A badger among kittens by Denton Salle

Certain stories make the rounds about wild animals that get mistaken for pets. It can be someone from another country trying to pick up a skunk because it looks like a cat, a coyote or bear cub thought to be a stray dog, or a feral dog left alone with a house cat.

The sheer size of the supply hole makes it hard to blame either wind or deregulation for the failure. While pictures of frozen wind turbines may be evocative, ERCOT’s forecasts do not rely on a large amount of wind to sustain the system—and wind ended up meeting those expectations. Some have argued that the low cost of wind power over the last decade has forced the retirement of more reliable power plants that could have helped make up the gap had they been there. I’ve addressed those arguments at length elsewhere; here I’ll add that many of the recently retired Texas plants were rendered unprofitable not by wind but by the fracking-induced fall in natural gas prices. And given how many thermal plants failed, it doesn’t seem plausible that having a few more of them would have made the difference.

Similarly, there is little reason to think that Texas’ competitive electric system is to blame. ERCOT’s most recent winter forecast included a worst-case scenario for the grid that roughly predicted the needed demand but underestimated the amount of generation that would be unusable by almost half. A more centralized or state-run electric system almost certainly would have relied on the same forecast and ended up in the same situation. In retrospect, it’s easy to blame generators for not doing more to protect their plants from cold. But if a plant had known that unprecedented cold was coming and had weatherized, it would now be reaping millions in benefits. The problem was not a lack of incentives but a lack of imagination.

Source: A badger among kittens by Denton Salle

The Intellectuals’ Assault on Intelligence

The current class of intellectuals, whether inside the universities or outside as a product thereof, now flout the principles of logic and reason far more than their relentlessly mocked uneducated rubes ever did.  Complex issues requiring thoughtful analysis of probabilistic tradeoffs and consequences are replaced with simplistic models that would have left the intellectuals of yesteryear aghast.  Where complicated continuums are warranted, binary scales are substituted in which anything besides absolute purity is considered evil.  False analogies, poor pattern recognition, hasty conclusions, misjudging the whole by a part, ascribing false motives and meanings have become the artisan bread and butter of the pontificating patricians.  Double standards abound in which moving goalposts of unethical or even criminal behavior are applied to capture political opponents, while flexible extenders are granted to liberate supporters.  Political opponents, along with groups they may be associated with, are defined by their worst moments or qualities or members, regardless of how insignificant.  Conversely, supporters and their associated groups will be defined by their best moments and qualities and members, no matter how meager.  Finally all the abuses of logic and reason are wrapped up in shiny packages called science-data-facts with great big bows called decency so that those who refuse such offerings are taunted, censored, blacklisted, and ultimately criminalized.

This attack on reason is the symptom of a cause that has its origins in the great saboteur of free thought: pride.  Without acknowledging the limits and intrinsic instability of the intellect, there is a tendency for our natures to err in favor of self-interest.  The intellect takes the back seat to our reptilian passions or, even worse, becomes the servant of the reptile.  Confirmation bias takes over as pride, greed, envy, vengeance overpower the intellect.  Pride will shift the objective of knowledge-seekers from truth to self-glorification, agendas that often conflict.  The intellect is apt to pervert itself not to enlighten and explore, but to deceive and conceal.  To achieve virtue, the intellect is dependent on humility — humility to mistrust both the completeness of our own understanding and the purity of our own motives. Humility is necessary to acknowledge how easily we go from rational to rationalizing when our desires are strong enough to sacrifice not only our nobler sensibilities, but also the welfare of others, especially the ones we never cared for to begin with.  It is in that humility where we will find the humanity that will save us from destroying the lives of others in our intoxicating prideful pursuit of the knowledge of good and evil.

Hat tip: The Intellectuals’ Assault on Intelligence

Source: American Thinker

Dan Crenshaw’s America

On Friday, though, Crenshaw published a Twitter thread (which I’m presenting below as a straight text list) that deserves respect.  In it, he simply and clearly articulates principles that are the antithesis of the madness the Biden administration and the rest of the Democrat party crew are imposing on our nation:

The Conservative Guide to the Culture Wars (in no particular order):

1. America is worthy of our love and patriotism.

2. Victor mentality is better than a victim mentality.

3. Free speech is absolute. “Hate speech” is not an objective term.

4. It doesn’t matter what kind of gun you restrict, criminals still hurt people. Let us protect ourselves.

5. You get to keep wealth you create & pass it to your kids.

6. The govt has no right to shut down your business or invade your home without due process, even in pandemics.

7. Women should not have to compete against men in women’s sports.

8. Verifying ID to vote is not racist.  It is common sense.

9. Borders and national sovereignty are not racist or xenophobic.

10. You can’t have freedom without order, order without law, law without morality, morality without religion, or religion without God.

11. Innocent until proven guilty — not the other way around.

12. Personal responsibility is a virtue.

13. Never give into cancel culture (but stay humble and apologize when you’re wrong).

14. The founding was 1776, not 1619.

15. Stand for the anthem.

16. Policy that favors one race over another is not “social justice,” it is racist.

17. It’s Latinos, not Latinx.

18. Less abortion, more adoption.

19. Only women can be pregnant and breastfeed.

20. It’s ok to lose in competitive sports, and second place trophies don’t help anyone (but also see # 7).

21. More police, not defund the police.

22. We don’t tear up the past, we learn from it.

23. This list is not exhaustive.

Source: Dan Crenshaw’s America

Why Math Is Racist

(John Hinderaker) This is actually a claim that is being made often these days: the sciences in general, and math in particular, are racist. The latest comes from Oregon :

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages “ethnomathematics” and argues, among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer.

….

Liberals believe that scientific and mathematical talent are distributed unequally among the races, with Asians being well-endowed in those areas, and blacks below average. Therefore, it is appropriate to discriminate against Asians and to lower standards for blacks–e.g., by pretending that it is unimportant to get the right answer to a math problem.

Source: Why Math Is Racist

Gina Carano Wasn’t Fired Over a Holocaust Meme

The Mandalorian star and former MMA fighter Gina Carano was axed from Lucasfilm on Wednesday over what the company called ‘abhorrent and unacceptable’ social media posts. The final straw, according to various reports, was a post making comparisons between current political divisiveness and the Holocaust.

….

But debates about whether or not Carano’s post crossed a line are missing the forest for the trees — because that’s not why she was fired. If Lucasfilm really had a problem with comparing today’s political climate with Nazi Germany, they would have canned The Mandalorian‘s other lead star, Pedro Pascal. In a 2018 tweet, Pascal posted a meme with side-by-side photos of Jewish people locked in a concentration camp and what were alleged to be migrant children being held in detention centers at the southern border. This is nonsensical for numerous reasons, the most obvious being that the US government is not massacring migrant children. Ironically, the photo Pascal shared did not show children in US detention centers, but of Palestinian children waiting to be fed at a soup kitchen from 2010. The IHRC’s definition of anti-Semitism, accepted by the State Department, includes gratuitous comparison between Nazi Germany and Israel.

Pascal’s post was fine and Carano’s was not because Pascal was criticizing the ‘right’ people. He passed Hollywood’s political litmus test by attacking the Trump administration, lecturing Carano about how not putting her pronouns in her Twitter bio was transphobic, and publicly supporting his brother when he came out as transgender. He even passed the liberal litmus test when it emerged that those were Palestinian children in that photo. Carano, meanwhile, has run afoul of the woke mob too many times before by questioning insane COVID masking and lockdown policies, speaking out against political censorship and, you know, just generally not being a flaming leftist.

Carano’s firing is a tribal culling of anyone who steps out of line from the entertainment industry’s progressive orthodoxy. Lucasfilm merely used her post about the Holocaust as a justification for something they’ve been wanting to do for a long time. All Carano did wrong was dare to exist in a space that has no tolerance for ideological independence.

Source: Gina Carano Wasn’t Fired Over a Holocaust Meme

Democrats continue to fail in separating Trump from his base

For more than five years, every attempt to take Trump down involved trying to sever him from his base.  Democrats think the bond is emotional, missing that conservatives do not choose their leaders based on emotion.  They choose the people they will support based on facts and reason:

1. The Mueller investigation focused on Russia because Democrats think Trump-supporters still have a Cold War mentality and assumed they would abandon him if he had been connected to Russians.  Supporters saw that the facts did not support that he was a Russian sympathizer.

2. The Access Hollywood “Grab them…” tape was an effort to link Mr. Trump to behavior that Christians would hate.  They forget that Christians are noted for forgiving past indiscretions when a person has shown a change in behavior.

3. The Ukrainian impeachment was appealing to conservatives’ opposition to seeing justice manipulated for personal gain, but conservatives saw that Trump did not manipulate justice and that it was a specific Democrat who gained personally.

4. The emoluments clause attack was an attack on Trump’s allegedly unfair business and earning abilities because Democrats thought that would appeal to conservatives’ sense of fairness in business.  Conservative knew, however, that Trump’s businesses had been damaged because he was president.

5. The Charlottesville attack was intended to accuse Trump of being a racist to tar his supporters as racists.  Conservatives know they are not racist, whether systemically or by privilege.

6. Not accepting the outcome of an election was to appeal to conservatives’ support for legal processes, but the evidence quickly began to accumulate that maybe there was a problem with the process.

7. Democrats used a pandemic to make Trump look unscientific and dangerous.  Conservatives, however, examined the sometimes contradictory information that was coming out and couldn’t fault Trump.

8. The Democrats tried to sever conservatives’ support for the police by provoking in them the fear that they are living in a police state.  Conservatives noted that local leaders were supporting the rioters and pushing back against federal intervention — and that Trump was content to avoid turning the federal government into a police state.

9. The latest effort is to make Trump into an insurrectionist, something a conservative would never be.  Trump-supporters, though, know that Trump never urged violence against the government and that he offered National Guard troops whom the mayor and congressional leaders did not want.  A person does not lead an insurrection by bringing in forces to fight an insurrection.

Source: Democrats continue to fail in separating Trump from his base

Read the Column the New York Times Didn’t Want You To Read

Every serious moral philosophy, every decent legal system and every ethical organization cares deeply about intention.

It is the difference between murder and manslaughter. It is an aggravating or extenuating factor in judicial settings. It is a cardinal consideration in pardons (or at least it was until Donald Trump got in on the act). It’s an elementary aspect of parenting, friendship, courtship and marriage.

….

“Racist language” is not just about a single infamous word. It’s a broad, changing, contestable category. There are many people — I include myself among them — who think that hardcore anti-Zionism is a form of anti-Semitism. That’s also official policy at the State Department and the British Labour Party. If anti-Semitism is a form of racism, and racist language is intolerable at The Times, might we someday forbid not only advocacy of anti-Zionist ideas, but even refuse to allow them to be discussed?

The idea is absurd. But that’s the terrain we now risk entering.

We are living in a period of competing moral certitudes, of people who are awfully sure they’re right and fully prepared to be awful about it. Hence the culture of cancellations, firings, public humiliations and increasingly unforgiving judgments. The role of good journalism should be to lead us out of this dark defile. Last week, we went deeper into it.

Source: Read the Column the New York Times Didn’t Want You To Read

Gina Carano Needs To Sue Lucasfilms Into Penury

We need an “anti-fragility” movement. It should be a mark of shame to be so fragile that the merest hint of anything offensive causes a melt-down.

Gina Carano has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism by her employer, Lucasfilm.  She needs to sue the corporation until everyone involved in the decision to fire her is fired and until she is remunerated for the permanent damage to her career.

Gina Carano was a former MMA fighter, a Trump-supporting Republican, and, until today, a popular actress appearing as “Cara Dune” in Disney’s Star Wars: The Mandalorian.  Now, she is unemployed.

[Carano] . . . will reportedly no longer be part of the franchise’s future. The news was confirmed on Wednesday night in a statement from a Lucasfilm spokesperson, revealing that Carano is not expected to return to the series’ future seasons, or to any other future projects in the franchise.

Apparently, Lucasfilm has been “looking for a reason to fire [Carano] for two months . . .”  Today, her employers found their excuse.

That excuse is that Carano’s . . .:

. . . social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.

Oh, my word.  It appears that Carano’s former employer is accusing her of being a raging anti-semite.  Clearly, this is a woman who should never work again in the public square.  Except that, curiously, Lucasfilm does not quote Carano’s anti-Semitic post.  So what exactly did Carano say?

“Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.”

It is ludicrous to claim that there is anything about that statement, nor the concluding question, that is anti-Semitic.  Neither makes the slightest derogatory reference to Jews.

Source: Gina Carano Needs To Sue Lucasfilms Into Penury

Cancel back

Don’t back down. Don’t apologize. Don’t make clarifications, and don’t try to appease the mob. All of these will only be taken as concessions, and embolden the mob to demand more. The real Achilles’s Heel of the cancel crowd is its short attention span. Once they bully someone into submission, they move on to the next victim. It’s a system designed for quick wins. If you don’t back down, they’ll raise the pitch as far as they can—but eventually they’ll be at a loss for what to do next, and all but the most fanatical will lose interest. The few that remain, now bereft of their backup, are just what you need to teach all of them a lesson, as we did in my case.

– Pedro Domingos from the excellent article “Beating Back Cancel Culture: A Case Study from the Field of Artificial Intelligence”

Source: Samizdata quote of the day