Category Archives: Popular Culture

Wasteful Spending

Trump is going to order a government-wide review of it.

[Update a while later]

Congratulations to Altius Space Machines for their NASA SBIR Phase II win for cryo propellant transfer technology development. If we canceled SLS/Orion, we could found several thousand efforts like this.

“Liberals”

It’s the end of the world for them:

The fear and panic on the left are palpable. Network programs that once, long ago, were respected news outlets are now little more than vicious rants declaimed in raised voices. News anchors have become mindless megaphones of victimhood and defeatism, totally absorbed by the idea of stopping Trump because Trump threatens the end of their world.

Why is it that Trump poses such an existential threat to progressivism? How does that threat operate? Why is Trump so much more dangerous than Christie, Rubio, Cruz, and Kasich would have been? It is because unlike those who merely oppose the left, Trump dissolves the opposition by holding it up to ridicule. With his laser-like tweets and incisive wit, with his very presence, Trump brings the preposterousness of the left’s positions into the light.

I hope so. But Stop. Calling. Them. Liberals. They are exactly the opposite, and always have been.

Camille Paglia

She predicted the rise of Trump:

Paglia was not surprised by the election results. “I felt the Trump victory coming for a long time,” she told me. Writing last spring, she’d called Trump “raw, crude and uninformed” but also “smart, intuitive and a quick study”; she praised his “bumptious exuberance and slashing humor” (and took some pleasure in watching him fluster the GOP). Speaking two weeks into his administration, she sounded altogether less troubled by the president than any other self-declared feminist I’d encountered since Inauguration Day: “He is supported by half the country, hello! And also, this ethically indefensible excuse that all Trump voters are racist, sexist, misogynistic, and all that — American democracy cannot proceed like this, with this reviling half the country.”

In fact, she has had to restrain herself from agreeing with the president, at least on certain matters. “I have been on an anti–Meryl Streep campaign for about 30 years,” she said. When Trump called the actress “overrated” in a January tweet, “I wanted to leap into print and take that line but I couldn’t, because Trump said it.”

I found this (by the interviewer) revealing, though:

The past few years have felt like a return to the identity-politics wars of the 1990s, another period in which liberals (especially those inside the academy) began to draw bright lines dictating the boundaries of acceptable discourse. [Emphasis mine]

She keeps using that word “liberal.” I don’t think it means what she thinks it means.

The American “Elite”

Are they really elite?

No:

Elitism sometimes seems predicated on being branded with the proper degrees. But when universities embrace a therapeutic curriculum and politically correct indoctrination, how can a costly university degree guarantee knowledge or inductive thinking?

Is elitism defined by an array of brilliant and proven theories?

Not really. University-sired identity politics has not led to racial and ethnic harmony.

Is there free speech or diversity of thought on campuses? Did progressive government save the inner cities? Are elites at least better-spoken and more knowledgeable than the rest of us?

Long before Trump’s monotonous repetition of “tremendous” and “great,” Barack Obama thought “corpsmen” was pronounced “corpse-men,” and that Austrians spoke “Austrian” rather than German.

Not long ago, Representative Hank Johnson (D., Ga.) warned that if Guam became too populated it might just tip over and sink.

They’re just credentialed. Elite people are actually educated, knowledgable and competent.

Bill Nye On Tucker Carlson

Bill Nye the Pseudo-Psychology Guy was amazing to behold last night.

Scott Adams has a good take on it:

Tucker then asked Nye a simple question about climate science. He asked how much of the warming is caused by human activity. Nye’s entire ego depended on knowing whether human activity is contributing to climate change in a big way, a medium way, or a small way. Tucker wanted some details. How much difference do humans make? After all, Nye had said this was settled science. Tucker just wanted to know what that settled science said.

Nye didn’t know. And by not knowing that simple answer about the percentage of human contribution to warming – the only issue that really mattered to the topic – he proved in public that his opinions on science are not based on facts or knowledge. Nye tried and tried to dodge the question, but Tucker was relentless. That was the trigger. Nye could plainly see, thanks to Tucker’s simple question, that his belief in science was just a belief, because he didn’t actually know the science. When your self-image and ego get annihilated on live television, you can’t simply admit you have been ridiculous all along. Your brain can’t let you do that to yourself. So instead, it concocts weird hallucinations to force-glue your observations into some sort of semi-coherent movie in which you are not totally and thoroughly wrong. That semi-coherent movie will look like a form of insanity to observers.

Look for Nye to go totally mental in the last minute of the clip, changing the topic to political leaks for no apparent reason. That’s your tell. His brain just sort of broke right in front of you.

If I’d been debating him, when he started ranting about being able to grow grapes in England, I’d have asked, “Bill, have you ever heard of Hadrian’s wall? Because the Romans were growing grapes that far north 2000 years ago. Do you know why Greenland was called that, and why North America was called “Vinland” by the Vikings? Are you blaming their SUVs?”

[Wednesday-afternoon update]

Nine reasons you shouldn’t listen to Bill Nye about science. Or anything else. And only nine?

The Enemy Of My Enemy

This post is related to this one. I agree with Ben Shapiro:

Unfortunately, many conservatives have embraced this sort of binary thinking: If it angers the Left, it must be virtuous. Undoubtedly, that’s a crude shorthand for political thinking. It means you never have to check the ideas of the speaker, you merely have to check how people respond to him.

That’s dangerous. It leads to supporting bad policies and bad men. The enemy of your enemy isn’t always your friend. Sometimes he’s your enemy. Sometimes he’s just a dude sitting there minding his own business.

You don’t have enough information to know.

The logic of “if he melts snowflakes, he’s one of us” actually hands power to the Left, by allowing leftists to define conservatives’ friends. It gets to choose whom we support. This isn’t speculative. It happened during the 2016 primaries, when the media attacked Trump incessantly, driving Republicans into his outstretched arms. The media’s obvious hatred for Trump was one of the chief arguments for Trump from his advocates: If, as his detractors claimed, he wasn’t conservative, then why would the leftist media hate him so much?

And yes, many of Trump’s policies are bad, and he is in many ways a bad man. I’m glad she lost, but I don’t have to be glad he won, and because I was never a supporter, I don’t have to reflexively defend everything he does, though I will in fact defend him when the attack is unfair.

Read the whole thing.

[Thursday-morning update]

How Trump could create a Republican split. Or lovefest.

BTW, I’ve never predicted that the Senate would remove Trump. Just that, unlike her, it could.

The Media

Trump is beating it at its own game.

I’m glad someone finally is, but I wish it were someone both more knowledgable and less childish. It’s possible to play that game without being him. I could certainly do it.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: Trump haters: Do these two thought experiments. I can easily imagine the latter, and would vastly prefer it. Though I’d prefer him with policies less economically ignorant.