An Insignificant Number of Confused, Poorly Organized Losers

26 Aug 2017 /

News networks have been running a two-week-long (with no end in sight) infomercial on white supremacists and white nationalists and neo-Nazis as though they represent a powerful force that has to be reckoned with, a vast army of domestic terrorists, which they don’t.

The most important thing to know about white supremacists and neo-Nazis is that there are actually not very many of them.

The leading white supremacist organization is the Ku Klux Klan. How many members do you think the KKK currently has? Take a guess. Keep in mind we live in a country of more than 320 million people.

Estimates of current KKK membership run between 5,000 and 8,000 members. Is that less than you thought?

As for neo-Nazis, the New York Times ran an article a few years ago on the National Socialist Movement (NSM), which they identified as the largest neo-Nazi group in the country. Take a guess how many members the National Socialist Movement has.

According to the Times, the National Socialist Movement has about 400 members.

“White supremacy: Are US right-wing groups on the rise?,” published this week by BBC News, suggests that roughly 10,000 Americans might qualify as active white supremacists.

They mention “groups like the NSM” as being active in 32 states, without mentioning that the groups are very small. Describing a small, poorly organized number of people as being “active in 32 states” sounds a lot scarier than saying “about 400 members.”

A collection of 10,000 people represents less than .01 percent of the US population. If you want to flip it around, you could say that 99.99 percent of us are not white supremacists.

White supremacists are an insignificant number of confused, poorly organized losers. That’s how they should be referenced in media reports: “an insignificant number of confused, poorly organized losers.”

How did such a small, loosely connected group of people manage to capture such a large national mindset?

President Trump was portrayed by opponents during the 2016 campaign as the second coming of Hitler. His supporters were portrayed as white supremacists and Nazis.

After he was elected and the concentration camps failed to materialize as predicted, Trump opponents were still on the lookout for opportunities to resurrect the Nazi theme.

The only way a “Trump is courting the white supremacist vote” theory makes sense is if you don’t know what the actual numbers are.

If you do know what the numbers are — about 10,000 people — it becomes mathematically ridiculous. No one wants or needs the support or endorsement of white supremacists at the cost of pissing off the other 99.99% of America. No one is saying “I’ve got to capture the Nazi vote — all 400 of them.”

My guess is that most media people, who according to Harvard University are very biased against Donald Trump, don’t know or care what the white supremacist numbers are. They just push their narrative and follow the crowd.

But there must be at least a few who do know what the numbers are and are just yanking our chains.


Pug Photos on Flickr

26 Aug 2017 /

Too hot

Myles :)

We are housesitting for the neighbors. That means we go over and sit by the house, right?


Things Have Changed

24 Aug 2017 /

People are crazy, times are strange
I’m locked in tight, I’m out of range
I used to care, but . . . things have changed


More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of: X Hours of Homework

23 Aug 2017 /
Boy doing math problems

School is back in session and I’m listening to one of my colleagues say that his son started junior high school this year and had 6 hours of homework last night.

It’s a way of bragging: My kid’s school is more academically oriented than your kid’s school.

Maybe your kid is just slow. Maybe other people’s kids are finishing the homework in an hour.

Or maybe your kid finished his homework 6 hours after he said he was starting his homework because he worked for an hour and spent 5 hours surfing the net for pornography.

It doesn’t make sense to say the school assigned X hours of homework . . .


Poll: Most Black Americans Don’t Want Confederate Statues Removed

22 Aug 2017 /

NPR and PBS News Hour conducted a poll asking whether statues “honoring leaders of the Confederacy” should “remain as a historical symbol” or “be removed because they are offensive to some people.”

Results by race:

White: 65 percent of respondents said the statues should stay, 25 percent said they should be taken down and 8 percent were unsure. (I know these numbers don’t sum to 100 percent but I’m taking them directly from the link above.)

Black: 44 percent stay, 40 percent remove, 11 percent unsure. (Same comment as previous.)

Latino: 65 percent stay, 24 percent remove, 11 percent unsure.

The media, which according to a Harvard University study are very biased against Donald Trump, have been flogging him with this issue for the past week and a half, the thinking being that anyone who doesn’t support the removal of Confederate statues is a white supremacist, in which case 75 percent of white Americans are white supremacists, as are 60 percent of our black citizens and 76 percent of Latinos.

Confederate General Thomas

Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson


See You in Hell

22 Aug 2017 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

I hate to say I told you so.

See you in Hell . . .

Robert Lee


No Political Violence on the Left?

20 Aug 2017 /

I’m still shaking my head on this one:

https://twitter.com/charlesmurray/status/899240201532448768?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email&iid=77f9160ca4fa4b6aa987bb96570d37b3&uid=15906468&nid=244+285282305

Even left-wing stalwarts like The Atlantic know that the Post’s “no violence on the left” premise is bogus:

https://twitter.com/charlesmurray/status/899240201532448768?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email&iid=77f9160ca4fa4b6aa987bb96570d37b3&uid=15906468&nid=244+285282305

Look how peaceful and non-violent everyone is in the Post photo.

Contrast that with, for example, these protesters at Berkeley earlier this year:

Milo 'protesters' at Berkeley

Milo 'protesters' at Berkeley

I’m drawn to Berkeley examples because our son went to Berkeley and still lives in the area, because I know some current Berkeley students, and because Berkeley, ironically, used to be synonymous with the Free Speech Movement.

The photos above show the protesters who showed up to violently shut down a scheduled talk by Milo Yiannopoulos, but the same thing seems to happen whenever any university schedules a conservative speaker.

Here are a couple more left-wing protests, in Chicago and Charlottesville:

More Dead Cops

We could go on and on with this . . . we’ve all seen this before so I don’t know who the target audience is for the Post’s “no violence on the left” argument.

And of course Steve Scalise couldn’t be reached for comment because he’s still in inpatient rehabilitation after being shot by a Bernie Sanders supporter a couple of months ago.

It looks to me like there’s plenty of bigotry, intolerance and hatred at both ends of the political spectrum.

The Post’s argument seems to be that while left-wing violence is the work of outsiders and lone nuts, militia culture and violent resistance on the right exists “on unprecedented scales.” The best examples the Post was able to come up with are Ruby Ridge, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Dylann Roof murders in Charleston, two of which happened 20+ years ago and all of which involved one guy, or one guy and an accomplice, or one guy and his family.

Ruby Ridge was a “we thought they were up to something so we had to kill them” government siege and Randy Weaver was not convicted of anything except missing his original court date and a bail violation.

Do those examples indicate organized right-wing violence “on unprecedented scales”? I’d say no, but make up your own mind.

The Post concedes that “occasionally violent groups” such as Antifa are “worrisome,” which sounds like a word my grandmother would have used. But these groups are “loosely banded, disorganized and low scale . . . incomparable to the scope and breadth of organized violence demonstrated by the extreme right.”

Such as?

“Organized militias that are well armed, well trained and well networked” and “armed to the teeth.”

I don’t know what sort of data the Post combed through to come up with that rigorous characterization (“armed to the teeth”?), but I’ve never seen an estimate of more than 10,000 active white supremacists in a country of 320 million people. We’re talking about an insignificant number of confused, poorly organized losers.

As an example of what a well-trained, armed to the teeth, organized militia can accomplish, the Post cites last year’s armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

The result of that was one militant killed, one militant wounded and 27 militants arrested and indicted. I hate to think what a disorganized, poorly trained militia could have done.


See You in Hell: Robert E. Lee Edition

20 Aug 2017 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

Greetings from the underworld!

I saw this on Facebook today:

Traveler

First of all, the temperature on that screencap — 81 degrees? That’s the temperature in Los Angeles. The temperature here in Hell is much hotter.

Secondly, Americans are the fattest, dumbest people on the planet. Did you know that 25 percent of them think that the sun goes around the earth?

So most Americans don’t even know who Robert E. Lee was, let alone the name of his horse (it was Traveller, with two l’s).

Once it’s explained to them — who Robert E. Lee was, his horse’s name, what the Civil War was all about — they put it all together: the USC mascot is a racist horse!

Also coming under scrutiny: everyone named Robert or Lee or having the middle initial E.

See you in Hell . . .


USC Village Opens

19 Aug 2017 /

The Reign of Troy continues . . .


Wandering Boy

16 Aug 2017 /

I hope he’s warm and I hope he’s dry
And that a strangers eye is a friendly eye
And I hope he has someone close by his side
And I hope that he’ll come home

Where is my wandering boy tonight?
Where is my wandering boy?
If you see him, tell him everything is alright
Push him towards the light
Where is my wandering boy?

Randy Newman, “Wandering Boy”

American Workplace: Grueling, Stressful and Surprisingly Hostile?

15 Aug 2017 /

Washington (AP) — The American workplace is grueling, stressful and surprisingly hostile.

So concludes an in-depth study of 3,066 U.S. workers by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles. Among the findings:

— Nearly one in five workers — a share the study calls “disturbingly high” — say they face a hostile or threatening environment at work . . .

If nearly one in five US workers finds their workplace hostile or threatening, that means more than 4 in 5 workers do not find their workplace hostile or threatening.

Assuming these two groups are not in completely separate workplaces, does this finding say something about the workplace or about the people who perceive a hostility that a large majority of their colleagues do not perceive?

Another finding:

— Telecommuting is rare: 78 percent say they are required to be present in their workplace during working hours.

Notice that in this case, 22 percent of workers doing something — telecommuting — is considered “rare,” while less than 20 percent perceiving a hostile environment is considered “disturbingly high.”


10 Reasons That NY Times Chart Might Not Mean What You Think It Means

14 Aug 2017 /

From the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/07/opinion/leonhardt-income-inequality.html
  1. Money is not the only metric for measuring life outcomes. Charts and articles like this seem to reflect an inappropriate obsession with narrowly materialist values.
  2. If you do want to measure your life with money, it looks like the 99th percentile is where you want to be. Why aren’t you there? Why aren’t you a CEO? Why aren’t you making a million a year? If you can’t figure out how to get there, don’t begrudge the people who did figure it out. If you don’t have the education, motivation, intelligence or skills to get there, don’t begrudge those who do.
  3. The amount of wealth is not a fixed amount. It’s not a zero-sum game. If it were, it would be concerning that a few people are very wealthy. But it isn’t.
  4. The distribution of income has to be skewed to the right because income is bounded on the low end by zero but not limited on the upside.
  5. If you can’t imagine why income inequality exists, consider that 25 percent of Americans think the sun goes around the earth.
  6. If you can’t imagine why income inequality exists, consider that half the residents of Detroit can’t read.
  7. People who get upset at the realization that some other people have more than they do make excellent targets for politicians who promise, in return for your vote, to rob the people you envy.
  8. Winners may have more money but losers get more hugs.
  9. I see a lot of articles about income inequality but I don’t meet a lot of ordinary Americans who are concerned about it.
  10. There seems to be a confusion of cause and effect. Did income rise the fastest for people in the top one percent or did people get into the top one percent because their income rose the fastest? If that isn’t clear, consider an example: Did Mark Zuckerberg’s income go way up because he was on the right side of that chart or is he on the right side of the chart because his income went way up?

Pug Photos on Flickr

13 Aug 2017 /

Pug

Pugs


Identity Politics = Liberal Suicide?

13 Aug 2017 /

Mark Lilla is professor of the humanities at Columbia University. He’s got a book coming out, The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics.

As you might have surmised from his job title, Lilla is a liberal himself. His concern is “the divisive, zero-sum world of identity politics” and its negative effect on liberalism in America.

Here’s an excerpt of an excerpt published in the Wall Street Journal:

As a teacher, I am increasingly struck by a difference between my conservative and progressive students. Contrary to the stereotype, the conservatives are far more likely to connect their engagements to a set of political ideas and principles. Young people on the left are much more inclined to say that they are engaged in politics as an X, concerned about other Xs and those issues touching on X-ness. And they are less and less comfortable with debate.

Over the past decade a new, and very revealing, locution has drifted from our universities into the media mainstream: Speaking as an X… This is not an anodyne phrase. It sets up a wall against any questions that come from a non-X perspective. Classroom conversations that once might have begun, I think A, and here is my argument, now take the form, Speaking as an X, I am offended that you claim B. What replaces argument, then, are taboos against unfamiliar ideas and contrary opinions. . . .

The politics of identity has done nothing but strengthen the grip of the American right on our institutions. It is the gift that keeps on taking. Now is the time for liberals to do an immediate about-face and return to articulating their core principles of solidarity and equal protection for all. Never has the country needed it more.


Silver and Gold

11 Aug 2017 /

I’m gonna go out dancin’ every night
I’m gonna see all the city lights
I’ll do everything silver and gold
I got to hurry up before I grow too old

I’m gonna take a trip around the world
I’m gonna kiss all the pretty girls
I’ll do everything silver and gold
And I got to hurry up before I grow too old

Oh, I do a lotta things, I know is wrong
Hope I’m forgiven before I’m gone
It’ll take a lotta prayers to save my soul
And I got to hurry up before I grow too old


EppsNet at the Movies: The Matrix

11 Aug 2017 /

The Matrix is 75 percent juvenile philosophizing and 25 percent sci-fi action. Someone must have told the Wachowski brothers (now the Wachowski sisters) that they’re a lot smarter than they really are because the movie would have been much better with 25 percent juvenile philosophizing and 75 percent sci-fi action.

Rating:

The Matrix

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Director: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
Cast: Keanu Reeves Neo
Laurence Fishburne Morpheus
Carrie-Anne Moss Trinity
Hugo Weaving Agent Smith

IMDb rating: 8.7 (1,336,539 votes)


We Know We Have to Improve

9 Aug 2017 /

Saw this on a tech company blog (not Google) :

We know we have to improve the diversity of our teams and the balance of representation amongst our colleagues. We do not want to miss out on the contribution of a potential colleague merely because they are in some way different from the rest of our people.

Yes, that seems obvious. Do you want to miss out on the contribution of a potential colleague merely because they don’t improve the diversity of your teams?

Tags:

One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: The Google Memo

8 Aug 2017 /

The now-famous Google memo was first published by Gizmodo under the headline Here’s The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google.

If you’re interested in the topic, you should read the memo yourself, otherwise you’re going to get a terribly slanted second-hand judgment, e.g., “anti-diversity screed.” I’ve read it and I don’t think it’s “anti-diversity” and it’s definitely not what I’d call a screed.

I’ve seen that word — screed — used by multiple sources. That’s one way of dismissing and declining to engage with an opinion you don’t like: give it a label like “screed,” suggesting that the author is angry and irrational and not fit to have a discussion with.

In my reading though, I found the original memo to be academic and clinical, much less screed-like than the responses I’ve seen.

As usual (in my experience), the most intolerant people in the mix are the ones presenting themselves as champions of tolerance, diversity, acceptance and mutual respect. They love people of all genders, skin color, hair color, eye color, etc., but they have no tolerance at all for anyone who doesn’t think exactly the way they do.

If you have an opinion that doesn’t fit the preferred narrative, you are harmful and stupid, you shouldn’t be allowed to hold a job and you shouldn’t feel safe in giving voice to your opinions.

The argument against expressing an opinion like the author of the Google memo is, as I understand it, that it’s considered hostile and unwelcoming to women who might want to work in the field of technology.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in firing the memo author: “The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender.”

If it’s hurtful to judge people based on their “gender,” why isn’t it hurtful to say that the percentage of males working in technology is unacceptably high and should be reduced? (I know nobody says it that way. They say “increase the percentage of women” but it’s the same thing.)

Why isn’t it hurtful to implement policies to reduce the percentage of males working in technology? Why isn’t it hurtful to hire “diversity” personnel whose job it is to reduce the percentage of males in technology?.

Depending on which groups you’re in, you’re either not allowed to be discouraged by anything or you’re entitled to be demoralized by absolutely everything.

Thus spoke The Programmer.

Related link: Where are the additional women in technology supposed to come from?

 

Irony alert

“By ‘diverse mix of voices,’ we mean non-white females. Look at the picture. Oh, you thought it meant a diversity of opinions?! Well, in that case, you’re fired.”

 

TL;DR from Google memo

  • Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
  • This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
  • The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
  • Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
  • Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
  • Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

EppsNet at the Movies: Superbad

7 Aug 2017 /

This inexplicably gets a good rating on IMDb. I couldn’t get through 10 minutes of it. If your age and/or IQ is somewhere in the teens, you might enjoy it.

My rating would be lower but there was one funny joke.

Rating: 1 star

Superbad

Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.

Director: Greg Mottola
Cast: Michael Cera Evan
Jonah Hill Seth
Christopher Mintz-Plasse Fogell
Bill Hader Officer Slater

IMDb rating: 7.6 (449,944 votes)


More Words and Phrases I’m Sick Unto Death Of

2 Aug 2017 /

“Hacks” — when used as a synonym for “advice,” “tips” or “recommendations.” Health hacks, productivity hacks, work-life balance hacks, time management hacks, stress management hacks, creativity hacks, memory hacks, etc. . . .

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