the Whoopi Goldberg thing, I was thinking of a possible stand up comic joke, describing where a Neo-Nazi is watching The View (which of course they would) and saying “Damn! I did not think that Whoopi was one of us!”

  13. Sorry to hear our host is under the weather. In the meantime, I’m still mulling over Phil Zuckerman’s criteria for determining whether religionists or humanists are more moral. He adduces data from a variety of areas—vaccination, acceptance of science, wearing masks, recognizing the existence and importance of global warming, acceptance of LGBTQ rights, animal rights, reproductive rights, etc.—and concludes that nonbelievers seem to group on the “more moral” side. I’m wondering whether it strikes anyone else out there that what he’s really determining is the more liberal side. Or are we to assume that “moral” and “liberal” are synonyms?

    1. It depends on how you define morality. I define it as well-being/flourishing* of sentient beings. By those criteria, yes, liberal seems more synonymous with moral nowadays. For example:
      -vaccination: lower likelihood of severe disease or death = more flourishing
      -acceptance of science: I consider greater, deeper understanding of our universe (which science provides) to be a form of human flourishing
      -wearing masks: a pain in the a**, but helps protect you and those around you from disease = more flourishing
      -fighting against global warming: trying to prevent massive losses in human (and animal) flourishing from crop loss/starvation, spread of tropical diseases, wildfires, floods, etc.

      *Of course, this raises the question: what is flourishing? It’s one of those “I know it when I see it” things, but I think Maslow had the right idea: it’s a combination of freedom from suffering (pain, illness, hunger), plus loving relationships and a sense of belonging, plus a sense of striving for something/trying to fulfill your potential. Crucially, it’s not just mindless hedonism and indulging in short-term pleasure at the expense of long-term accomplishments.

    2. I suppose we could conduct experiments to see, for example, who would return a lost wallet or purse or the like.

      But short of that, Gary, what survey questions would you propose be asked to provide a politically neutral measure of morality?

      1. “Gary, what survey questions would you propose be asked to provide a politically neutral measure of morality?”

        1. Are you a moral person?

        2. Did you answer question 1 honestly?


    3. People often pretend that morality is some kind of absolute — rules written on stone tablets perhaps. Alternatively, they assume that their own morals are the right ones. Instead, morals are just a set of conventions created by humans. As with anything else created by culture, everyone’s head carries around its own copy of those rules and they may differ. As when I say “dog”, everyone that hears me has a slightly different mental picture conjured by the word. Probably it differs from day to day, moment to moment. Any discussion of how moral someone is must be accompanied by a statement as to what set of rules is being considered.

      1. Couldn’t it just be anything that isn’t immoral? If you pet the dog, feed the dog. That is a moral act. If you kick the dog I think you know what that is. And I do not need religion to know this.

        1. You can certainly pick a few things out that most, if not all, would agree are moral or immoral. It’s the borderline ones that show that morality is socially constructed. Abortion comes to mind. Eating meat is immoral to some. Testing human drugs on animals. Flying across the country producing greenhouse gases. Deforestation of the Amazon. Even ones we all agree on are socially constructed. Nature doesn’t much care if we kick dogs.

  14. How about some quick jokes?

    >Animal puns? Toucan play that game!

    >I bought my friend an elephant for his room.
    He said “Thanks”.
    I said “Don’t mention it”.

    >My friend says to me, “What rhymes with orange”?
    I said “No it doesn’t”.

    >What do you call a dog that does magic tricks?
    A labracadabrador.

    >At a funeral, the widow approached a man and asked him to say something. Anything. So the man said “plethora”. The woman said “Thanks. That means a lot”.

    >What did Kermit the Frog say at Jim Henson’s funeral?

    1. Thanks, those were great, esp. the elephant in the room and Kermit/Henson.

      I recently watched a documentary on Sesame Street; it was fascinating and I learned a lot…well duh? It’s Sesame Street!

    2. Very good! In a similar vein:

      >You think that swimming with sharks is affordable? It cost me an arm and a leg

      >My wife is infuriated that I have no sense of direction. So I packed up my things and right

      >I got my IQ test results back today. They were negative

      >I told my doctor about the continual buzzing in my ears. He said don’t worry, there’s a bug going round

      >I was getting ready to tell a time-travelling joke, but none of you liked it

      1. These have a Rodney Dangerfield vibe. As I read them my minds ear started hearing them in his voice and delivery style.

    3. Another Barry Cryer joke (See Frank Bath’s comment at #5):

      A woman goes into a pet shop where there is a parrot for sale for just $5 and as it is so cheap decides to buy it. The pet shop owner says “madam, i should warm you that the price is so low because the parrot was brought up in a brothel and has learned some pretty colourful language”. The woman thinks about it and decides that the price is just too good and she’ll take the risk. She gets the parrot home and once inside you takes the cover off the cage. The parrot looks round and says “hmm, new place – very nice!” At this point the woman’s two daughters come in and the parrot looks at them and says “Ooo lovely! new girls!” A moment later the woman’s husband enters the room and the parrot looks up and says “hello Keith!”

      1. And another parrot joke:

        During the early years of the second world war a passenger liner was crossing the Atlantic and a conjuror was performing to the passengers in the ship’s concert hall. He reached the climax of his first trick with a flourish but before the audience could begin to applaud a parrot that was sat on a nearby perch shouted out “It was hidden up his sleeve!”. Annoyed, he proceeded on to his next trick but, once again, when he got to the end the parrot shouted out “he had another one hidden in his hat!”. This went on for several more tricks with the conjuror getting increasingly irate as the parrot revealed how every trick had been done. At last the conjuror decided he’d had enough and decided to play his very best trick. He put everything into it using all his stage craft to build up suspense and misdirect both the audience and the parrot. Finally the scene was set and he waved his wand… Boom! At that very moment the ship was hit by a torpedo from an enemy submarine and rapidly started to sink. Once the ship had gone down the conjuror happened to find himself clinging to the same bit of wreckage as the parrot. For many hours they clung on and the parrot just stared balefully at the conjuror but then as the sun rose the next morning it cleared its throat and said “Alright then, I give up. What have you done with the bloody ship?”

  15. I think Whoopi was wrong about the Holocaust, but I don’t think she should have been suspended. And for ABC to have her apologize and then suspend her is absurd. I read a take on why she was suspended that seems plausible: if she stayed on the air, this is all they would have talked about; this way people can forget.

  16. Whoopi is not stupid, as everyone keeps attempting to construct. She knows the primary target was being Jewish.

    Whoopi should have said “It’s not ONLY about race.” That would have subsumed the entire Jewish element, and opened up inclusion of all other ‘categories’ the wonderful Nazis targeted. Homosexuals, communists, handicapped, infirm, left-intellectuals Jewish or not, etc. And frankly, after Hitler won the war, and spread hegemony to the United States, what about all the intransigent individualists here of all races? And Africa, would he have included black Africans as Aryan? So … It is not ONLY about the Jewish people — race, religion, or any.

    By not saying “only,” Whoopi’s next affirmative, that it is about ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ is now buried under a pile of both left and right excoriating her.

    Moreover, it would have allowed examination of something more fundamental than any of the above … the true evil root of the Nazis: obliteration of individual sovereignty imbued in every single last instance of Homo Sapiens.

  17. Re, Whoopi Goldberg. On the one hand, I think it ludicrous that ABC News suspended WG (see below). On the other, I do see her comments as *evidence* of a pernicious strain of thought re the Holocaust–essentially a push to downgrade it ,as it is seen as serving the cause of Israel and as threatening to diminish the status of North American slavery as The Crime of All Crimes (I’m not taking a position here on the relative egregiousness of the Holocaust v North American slavery). Here’s what I wrote elsewhere on the suspension:


  18. New :

    Ze Frank
    Proboscis monkey
    : https://youtu.be/qDZS1KO1SgA

    … does not disappoint… or does, depending on how— well, I don’t know, Jerry, not everyone does. I— Jerry, I told you, its not for bebbez!

    [ channeling my inner Ze Frank there ]

  19. 1. Neil asked Spotify to make a business decision. They did. That, in my view, is not censorship. And yesterday so did I – I canceled my Spotify subscription.
    2. Goldberg’s initial comment, I think, actually served a useful purpose, in that it showed how subjective the concept of race is. As many have pointed out, the Nazis considered Jews to be an inferior race, and thus the Holocaust was inherently racist. Goldberg’s definition is quite different – black vs. white. And on a personal note, how does my Ashkenazi-ancestry X chromosome (from my great-great grandfather) define me? Answer – it doesn’t.
    3. Who knows? If Putin’s objective is to destabilize the west, then I think Biden and NATO’s response has been appropriate and much better than what we would have seen from the previous “administration.”
    4. Quite frankly, wokeism (however defined) is of much less concern to me than the rise of right wing extremist authoritarianism. And I reiterate that, in my view, use of terms like “woke” and“cancel culture” serve to inhibit rather than stimulate dialog.

  20. Puzzler:

    The wizard of the castle was showing one of the king’s subjects a set of magic orbs his mantlepiece. It read :


    The wizard gave the subject an orb labeled 8 and one labeled 3.

    “Now, tell me how to get a multiplication product of these digits on the orbs in a flash.”

    What did the subject do to get a multiplication product right away?

    1. The king’s subject placed the 3 and 8 on the ends to form :


      That is,

      41096 X 83 = 3410968

      I modified this puzzler from the original which was published in :

      Amusements in Mathematics
      Henry Dudeney

      I have a Dover edition from “1958, 1970”
      ISBN 0-486-20473-1
      New York

      Original publication:
      Thomas Nelson & Sons, Limited

    2. I just realized the first publication of this puzzle .. to my knowledge .. is :

      The Canterbury Puzzles
      Henry Dudeney

      Fourth edition:
      Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd. 1917

      First edition:
      W. Heinemann, London, 1907 (yes, 1907!)

      Republished by Dover, 1958, 1986, 2002
      ISBN-10 ‎0486425584
      ISBN-13 ‎978-0486425580
      There are numerous “independent publishing” sources as well.

      … that book is something of a “first” or landmark publication for Popular Puzzle Publications.

  21. According to an opinion piece by Cas Mudde in The Grauniad yesterday, Whoopi Goldberg isn’t alone in the US in her ignorance about the Holocaust:

    The 2020 Pew edition of “What Do Americans Know About the Holocaust?” finds that “most US adults know what the Holocaust was, and approximately when it happened, but fewer than half can correctly answer multiple-choice questions about the number of Jews who were murdered, or the way Adolf Hitler came to power”. There is little difference in terms of age, gender, partisanship or region, but “race” differences are quite big, with black people having on average 1.2 of the four questions correct, Hispanics 1.7, and white people 2.5. Obviously, this is strongly related to level of education, another important variable to explain differences – as is whether you know someone who is Jewish.

    The newspaper describes Mudde as “a Guardian US columnist and the Stanley Wade Shelton UGAF professor in the school of public and international affairs at the University of Georgia”.

    “It’s not just Whoopi Goldberg: Americans are deeply misinformed about the Holocaust”: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/02/whoopi-goldberg-holocaust-americans-research

    1. JezGrove, do you really think she is ignorant? Seriously. In my opinion, she is fully aware of the details of the Holocaust, but she was trying to make a larger, wider point that included the Jewish/racial truth. After all, it was the Jewish persecution but also many other ethnicities as well.

      1. “she was trying to make a larger, wider point that included the Jewish/racial truth”

        Really? What was that? Skin color is the only thing that matters?

        1. Did you watch her clip? She said if you go down the route of “race” you miss the wider point … man’s inhumanity to man.

          Her error, as I keep pointing out … is that she did not say it is not ONLY about race. The entire short-attention-span rage-o-sphere just glommed onto “The Holocaust is not about race” and (i do not use the following word lightly) the lynching began. In order to justify the unmitigated blind attacks (from left and right) they have had to construct “Whoopie is stupid and does not know what the Holocaust was.” Really? Really? She is simply STUPID?

          Now, I have not been following the apology-moreblame-apology-rage-explain train, so I don’t know if Whoopie clarified, or if anyone got off their high horses and said, “oh, I see where you were going with this..”

          1. “man’s inhumanity to man.”

            Yeah, I caught that – found it was a brilliant moment – THAT should be said again.

            Sadly, this is the limitation of info-tainment – there is no composed set of thoughts to build out ideas and conclusions. It is four words for a good but thin idea. Its just a chaotic (not random) conglomeration of impulsive thought and expression improvised, dependent on the person’s mood, at least, in reaction to what is being said at the time.

            Though John McWhorter does it and comes across like the Mozart of expressing complex ideas with spoken language.

            1. In the last half hour, John McWhorter’s latest newsletter dropped. I won’t reveal, in case Our Host here decides to post on it. All I can tell you, is a new contretemps might — and should — overwhelm the Whoopie situation. Subject: a tweet about Biden’s SCOTUS naming process.

          2. I think the nub of it was (the reason hackles got raised): Is that she said it was just white people doing white people.

            Imagine if she said, of the Balkans war and atrocities in the 1990s, that they were just white people doing white people.

    2. I doubt if Whoopi Goldberg is ignorant about the Holocaust: she was just wrong in her conclusions.

      As for the survey: at least one of the questions is not relevant. I knew a lot about the Holocaust before I had more than a vague idea about how Hitler came to power and that doesn’t particularly matter.

  22. Why in the hell did Biden go to the National Prayer Breakfast today? And they tried to keep it on the down low. Those who run the breakfast are an odious and secretive Christian nationalist group called “The Family” and they also go by the “Fellowship Foundation”. They’re known to be arch enemies of abortion rights and the LGBTQ community and they love Trump. (There is a series on Netflix about the organization, but I don’t have Netflix, so can’t speak for it.)

    And at the breakfast Biden praised McConnell as a principled man, a friend, blah, blah,blah. WTF? I don’t understand this mealy-mouthed bullshit while supporting an anti-liberal, ultra-conservative prayer breakfast. Blech.

  23. On the Rogan/Young/Spotify issue, it seems that this issue is coming late to the music streaming services. Up until now, it was mostly Twitter and Facebook that were being forced to move from a content hosting service that is only minimally responsible for objectionable content to one that promises to do something about misinformation. I suppose that was because people didn’t really get serious opinions from music lyrics. That all changed with the popularity of podcasts.

    While the removal of music by Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and others won’t force Rogan off the air, it has forced Spotify to promise to regulate their content and Rogan has promised to do better but I suspect it won’t affect his formula much.

    I join all on this website in support of free speech and against censorship, but I see that the spread of misinformation and, really, propaganda as too big a danger to ignore. The model that has worked throughout recorded history, where the consumer can listen to what someone has to say and make a reasonable judgement as to its merit, is being strained by modern technology. Slick production values, targeted messaging, and computer-aided groupthink are too powerful for the old checks and balances to work.

    We need a mechanism to make spreading certain kinds of lies and propaganda illegal or costly. The usual argument against this is that it puts judgement of “bad” speech in the hands of the government who are likely to abuse the power. So let’s put that power in the hands of a judge or jury and on a case-by-case basis. It works for intellectual property law, perjury, fraud, etc. so why can’t it work for other kinds of communication? The bar for throwing a communication into court has to be high for obvious reasons but I see no difficulty there.

    1. Who gets to be The Decider of what is to be deemed too costly or illegal? You? Me? In 2016, seems like it was Voldemort. A jury? Do we stop all speech until a jury is convened to allow it to be published?

      1. A jury sounds good to me. Someone would have to go before a judge to get an injunction to halt it and the bar would be high. It probably wouldn’t stop someone saying something ridiculous and damaging the first time but it would halt the practice of getting many guests and commentators to repeat the lies over and over to give it the semblance of truth as Trump and assoc. do with the Big Lie. Mere opinion that would never be prevented but anyone who says its their opinion that the election was stolen would have to show something more substantial. This has been adjudicated already but doesn’t prevent others from telling the lies anyway. Trump lost virtually all the court cases but he’s allowed to continue to tell the same lies outside of court. That needs to stop.

        1. As serious problem would be enforcement. How could something like that be enforced? How do you stop the spread of information of any kind through a society like ours, with the internet? I haven’t put much time into thinking about it, but off-hand it doesn’t seem feasible. And the old military adage, “Never give an order you know won’t be obeyed,” seems to apply. Or at least, “Never make a law you know you can’t enforce.”

          1. First, enforcement would be the same as after any legal decision. I don’t know the process in any detail but it would be the same as a company receiving a judgement against them in a patent infringement case where they continue to abuse the patent. There are penalties for violating a judge’s or jury’s orders. Second, there would be a high bar over which plaintiffs must jump in order to successfully bring the case in the first place. Perhaps only the DOJ can bring the cases. This bar could have several dimensions. Perhaps the audience must be of a certain minimum size or perhaps there are different rules for lying about elections. The important points are to use the existing legal system and put judgement of what constitutes a violation in the hands of judges and/or juries, not government offices. Laws can only be used to set up the system in the first place and to set guidelines, not judgements of individual cases. Law enforcement is only involved in violations of court orders, not policing language, same as now.

            1. What I meant is that enforcing a law against a single entity, or a few, is easy and doable. Enforcing against a gazillion yahoos chatting on the internet is not. That’s the problem.

              Just sanctioning the entity that started the misinformation, say Fox News, isn’t going to put a noticeable dent in the problem once it is out in the wild, IMO.

              1. My theory is that we wouldn’t have to stop a “gazillion yahoos” but those in positions of power (political and media) who perpetrated the misinformation campaign in the first place. If those politicians were successfully prosecuted, it would send a message to both they yahoos and any other politicians who were thinking of going that way. It is true that the punishment would always lag the crime but my hope is that the mere presence of the mechanism would dissuade future perpetrators of lies of this nature.

              2. That is the mechanism by which laws and regulation are intended to work, to apply pressure in such a way to discourage the targeted behavior. But, to echo you in other comments, this new fangled internet thingie seems to have jumped us up a quantum level in connectedness and we haven’t yet figured out how to deal with it.

                I’m sure we will adjust eventually, but sudden changes always create turmoil, even when ultimately it ends up being a positive change.

              3. What I propose will do nothing to stop the impromptu and unfair pilings-on that occur on social media. But it might help to stop the malicious spread of misinformation (lies) by those with many followers. Perhaps those whose names get a blue checkmark on Twitter also have additional responsibility with hard requirements not to lie to their followers. After all, my neighbor can lie about vaccines without consequence but not the head of the CDC.

            2. Even if it could be done (I strongly question that), it violates the US constitution.

              The SCOTUS has been consistently clear on the bounds that may be put on free speech.

              Have you ever been involved in IP legal disputes? That’s an exceptionally poor example. Those wheels turn unbelievably slowly. Keep up with the internet? Lots of luck.

              Are we going to jail or fine people for wrong-speak? For making ignorant (literally ignorant) statements? Will we require a certain level of education before people can speak? Will they have to be certified as informed in a certain subject before they can speak publicly about it? Will this only apply to political speech? How to define political speech? (Please, someone, provide a definition of “hate speech”! Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?)

          2. I think Paul was being satirical, along the lines of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” to end starvation in Ireland by letting the Irish eat their too-numerous children. Like all good satire it is written with enough expository detail to cause the reader to wonder if perhaps the writer is serious, thus stimulating enough emotional reaction, for or against, to get the reader to persevere to the end.

            But the tell comes here: first “the bar [for the suppression of speech] would be high” but then the opinion that the election was stolen would be suppressed, indicating that the bar is merely opinions the injunction-seeker finds offensive or thinks are dangerous to his world view. Of course Paul knows that all opinions are dangerous if they undermine our particular world view; that is the reveal. There is always Trouble with a capital-T in River City and there is always a con man promising to deliver us from it.

            I admit he had me for a while. But I do get it and can now laugh, albeit sardonically, with him.

            Edit: I posted before Paul’s response appeared. It reinforces my belief that it was satire.

            1. I am being serious. Perhaps you misunderstand what I’m proposing.

              First, no person on the street could be sued for having the opinion that an election was stolen. They would have to be someone broadcasting it to a large audience and/or be a person in a position of responsibility using their office to add weight to the “opinion”. Second, its not really opinions that we seek to suppress but lies about something which can be objectively proven. Saying an election was stolen is something that can be objectively proven one way or another. Belief or disbelief in God can’t be challenged as no one can prove it one way or another. I suspect religion should be entirely off-limits to this process. Third, assuming it reaches court they would have to back up their statement with facts. Of course, there’s always some leeway in these things but clearly continuing to say that an election is stolen after several court cases have shown otherwise requires solid evidence. There can obviously be gray areas but that’s why we have judges and juries.

  24. https://tarahenley.substack.com/p/diversity-of-thought?utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

    I wanted to direct you to this interesting interview on the Canadian substack column- Tara Henley Lean Out. It is an interview with a very interesting and articulate black Canadian radio host, Jamil Jivani, who was fired in January from his position on IHeart Radio (owned by Bell Media in Canada) as he claims for being “black talent’ who did not live up to the expectations of his employers which were to demonstrate a homogenous “black” point of view on current affairs, following the summer of 2020. A good example of how Wokism is flourishing in Canadian main stream media.

  25. The definition of “race” has changed over time, but was long applied to “Jews” as a race. Yet it is still unclear if we are talking about a race, people, religion or ethnic group when talking about Jews. The establishment of the State of Israel has not clarified anything. Whoopi just doesn’t know much history, yet the concept of race has largely been linked to skin color in America. She was not putting anyone down and suspending her for two weeks was unwarranted. But it will fuel more anti-Semitism as “the Jews” will be blamed for it. Oh, you can add that any belief in “the Jews” as a transcendent entity that corrupts history is nothing but a mass psychosis.

  26. On Whoopi Goldberg’s boneheaded blunder, I feel too big a deal is being made of it. I’ve listened to her comments a few times. My take is that she was objecting to the Holocaust being cast as a racial issue because the only kind of racism she wants to talk about is American white-on-black racism. She essentially said that the Holocaust only involved white people and, therefore, isn’t a kind of racism she cares about. It’s just a dumb thing to say and all her co-hosts called her on it right then and there. I’m against them dumping her from the show just because of one stupid comment for which she’s apologized. Time to move on.

  27. Here in Ottawa, Canada, the news is dominated by the fact that a bunch of anti-vaxers who are protesting covid restrictions, many in huge trucks, have been occupying the downtown area near Parliament for close to a week. Local residents have had to put up with diesel fumes from the trucks that have often been left running, blocked streets, constant honking of horns, and an anti-mask, alt-right, intimidating atmosphere.

    It’s a depressing reminder of how often “might is right”. While there have not been any major incidents, various laws are being flouted and the police can’t or won’t intervene, as they fear doing so would precipitate violence. What really revolts me is that some members of our Conservative Party (Republicans lite) have met with these anti-vax clowns to show their support.

    I feel as if I have stumbled into a real life version of “The Wild One”. How can it be that our city has been invaded by a bunch of quasi-thugs and we just have to take it? My impression is that it’s just going to be a waiting game. Nothing will change until the “protesters” finally get fed up and leave or they do something really criminal. This could be weeks or even months.

    This event has made me think, though. How would I react if I actually agreed with the protesters’ position? Would I be inclined to forgive their transgressions? I certainly hope not but the fact of the matter is that a polite protest that doesn’t bother or inconvenience anyone isn’t likely to get much attention.

    1. I think if the police can sit by and allow (because afraid of alcohol- and drug- fueled violence from known gun-runners) Indigenous protesters and their free-lance allies to blockade railways and highways for weeks on end, and seize private land outright, cheered on by the liberal left because of the noble insurrectionist cause being valourized, the liberal left is just going to have to suck it up while the ugly right is allowed to do the same, until they breach the peace. (Last I heard the truck horns are respecting Ottawa’s noise by-law. How Canadian.). I realize the Ottawa police chief is in over his head and may well need to ask for the Army. Of course the PM has shown his cards and said that is not going to happen. But it’s not his call. The province can ask for the Army to assist the civil authority and such help must be granted. But maybe wait till one window is broken first, though, eh?

      Suggest you answer your question by asking how you felt when the shoe was on the other foot. During Indigenous protests, left-wing politicians violate Court injunctions by visiting blockades to bring food and show support and call on the government to give in to demands which seek to undermine majority rule. As you sew, so shall you rip. (Deliberate malapropism to inject a bit of levity into what is indeed a tense situation.).

      Yes there are some bad actors who have glommed on to this protest. There were a lot of bad actors at the G20 riots in Toronto, too, and the left thought the police were too hard on the poor dears. The only encouraging sign is that BLM and Antifa have given the truck convoy a wide berth, for obvious reasons, and so there has been no arson or window-breaking, just some rude taunts at the local homeless population who seem not to have a clue what is going on, unless they can’t get to their safe-injection sites.

      And, gasp!! someone had a Confederate flag. The horror! But the Natives can wave their foreign rebel flags all they want.

      Now, of course the government must not yield to the demands of these loons, even though pandemic restrictions are going to be history by spring anyway. (I do hope they keep vax mandates, though.) But the thing is, the government does yield to Native demands, really telling them that it’s not in the best interests of Canada for us to give you what you want but if you press us hard enough and scare us enough, we will. You can understand why this protest sees some chance of success.

    2. Because you are an eye-witness (perhaps — Ottawa resident at least) and I am not, I owe you at least the perspective of another eye-witness, to wit:
      David Maybury is a data scientist with the Canadian Federal Government who lives in the neighbourhood near Parliament Hill where the occupation is settling in.

      (I haven’t heard any news reports about the expected inflow of demonstrators for the weekend, other than a CBC squib about saunas and bouncy castles being set up.)

  28. Ms. Goldberg illustrates clearly that ‘race’ is indeed a social construct. As such, racial concepts differ among social groups. I would argue that there is always an element of genetic-differentiation-by-distance underlying race concepts, but social groups differ widely in where lines are drawn to elevate certain groupings into ‘races’.

  29. 1. “Should Spotify let Rogan continue giving unsound medical advice?” Spotify is a Swedish company, which should be a factor in such considerations.
    At most, Spotify, and Rogan need to put a disclaimer with their show that points out that “opinions expressed do not represent the policies of….. and do not constitute medical advice”
    Rogan should have guests on who are expert virologists or epidemiologists.

    2. Goldberg does not actually seem to be a hateful person, judging by her history. She was really wrong on this one, probably from listening to too much trendy woke nonsense. If I thought she was actually on the far left, I would suggest that even though I personally don’t like censorship, more of those people who promote cancel culture need to have the process used on themselves. It was conceived as a weapon to silence people not sufficiently enthusiastic about leftist orthodoxy. It only loses it’s appeal when people unleashing it on others start to fear it will be used on them as well.

    3. Anything can happen in Ukraine. Whether invading would be a wise move on the part of the Russians is irrelevant. A great many such invasions have been carried out in the past, by people who either should have better anticipated the motivations and resources of their enemy, or just gambled and lost. That is assuming the invasion would be unsuccessful, which is an assumption I am not willing to make.

    4. I hope wokism goes out of favor soon. The farther they push things before they are rebuffed, the farther the pendulum is likely to swing in the opposite direction. Also, the longer this stuff goes on, the more irreplaceable stuff we will lose.

    1. The only way Woke will ‘go away’ is if the deeply rooted movement behind it deems it past usefulness, in which case they will pivot to something else.

  30. I see that anti-vaxxer Eric Clapton’s music is played on Spotify, with listens running in the nine figures for several songs. Were Rogan not associated with Spotify, would Young give Spotify an ultimatum regarding Clapton and his musical ilk? Surely Rogan is not the only one Young has a problem with on Spotify. I’d like to hear Young on the record about Clapton.

    NPR reported/quoted statements C and S and N have issued in support of Young (throwing in snippets of a couple of their hits for good measure, as if
    featuring those snippets were somehow relevant to the issue). Such solidarity. One gets the impression that it has been all sweetness and light amongst them over the years.

  31. As alwas when open threads pop up, I am late to the party. But since a quick search suggests that this has not already come up, and since Frank Serpico came up earlier today, I see some parallels between his case and Alexander Vindman’s. I think the Tr*mp cabal is going to come to regret having fucked with Col. Vindman. I just hope he has protection.

    Also, on some show that recently taped but as yet has not been released, Rudy Guiliani turned out to be the mystery guest. At which time half the panel walked off (bravo!). Jenny McCarthy stayed put. How am I not surprised.

  32. One observation re Rogan v Young…
    I was perusing the twitter-verse, and every Rogan fan immediately came down on the side of:
    – who is Neil Young?
    – his music is sh#t anyway?
    – he was never any good etc etc.

    As soon as their is a dissenting thought, they go after the ‘man’ and dismiss him. Do not engage with the argument.

    And the same on the other side – so many comments of ‘I don’t like Rogan’s stand-up’ and ‘he was never funny’ etc etc.

    I know, I know…twitter is NOT real life. There is no nuance there. Most comments are trolling of some sort. Many (many) are bot responses.
    But then I meet a person in ‘real’ life, who parrots all that (in my case, a neighbour who is convinced Bill Gates is engaged in eugenics, the vaccine has Aids in it (there is an Aids link, but not as she thinks!), and so on.
    Then she got Covid (really bad, a month in critical care).
    Now she has political placards out to promote voting for the small vaccine denialist/nationalistic party.

    BTW (unrelated), I recommend listening to Krauss’ Origins podcast. Recently a great chat with Tim MInchin (which covers wokeism, science, religion, critical thinking etc), and Steven Pinker (on rationality, language, game theory etc).
    You will not be sorry.
    (And for bonus points, the Stephen Fry interview on Sept 22, 2020 – greek myths, AI, religion etc).

    Medicine for removing the twiiter aftertaste.

  33. If I never hear another word about that knucklehead Whoopie and that dull, aging football player OR anti-vax Serb tennis idiots… it’ll be too soon. Ditto a fool named Rogan.

  34. Can I deduce that the postponed post has something to do with this article I have linked below? If so please note that when a writer throws lines like: “However, throughout his career, he faced charges of racism due to his attempts to use evolutionary theory to explain individual differences among humans in terms of their behaviors and social status. Wilson dodged these charges skillfully,…” and “The Wilson Papers comprises hundreds of boxes of documents and numerous digital recordings. We started exploring these holdings in September 2021, out of our broad interest in the Sociobiology debate.” You can bet that this “interest” is Gould & Lewontin v2.0.


    1. You don’t need to read the article to know that anything published in ‘Science for The People’ magazine is going to be Lewontin v2.0. The organization was founded specifically and explicitly to propagandize against Sociobiology, and if I am not mistaken, Lewontin was on their advisory board from the start.
      However, the damning parts of the artiicle are the direct quotes from Wilson, not any spin.

  35. in 1940 human population reached 2 billion. 100 thousand years plus or minus had elapsed since “modern” Homo Sapiens appeared on the scene. I was conceived in 1940. In my lifetime human population has quadrupled . We are now 8 billion with no end in sight. The impact of our numbers on the planet cannot be understated.
    The subject is largely off the table.

    1. Well, you are 81 this year. While I would never be churlish enough to suggest you stop eating, you could do your bit for the planet by forswearing health care. Hi-tech health care consumes enormous single-use resources and is carbon-intensive to produce and deliver. And people your age consume a lot of it, probably about half, particularly in your last six months of life. Severely premature infants consume much of the other half. The rest of us in the middle consume very little if we look after ourselves decently well, spend less than we earn, walk a lot, and don’t smoke, get fat, or drink too much.

      My recipe for the intractable collective-action problem of climate change is, like all solutions advanced with moral fervour, things I already do anyway, so no personal lifestyle changes needed: eat less meat, drive less, don’t fly in mass tourism to faraway destinations, and don’t demand expensive treatments for chronic diseases.

      Now, if China and India and South Africa will do the same, we’ll be fine. Of course they won’t— that’s what makes it a collective-action problem.

      1. Of course, if you REALLY cared about the intractable problem you would take yourself out and stop using resources that could be used by others.

        1. But I don’t care, don’t you see? That’s why my morally correct solution is to do only those things I’m doing already and not one dx more. Everyone else says the same thing, even if all they’re doing now is recycling whatever trash their municipality makes easy by sending trucks around to collect it. It’s the nature of a collective-action problem: no one will sacrifice utility because they all know that no one else will sacrifice utility and so their own sacrifices just leave more for the scofflaws to take. They can be solved only when a sovereign can impose compliance on all actors, which is why the tinfoil-hat brigades think climate change is a way to sneak in One-World Government….or at least Government by China.

          Problems that are intractable, i.e., have no solution, aren’t really problems at all. They are just facts of life, like our own mortality.

          I like living, thank you very much. You want to starve Africans, fine. Knock yourself out.

      2. Yes, I went to the doctor yesterday. She said I’m in fine condition( for my age) with no costly procedures in my past nor plans for any in the future. You are churlish enough to suggest I forgo annual checkups.
        No travel plans either. So here is my moral fervour; I work about 70 hours a month -gratis- maintaining a 400 acre land trust property which includes cleaning up after a wildfire. Oh, and I heat my house with ‘salvaged’ wood which I cut and split. Do a little carbon sequestering too.
        I’m entitled.

  36. In the mean time what the hell are we doing about our population.
    We are an infestation. We are driving or have driven the rest of the creatures who try to live on this planet into extinction.

  37. I find it very interesting that the MSM (and our local NPR station) have not reported on the gun that Amir Locke pointed at police officers during a warrant search (murder investigation) here in Minneapolis.

    A single Google search and a single Wikipedia search yield an exact match for the gun. And the following:



    The 5.7×28mm cartridge was designed in response to NATO requests for a replacement for the 9×19mm Parabellum cartridge. According to the NATO requirement, the new cartridge was to have greater range, accuracy, and terminal performance than the 9×19mm cartridge. Additionally, it was to be capable of penetrating body armor. FN Herstal responded to the NATO requirement by developing the 5.7×28mm cartridge and two associated weapons: the FN P90 personal defense weapon (PDW) and FN Five-seven pistol.

    I almost laughed out loud this morning when I hear local activist Nekima Levy Armstrong state that police were showing the gun Locke pointed at the officers because “[they] wanted to make him appear to be a threat.”

    Um, right, someone pointing a gun at you poses no threat. Especially a gun that is designed to pierce body armor. An FN Five-seveN and its ammunition are quite uncommon and it would take a particular effort to obtain them. The gun costs almost 3 times what an M&P 40 pistol costs, which is a very common police and civilian firearm. The ammunition also costs about 3 times what typical pistol ammunition costs.

  38. What ever happened with the poll for preferred handwriting procedure for “x”? Did we do it and I forgot or is it in the works?

  39. “…Inside Edition, of all places, covers a cargo train in Los Angeles getting gutted for the valuable Amazon items housed inside. As if the crime wasn’t detestable enough, the trash littered across the rails is an equally appalling sight.” —Devin Nealy

    And the perpetrators no doubt will continue to get away with it. But should anyone go to the scene and try to salvage usable stuff, I’m betting they’d be turned away or arrested.

    Such is America. Wasteful even when stealing.

  40. So, no one has anything to say about our population?
    The issue is off the table.
    Is there one global problem that could not be at least partially addressed if we got numbers in balance with what the planet needs?

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