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20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Drug policy · 0 replies · +1 points

"The Caesars should have been around for the end of ant-Semitism"

read: "The Caesars should have been around for the end of anti-Semitism"

I'd use the edit feature to correct that typo, but I find that when I use that feature, my comments are put into moderation. I guess maybe a developer at IntenseDebate got the idea that spammers were likelier to edit their remarks? If so, how bizarre - a spammer is just going to cut and paste pre-written ad copy or, more likely still, have a bot do so. Correcting one's small errors is a sign that one is less likely to be a spammer, not more likely.

Guessing is all I can do, because nobody at Automattic will ever answer any questions about why their system works in the bizarre and dysfunctional ways that it does. Welcome to the magical world of IT, where people aren't trying to be reasonable. Ever. Obviously, typos should be corrected, but having offered an edit feature, the team at IntenseDebate is going to go on deterring people from using it. Crazy.

20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Drug policy · 0 replies · +1 points

My best guess is that the problem is with a bright idea somebody at Automattic (the parent company for IntenseDebate) thought he had. The posts vanished from public view after I edited them. Maybe I tripped across yet another poorly conceived automated "canned ham" filter?

AI seems to be more snake oil than science these days, an awkward fact that developers don't seem to like seeing users discuss. Just naming the brand of "canned ham" to which allude is enough to get a comment "caspered" (as a friend says), and you'd better be careful not to use the word "caspered" is a stand-in for, or that comment will vanish too.

What's that word? Finish this expression "Casper, the friendly ..." and it will come to you, I'm sure. I do so love having to talk in circles because IT people keep playing games. Ain't laissez-faire grand?

20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Drug policy · 1 reply · +1 points

For the second time, I am reposting my initial reply, which has been blocked from view: "But since the Jews control the media, the banks, the universities, etc, they could be masterminding these wider shifts, no? "

No. I don't know how serious you're being when you say that, because we've never encountered each other before (as far as I can recall), leaving me with little context, but no, we don't control any of those things. A lot of anti-Semitic people will claim that we do and that is, indeed, the excuse for a lot of the scapegoating we get, but this notion that "the Jews" control the institutions that govern society is a fantasy.

As a Jew, I get greeted by a world in which my "privilege" can be found in the fact that a dean's list average, a master's degree complete and ABD status for a PhD in Mathematics won't even get me an entry level job until I succeed at the chronically impossible task of getting 2-5 years work experience before I get my first job. I make what money I can as a tutor, where I routinely get to meet functionally illiterate former frat boys with names like "Smith" and "Jones" working in corner offices. I'll tutor them in something as basic as high school algebra, and then, at the end of the work day, as they get in their own personal limousines, I'll get to walk home because the El is a luxury I can no longer afford. Much like meat, cheese, going to the movies more than twice per year ...

Does this sound like the life of a member of a privileged class or maybe, does it sound more like the life of a member of a despised minority who can only say one positive thing about his society's treatment of people like him: "at least they're not as bad as the Arabs or the Europeans"? Americans will say "we're better than the Nazis", except when they are (ahem) Nazis, and that will be undeniably true, but there is such a thing as damning oneself with faint praise.

As a Jew, what can I say? I'm sorry that Westerners are in the habit of doing such horrible things to each other and I wish they'd stop, but to try to pass the blame for the failings of one's own culture onto a relatively defenseless minority because to do so is easier than asking hard questions about the motivations and character of one's own leadership (and often, of one's own people) is cowardly, despicable behavior. I won't say that it's time that stopped, because that should have stopped 2000 years ago. The Caesars should have been around for the end of ant-Semitism, but instead, we get to see a lot of Europeans and their overseas relatives going into paranoid hysterics because we won't agree that Jesus was a deity or eat bacon.

Is there some sort of medication that could be prescribed to help these people?

20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Drug policy · 1 reply · +1 points

OK, censorship seems to be happening on this blog. My comment had to be posted in pieces and the first comment has already been blocked from view, removing what I posted later removed from its original context.

I don't know who did that, but I just thought I ought to say something. By the way, I'll be setting up a blog for the posting of blocked comments, so whoever did this - while you can keep my comments from appearing on this blog, you can't keep them from appearing on my profile. Since you are engaging in censorship on behalf of bigotry, this is not going to make you look good.

20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Drug policy · 0 replies · +1 points

Did that answer your question, Mr. Wimberley?

20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Drug policy · 0 replies · +1 points

As a Jew, I will answer such a demand with a loud, resounding "NO!" as I should be and respond with a little anger of my own, and a warning. The 21st century is not the Middle Ages. Medieval Europeans states would expel their Jews and then, having lost many productive people, suffer. But they could always count on the Jews coming back, erasing many of the consequences of their earlier folly because there would always be another country doing the same stupid thing. But now, there is a state of Israel. Brutalize and drive us forth, and we're not coming back for more. Why would we? Like the Russian Jews did before us, if we are driven out, we're not headed toward London or Paris, as American Jews we'll be headed toward Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, never to return. Large fractions of America's scientific and engineering communities will be lost to it, forever.

By the way - racial mixing among the intelligentsia is much more the rule than the exception, so if your thought was that America would be able to retain its loyal "White" STEM people after everybody else left, surprise - that's going to be a very limited group. The scientist with the Asian wife or girlfriend has become a cliche for a reason, so if the racial purity pushers do prevail in America, America is going to become a backward country in more ways than one, not because of any evil Zionist conspiracies but because, once again, some racist white people did something childishly stupid and got themselves hurt.

If so, oh well. Not our problem.

20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Drug policy · 0 replies · +1 points

The most one can honestly say is that as a group, we are represented in the professions in numbers out of proportion to our share of the population. One might notice that the same is true of Asian-Americans. But in either case, we're looking at a tiny sliver of the population, and over-representation doesn't translate into being in control. As for it being a sign of privilege, this privilege being dispensed by the Indo-Europeans teaching our classes and hiring us for reasons that would certainly be unknown to us, having worked as a TA, I can give you one reason for that: attitudes toward study.

In my first year as a grad student, when I gave out my first quiz ever, on grading it, I got a nasty surprise. Handing a Chinese student his paper, I said "you got 60% on this quiz - congratulations, that was the high grade" in a tone of weary resignation, thinking that this was going to be a very long year. The Chinese student got this sheepish look on his face, promised to work harder and HE DID. His grades improved. But the poor, oppressed white kids, for the most part, would come down to my desk, screaming and sometimes waving their hands around like they were crazy people, trying to bully me into changing honestly given grades. When that didn't work, they went to the department and tried to get me fired. I began to really get the joke a second year student had asked about whether or not we'd be allowed to use corporal punishment in our classes that year.

In case you were wondering, we weren't, but the idea certainly would have been tempting. To adopt attitudes like that toward one's studies and then not do as well as others doesn't make one the victim of anything other than one's own bad attitudes. What I'm asked to accept, as a Jew, is that because fewer of us act like that (with the result that disproportionately many of us go on to graduate and professional school), that we're supposed to take the blame when some of the frat boys (the people who were screaming after being given well deserved low grades) abuse their power, in jobs they got through the Old Boys' Club, aka "networking."

20 weeks ago @ The Reality-Based Comm... - Chicago Air and Water ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Nice. I notice that some of these shots were clearly taken from above. Where were you shooting from?