William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Page 5 of 744

Two More Indications Of The Death Of The West

Headline: “MLB considering starting extra innings with a runner on second base“.

According to one dismal story:

Major League Baseball plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings, a distinct break from the game’s orthodoxy that nonetheless has wide-ranging support at the highest levels of the league, sources familiar with the plan told Yahoo Sports.

One reason for the support is that other decadent countries have adopted the rule. If every other country walked off a cliff, or switched to aluminum bats, would we, too?

Joe Torre provided a more important, but far less manly, motivation.

“It’s not fun to watch when you go through your whole pitching staff and wind up bringing a utility infielder in to pitch. As much as it’s nice to talk about being at an 18-inning game, it takes time.

“It’s baseball. I’m just trying to get back to that, where this is the game that people come to watch. It doesn’t mean you’re going to score. You’re just trying to play baseball.”

No ties in baseball. Just like it used to be in real life, before equality of outcome began to be mandated. The same puritanical effeminate degenerate spirit that brought in instant replay review is responsible for this horrid change.

Listen: Torre is wrong. It is fun to watch the chess match of shifting pitchers in an extra-innings game, knowing that tomorrow the team starts a three-game series with their traditional rivals, and the pennant is in view. Is today’s win as important as tomorrow’s? What would easing off do to the moral of the players—and fans?

And doesn’t anybody remember this is just a game? It is a pastime, an entertainment, a diversion. Great excitement is had watching teams pushed to their utmost. But in the end, it is just for fun. Torre, being too close, forgets that. He speaks like a general plotting the best strategy and not like a ballplayer. Mistakes, too, are part of the lore of the sport, and that is the reason why instant replay is an abomination. The imperfections are what we come for; they allow the true beauty, which is rare and should be, to shine.

Headline:Read all about it! Books are back in fashion, shelves are wackier than ever and libraries are the new stars of Instagram.”

According to a survey by Aviva, one in ten of us doesn’t own a book but, conversely, sales of printed books are on the rise.

Why? Books do decorate a room, that’s why.

Good-looking or quirky book shelves are becoming so popular that they’ve earned their own hashtag on photo sharing site, Instagram.

Type in #shelfie and hundreds of images pop up of hexagonally arranged books, colour co-ordinated spines and novels that appear to be floating up walls.

Book fetishism. Who saw that coming? Well, it was obvious. All those books which pour forth as a cataract from publishing houses and which fewer and fewer are reading had to go somewhere. Some line furniture stores, the rest are being snatched up by designers. “‘Try creating individual stacks in similar, but graduated hues,’ says Nadia McCowan Hill, resident style expert at online interiors company Wayfair.” Arranging by subject matter or author are out, stacking by hues is in.

I’m complaining not only because of the demise of reading, which that cataract paradoxically contributes to: it’s harder to separate wheat and chaff, and which anyway was inevitable with increasing formal education (let the reader understand), but I’m whining because of the pragmatic concern of what this does to the price of used books.

It’s getting tougher all the time to find a physical used bookstore (or even new bookstore). Buying on-line carries a minimum of about four bucks, after postage and “handling” fees, which is too high for an old paperback novel. Once designers start sucking up books for their non-reading clients, the price can only go up for those who want to read.

Sex Slavery In Germany?

There are, as everybody knows, various degrees of slavery, from the brutal chattel-and-chains variety, to indentured servitude, to that which isn’t official but which binds its victims to their bread and butter. Since slavery runs the gamut, there are greater and lesser degrees of evil associated with it. Some for instance are now arguing that slavery, especially sex slavery, under Islam wasn’t (and wouldn’t) be so bad, and wasn’t (and wouldn’t be) really worse than a bad marriage.

Hold that and consider this argument. First premise, a tautology: if a thing isn’t morally bad, then it isn’t morally bad. True, yes?

Second premise: That which is not morally bad, is morally good, or at worst morally neutral. Also true.

Third premise: If a thing is morally neutral, and especially if it is morally good, then it would be neutral or good for society to promulgate it. True, too.

Inference or clarification: by promulgating I mean publicly supporting, perhaps funding or even teaching children in official schools; I mean the opposite of suppressing or proscribing. The level of support would of course depends on the costs and total benefits. So here I only mean promulgating in at least the weakest sense on not condemning.

Conclusion: If a thing is not morally bad, then ceteris paribus, it would be morally good or neutral to engage in or approve of others engaging in the thing.

The ceteris paribus is a requirement because suppose we consider jogging a moral good, we wouldn’t then say for a 101-year-old man with broken hips that it would be morally good for him to jog.

Okay, let’s try an example. If sodomy isn’t morally bad, then sodomy isn’t morally bad. Must be true. And so, since sodomy isn’t morally bad, it follows that it should be supported or engaged in by members of society, and even taught to children. Like with the jogger, the ceteris paribus would warn us about the dangers in the act (if any) and precautions to avoid these dangers, but we would not and could not forbid the act and must at least not disapprove.

That was an easy one. Let’s do prostitution. If prostitution is not morally bad, it should be legalized. And if it is legalized and not morally bad, then it follows it would be an acceptable profession. Of course, there are always ceteris paribus considerations, but at the least it is not wrong for prostitution to exist, and it is good for the government to support prostitution.

First paragraphs from a story in the Telegraph from 2005 (that cropped up again recently):

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners — who must pay tax and employee health insurance — were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

The waitress, an unemployed information technology professional, had said that she was willing to work in a bar at night and had worked in a cafe.

She received a letter from the job centre telling her that an employer was interested in her “profile” and that she should ring them. Only on doing so did the woman, who has not been identified for legal reasons, realise that she was calling a brothel.

Under Germany’s welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job — including in the sex industry — or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

Now I have no idea of the veracity of this report—though the article goes on to document more incidents—nor do I know whether the law on this matter has changed since 2005. But. Since the German government has declared prostitution not to be a moral bad, prostitution is a morally acceptable profession; and since the law requires people (and not just women) to fill acceptable professions when offered or lose their benefits, it is not wrong for the government to insist the ex-waitress turn to prostitution.

If there is a flaw in this argument, it is with the first premise. Right, libertarians?

So what about slavery? Well, assuming the first premise is flawed for prostitution, then (assuming this law is still as reported), then in Germany there is a weak form of sex slavery.

QED

The Violent Rule America’s Campuses: Middlebury College, Berkeley Update

The original story begins below, which ran on 14 February 2017. Events since then have confirmed the original conclusions.

Middlebury Update

Violent students at Middlebury College attacked and badly wounded Professor Allison Stanger who was escorting “neo-con” author Charles Murray on campus, where a scheduled speech of his was disrupted by a violent mob. As of this writing, Stanger injury caused by violent students requires her to wear a neck brace.

If you missed the allusion, it was violent students. They are also illiterate, vulgar, and ignorant students, judging by the posters they held as they attacked (see the link above). Students are, of course, ignorant by definition: that is why they are students: their goal is to dispel their ignorance. But these students are willfully ignorant, and their education calculated to enforce this ignorance.

It is past time for the police—I could not find any report of arrests, again—-to do as they do to other violent criminals. Which is to say, when students will not obey legal commands and when the students are violently attacking people, the police should use all available force to stop them, including lethal force. If not, it is only a matter of time before violent students kill someone. Over politics.

It is worth noting—and I say God bless him here—Jerry Coyne, with whom I have lightly sparred, is on the side of angels in this incident. “Those who consider words to be violence might ponder the actual violence that their mob behavior inspired: violence that was immediate, deliberate, and intended. Middlebury College and its students should be ashamed of themselves.”

It is also worth nothing the Washington Post is on the side of demons. Writing as minimally as they could about the violence caused by the violent students, forgetting to mention the extent of the injury caused, the Post quickly introduced a note that said the disgraceful Southern Poverty Law Center “considers Murray a white nationalist who uses ‘racist pseudoscience…'” The obvious intent was to excuse the violence as legitimate.

That wink-and-a-nod attitude will lead to an increase in student violence.

Charles Murray writes of the attacks (note the plural) himself. “But many looked like they had come straight out of casting for a film of brownshirt rallies. In some cases, I can only describe their eyes as crazed and their expressions as snarls. Melodramatic, I know. But that’s what they looked like.”

Also relevant.

Berkeley Update

At least there were some arrests, though as the video above proves, police were reticent to do their duty. It appears as if they were not performing their duty based on orders from above. The image atop the post was found in a link to the video. Somebody wrote “Based Stick Man is not the hero we want, he is the hero we deserve.” Apt, that.

More details. 10 Arrested in Berkeley, Elderly Man Assaulted Following Violent Anti-Trump Protest. “Police reported items confiscated among the combatants were: ‘metal pipes, bats, 2x4s and pieces of wood. A group with bricks was detained, and their bricks confiscated.'”

UFC veteran and professional MMA fighter Jake Shields was even forced to rescue a man who was being assaulted by left-wing rioters after police allegedly refused to help…

“More chaos started happening, so I went up to the police and tried bringing them back, but they were just like ‘we’re not really going over there. You should just stay away.'” he continued. “I don’t know if they were taking orders from someone or if they were just being lazy. I don’t know what the situation was, but it was pathetic to watch. Our police, who are supposed to defend the citizens of Berkeley. It’s a sad scene that they would allow that.”

Original article

Stream: The Violent Rule America’s Campuses.

Time for our News Quiz! How many were arrested and punished in Berkeley among those who rioted, vandalized, and violently beat a man with shovels, almost killing him, when the right-wing comedian Milo was to visit that campus?

Hint: the total was the same as the number of student militants menacingly brandishing automatic weapons who violently occupied Cornell’s Willard Straight Hall in 1969 in protest of Cornell’s “racist attitudes” and “irrelevant curriculum”.

Still not sure? Then here, at the risk of being too generous, is another hint. The number of violent actors arrested at Berkeley is the same as the number punished for their violent storming of the stage at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to prevent mild-mannered Ben Shapiro from speaking on the subject of decency, an event at which “Campus police watched but did nothing to stop the interruptions.” Violent students also blocked Shapiro from UCLA.

If you still don’t have it, the number you’re looking for is the usual count of those arrested, expelled, or otherwise punished for their use of violence to further political causes at colleges and universities all across this fair country. It is a number fewer than the fingers on your right hand to the left of your thumb.

No more clues. Unless you find the answer too distasteful to admit, you have at least an inkling of this circular figure.

Now that we have finished the first question, it is time for our—

—Political Science Quiz! Ready? What do we call those people in a society who are licensed or allowed to use violence?

No hints this time. We call these the people in charge.

Since the violent are in charge, and since folks regularly use violence on college campuses as a means of politics, and that this violence just as regularly goes unpunished or is countenanced, we can therefore say that there is an officially approved climate of violence on the majority of campuses in the United States.

It really is this simple. Violent students (and professors) are in charge, have been in charge, and will continue to be in charge as long as they are allowed to use violence.

Violence in and around universities is so commonplace that its presence is thought natural and necessary. Pepper sprayings, calls for muscle, assaults of speakers calling for free speech (another Berkeley incident), a brawl and students rushing the stage, students occupying by force various campus offices…

Go there to read the rest. Look over your shoulder first if you are on campus.

Editor’s edition: Berkeley activist: No, “fascists”” don’t have a right to speak in public

When Replacing ObamaCare, Remember Health Insurance Isn’t Health Care

Stream: When Replacing ObamaCare, Remember Health Insurance Isn’t Health Care

Big Louie whispers to you, “Say, Mac. The fix is in. The Redskins are throwing it to the Browns. It’s all set. Guaranteed.”

“No, kiddin’, Louie?”

“I’m tellin’ ya. Now listen. I want you to bet me the Skins win.”

Wha…? But you just told me—”

“You aren’t paying attention. What’s wrong with you, Mac? You want trouble? I said the Skins will lose and you will bet they’re going to win. Now gimme sixty bucks that says the Skins will win.”

“Hey! You don’t have to be so rough…”

“Say, these twenties are new! Considerate of you. Listen. Don’t be so glum. You’re contributing to a good cause: Me.”

Any of this remind you, Dear Reader, of the insurance business? It ought not to. Yet the word insurance has undergone and strange metamorphosis caused, as you won’t be surprised to learn, by Government.

Insurance used to be a bet you would make that you hoped you wouldn’t win. You went to an insurer and made a bet that something bad would happen, say, you got cancer or your house would burn down. The insurer figured out how much it would cost to pay you to fix the bad thing. He then said, “Okay, gimme Y dollars, and if the bad thing happens, I pay you X.” If you didn’t like Y or X, you negotiated with the insurer until a pair of numbers were mutually agreeable—or you agreed to part ways.

But suppose you told the insurer, “I have cancer. It will cost X to treat. I want to bet with you that I get cancer. What’s the minimum Y I should pay you?”

The insurer would either laugh you out of his office, as he commiserated with you about the sad state of your health, or he would pick a Y greater than X. Why? Because it was guaranteed that the insurer would pay out X. Why would he ever take an amount less than X? He would be certain to lose money!

Because Government, that’s why. Because your cancer is a “pre-existing condition” and it was seen as cruel and heartless for the insurer not to lose money on your behalf. But Government forced, by the point of a gun, the insurer to lose money. Government enjoyed playing Robin Hood. Hood as in criminal, crook, confidence trickster (did you not know that? Big Louie knew).

However, because the entities that comprise Government move in and out of insurers (and their banks), the Government also took pity. Government knew insurers had to make up their forced deficits. So it mandated that citizens who did not want to make a bet with any insurer had to give the insurer money for bad things that would almost never happen. Obamacare became Big Louie muscling twenty-somethings to insure themselves against Alzheimer’s.

Thanks to “Supreme” Court Justice Roberts, you being forced to fork over funds to a private entity was called a tax. (Same thing Big Louie calls it!) Thus, not only was the word insurance gutted of most of its actual meaning, so was tax. Orwell lives…

[…]

I bet you’ll click over and read the rest.

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