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Saturday, May 03, 2014

[OTP - May 2014] House stadium funding package advances with Cuban baseball player provision

A bill that would enable professional sports franchises to compete for sales tax subsidies cleared a major hurdle Friday, winning overwhelming support in the Florida House.

The tax breaks would be available to professional football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams, as well as professional rodeos and NASCAR-sponsored events.

But baseball teams would have to stay on the bench — unless Major League Baseball changes its rules about Cuban baseball players.

Lawmakers added the stipulation in response to media reports that Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig had been held hostage by human traffickers while trying to establish residency in Mexico in 2012.

Under Major League Baseball rules, players from Cuba must live in another country before they can become free agents. Cuban players who come directly to the United States are forced into the amateur draft, which limits their salaries.

“Major League Baseball [has] inadvertently created a market for human smuggling and the unequal treatment of Cuban baseball players,” said Rep. José Félix Díaz, R-Miami, who introduced the provision with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. “We’re not going to give away our taxpayer dollars until this ill is corrected.”

In response, the MLB issued the following statement: “While the sponsors of the bill in Florida blame MLB policies for the role of human smugglers, they do not provide any support for their premise that Cuban players must rely on traffickers to defect to countries other than the U.S. such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic, but would not need the assistance of traffickers to reach U.S. soil.”

 

Tripon Posted: May 03, 2014 at 09:38 AM | 4455 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics

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   2001. Lassus Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:08 AM (#4707208)
Letting Martin golf on the PGA tour is akin to giving Derek Jeter four strikes because he's lost a step.

I'm not entirely convinced by Martin's case, but using examples like this hurt your case, not help it. Martin's situation is nothing like your example, so if you're going to lambaste intellectual dishonesty, let's keep a clear head.
   2002. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4707210)
I'm all for bringing conservative speakers to campus for events, lectures, whatever. I've gotten to see both daddy and junior Paul, the Mitt Romney lite dude from Utah no one seemed to care about, and a bunch of other prominent conservative politicians at events. The talks themselves are typically quite boring (in that there's no position stated you couldn't learn about on their web site), but question-and-answer sessions are super-valuable for students: by teaching them to engage with their leaders, to not be afraid to ask them questions in public (this is easy for the activist types, but most students are not that), the events help craft better citizens IMO.

But the commencement speech, as a format, is not that at all, and students, faculty, staff, admin, ect should absolutely be empowered to express their views on the types of speakers they want their institution honoring. WRT Birgeneau, this is a guy who was controversial for how campus police, under his direction, responded to student protests on a college campus. Can you see why students might not want to honor someone who ordered student beatings? Again, bringing him to campus for a debate on the question of administration response to student protests would be a different story-- not allowing him to speak at an event would censor a potentially valuable contribution to the discussion, and it that instance, students would be hurting themselves and the community by giving air time/responses to his perspective.


I see the distinction, and it's been brought up before, but the overriding message is still one of not wanting to hear views you disagree with for political reasons. I should add that my quarrel is less with the protesters than it is with administrators who given in so easily. The speakers who voluntarily withdraw are in a more ambiguous position, but I tend to have greater admiration for the ones who hold their ground.

--------------------------------------

As to why someone is "neanderthal" if he states that if one can't abide by the rules one shouldn't be allowed to enter the competition, that's anyone's guess. Letting Martin golf on the PGA tour is akin to giving Derek Jeter four strikes because he's lost a step.

Another great analogy from BTF's all time champion neanderthal, slouching along with Scalia and Thomas while the rest of the world has moved on.
   2003. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:14 AM (#4707213)
I'm not entirely convinced by Martin's case,

Lassus, here's what Justice Stevens had to say in rightly dismissing the PGA's case against Martin:

There is no doubt that allowing Martin to use a cart would not fundamentally alter the nature of petitioner’s tournaments, given the District Court’s uncontested finding that Martin endures greater fatigue with a cart than his able-bodied competitors do by walking. The waiver of a peripheral tournament rule that does not impair its purpose cannot be said to fundamentally alter the nature of the athletic event.
   2004. Lassus Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4707217)
Lassus, here's what Justice Stevens had to say in rightly dismissing the PGA's case against Martin:

Oh, I'm perfectly fine with the ruling given the rules. I'm simply philosophically biased as I have always thought a caddy was ridiculous and even unfair. If you can't carry the clubs and make the decisions yourself it should affect the score. I guess it's not really Martin's fault I'm not convinced.
   2005. GregD Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4707219)
I draw a sharp distinction between the Ray Kelly incident at brown and these. Speakers should be able to speak though colleges should also require any speaker they invite to take questions, something that lots of speakers have asked to be exempt from.

The middle ground is fees. If a college typically pays a fee it shouldn't withhold it from someone for political reasons. On the other hand a college is not required to triple its fee in the name of balance. One trick Gingrich taught college republicans was to demand balance but then use that to pay his astonishing speakers fees. This makes balance into a scam, and is equally true when it happens on the left. Gingrich however gets points in my book for always being in my experience open to questions from the audience.

On honors, obviously no one has a right to be honored. And students are within their bounds in questioning why someone is singled out to be honored. Universities have become increasingly crass about honoring anybody that will get their presidents more access often not even to donations but yo personal spots on corporate boards. Students are right to demand to know why someone is being honored. That is not censorship at all
   2006. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4707225)
the overriding message is still one of not wanting to hear views you disagree with for political reasons.
Eh, that might be the message to anyone who has never been to a commencement before. Everyone else knows they aren't really places where views are expressed (again, due to the conventions of the commencement speech-- if Dawkins was giving a commencement speech, I hope he'd have the good sense to not antagonize religious folks).
I should add that my quarrel is less with the protesters than it is with administrators who given in so easily.
Why? The commencement speaker is supposed to be an expression of the values of the institution. But those values are open to interpretation and negotiation by the populations inhabiting that institution at a given moment. I would hope these would be occasions for dialogue in the campus community about those values. At the least, these sorts of agitations by students show that they're engaged rather than apathetic-- I would rather see students be activists about an issue of campus governance I disagree with them on than have them see campus policies as something they have no control over or say in. We're a better society IMO if we think of universities as citizens factories instead of just employee factories.
   2007. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:34 AM (#4707230)
Oh, I'm perfectly fine with the ruling given the rules. I'm simply philosophically biased as I have always thought a caddy was ridiculous and even unfair. If you can't carry the clubs and make the decisions yourself it should affect the score.

Of course as you realize, that would make professional golf an entirely different sport than what it's been for most of its history. But I do admit that forcing pros to carry their own clubs would make the PGA's claim about how "strenuous" it is for an athlete in prime physical condition to walk 18 holes a bit more credible. Christ, I'm nearly 70 and with a bad knee, but without a bag of heavy clubs, even I could walk that far over a grassy terrain, especially with breaks allowed every few minutes.
   2008. Publius Publicola Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4707240)
The risks of globalizing your economy without bothering to construct a military/diplomatic infrastructure to protect it:

China Targeted by Vietnamese in Fiery Riots

BINH DUONG PROVINCE, Vietnam — Dozens of foreign-owned factories near Ho Chi Minh City lay in charred ruins early Thursday after thousands of Vietnamese workers rampaged over China’s latest efforts to control the South China Sea, this time off Vietnam’s coast.

The riots marked a rare outpouring of popular outrage over China’s increasingly insistent claims to strategically important, resource-rich seas. But in their rage, the Vietnamese workers appeared to misdirect their anger, attacking businesses from countries that took the risk of investing in their nation.

The explosion of violence reflected growing animosity in the region as China works to solidify its claims over vast parts of two seas that other nations have long considered their own.


So, remind me again why we needed to militarily intervene in Vietnam again to stop the Red Peril?
   2009. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4707241)
The middle ground is fees.

If it were up to me, the only fees I'd ever offer a commencement speaker would be traveling expenses. That would probably lower the branding of the commencement while simultaneously raising its intellectual content.

And FTR I didn't attend my own commencement. I've never placed much value in that sort of mindless ritual, which probably reinforces my views on why anyone should really care about who's giving the address.

------------------------------------------

I should add that my quarrel is less with the protesters than it is with administrators who given in so easily.

Why? The commencement speaker is supposed to be an expression of the values of the institution. But those values are open to interpretation and negotiation by the populations inhabiting that institution at a given moment. I would hope these would be occasions for dialogue in the campus community about those values. At the least, these sorts of agitations by students show that they're engaged rather than apathetic-- I would rather see students be activists about an issue of campus governance I disagree with them on than have them see campus policies as something they have no control over or say in. We're a better society IMO if we think of universities as citizens factories instead of just employee factories.


Again, I have no problem with the protests per se, only with the idea that they should have a de facto veto power over the choice.
   2010. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4707248)
Oh, I'm perfectly fine with the ruling given the rules. I'm simply philosophically biased as I have always thought a caddy was ridiculous and even unfair. If you can't carry the clubs and make the decisions yourself it should affect the score. I guess it's not really Martin's fault I'm not convinced.


You can always pretend that it's just a big motorized wheelchair, if it makes you feel any better.
   2011. The Good Face Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4707278)
Still, those traditionalists fear the writing they see all to clearly on the wall. Some even come across as saying that the pursuit of scientific truth should defer to social policy. We dare not know. We should simply ignore thinking and exploring systematically what these differences might lead to because of the possible dire path it may lead us down socially and politically.


They'll ignore it until economic reality forces them to accept the truth. People act as they believe, and they believe as they've been conditioned to believe, and we have multiple generations of people who've been conditioned to buy into the "blank slate" nonsense. However, an even bigger issue is that our society has built up a nice racket around the "blank slate" misconception; it's a ticket to wealth and political power as the New Yorker article I posted yesterday explained. The money quote; "Everybody's getting paid, but Raheem still can't read."
   2012. Shredder Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4707281)
There are basically two reasons that the professional golf tours and top amateur events require players to walk: Tradition, and aesthetics. There are really no indications that walking is any more difficult than riding over the course of 18 holes, especially when someone else is dragging your bag. It may sound counter-intuitive, but it's true, at least in terms of how it wears you down (which it really doesn't) over a round. The only time I think walking makes the game slightly more difficult is when you've walked up a large hill and have to hit a delicate chip or putt shortly thereafter, and I mean really shortly. The racing heart rate can be bothersome. But those guys on Tour play so slow that they could practically take a nap between shots.

Personally, I wouldn't mind a rule for professional golf that said you are allowed to have something carry your clubs, and if you choose for that to be a cart, you may also ride in it. But you cannot have both a cart and a caddie. Every single player on Tour would choose to walk with a caddie.
   2013. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM (#4707287)
Lassus, here's what Justice Stevens had to say in rightly dismissing the PGA's case against Martin:


There is no doubt that allowing Martin to use a cart would not fundamentally alter the nature of petitioner’s tournaments, given the District Court’s uncontested finding that Martin endures greater fatigue with a cart than his able-bodied competitors do by walking. The waiver of a peripheral tournament rule that does not impair its purpose cannot be said to fundamentally alter the nature of the athletic event.


Of course, even that skips a major issue: Stevens had no business applying the ADA to this situation in the first place. Martin was not a "customer" of professional golf and was entitled to no accommodations. The customers are the people in the audience. Nor was professional golf a "place of public accommodation" within the statute.

But having bizarrely found that Martin was a "customer" of professional golf, the Court then erroneously held that the PGA had to provide Martin not simply with ACCESS to the competition, but with a competition different from that offered to everyone else.

The Court had no business deciding which rules were "essential" and which were not. The rules are the rules, and the PGA was entitled to promulgate them as it saw fit, just as MLB is entitled to make baselines 90 feet apart. Why not 88 feet? Why not 86? Why not why not why not. Because every rule is fundamental. If Martin were a professional baseball player he would not be rightfully entitled to baselines that were 85 feet apart under the ADA, and no, that's not a silly metaphor; it's quite similar to what happened by allowing him a golf cart while still forcing the other golfers to walk.

If you see a difference between a golf cart where one is not allowed and an 85 foot baseline for one player but a 90 foot baseline for all the others, it's only because you operate on whimsy, not on principle.


   2014. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4707290)
Tiny point, but the Martin case was PGA Tour v. Martin. One of the more confusing nomenclatures in sports, but the PGA is quite a different organization from the Tour.

And it's a unusual case. Martin has a disability, but he's not a parathlete. One theory, as others have noted, is that his accommodation doesn't give him any advantage at the sport if it just neutralizes his disability. You'd probably have to judge the effects of such accommodations case-by-case. It isn't super-obvious that transportation is either integral to golf or ancillary to it, which makes the case hard to decide, I agree. At a certain point in the mid/late-20th century, some Tour golfers would drive from venue to venue while others would fly; flying must have been a huge advantage, but was just seen as one of the self-reinforcing perks of success, not as fundamentally unfair, because it was "just" transportation.

You could argue that a cart, for a specifically disabled golfer, is much less an advantage than vision correction in golf or any other sport, yet we take vision correction for granted (except when it becomes a point of reference in PEDs arguments :)
   2015. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:18 AM (#4707291)
Aren't sports and athletic competition by definition about arbitrary rules? And doesn't the substituting of an equivalency kind of defeat the whole point about having to play a particular game a particular way, no matter how trivial or pointless they are or seem to be? I think we can all come up with suggestions for a contest along the lines of "what does it all matter, anyway, it's all the same?" Especially if we place the burden on the sport to prove it isn't. Substantive justification for a rule is dicey proposition.
   2016. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:19 AM (#4707293)
Letting Martin golf on the PGA tour is akin to giving Derek Jeter four strikes because he's lost a step.

I'm not entirely convinced by Martin's case, but using examples like this hurt your case, not help it. Martin's situation is nothing like your example, so if you're going to lambaste intellectual dishonesty, let's keep a clear head.


I didn't pick my example at random (although I should have linked Jeter having lost a step to a recognized disability). Scalia used something similar in his dissent:

[T]he Court guarantees that future cases of this sort will have to be decided on the basis of individualized factual findings. Which means that future cases of this sort will be numerous, and a rich source of lucrative litigation. One can envision the parents of a Little League player with attention deficit disorder trying to convince a judge that their son’s disability makes it at least 25% more difficult to hit a pitched ball. (If they are successful, the only thing that could prevent a court order giving the kid four strikes would be a judicial determination that, in baseball, three strikes are metaphysically necessary, which is quite absurd.)
   2017. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4707298)
You can always pretend that it's just a big motorized wheelchair, if it makes you feel any better.


Sure. And he wasn't entitled to one.
   2018. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4707303)
Aren't sports and athletic competition by definition about arbitrary rules? And doesn't the substituting of an equivalency kind of defeat the whole point about having to play a particular game a particular way, no matter how trivial or pointless they are or seem to be?


Yes, and yes.
   2019. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4707306)
people who've been conditioned to buy into the "blank slate" nonsense

I'll just note that positing that a large amount of human behavior is biologically based is a very different thing from positing that there are essential behavioral differences among human populations. I'll return to language: a given language is entirely cultural; the capacity for language is entirely biological; there are no differences (that I've ever read about) among the linguistic capacities of different human populations. (There's some controversy at the very margins of linguistics, as in the work of Daniel Everett, who suggests that there's a tribe or two out there that has a very different structure to both language and innate worldview, but the majority of linguists consider Everett's claim to be tendentious at best, for excellent empirical reasons.)

It is possible for both blank-slate theory and racialist theory to be equal nonsense.
   2020. Ron J2 Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4707308)
#1979 But (former teammate) Tiger Woods did not agree with the PGA. And it was probably material that there are (admittedly rare) situations where a cart was permitted in normal play. Mostly having to do with hitting the ball some place weird where course layout made it time consuming to get to (devil's in the details here and I honestly don't know the specifics)
   2021. Lassus Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4707309)
Citing the Supreme Court - or any court - to Ray is not really your best strategy.
   2022. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4707310)
And on commencement speakers: I'm kind of dismayed by the tendency to invite speakers and then disinvite them. Speech should be free, which includes the right of students or faculty or community to critique or protest a given speaker. But what's wrong with inviting a somewhat controversial speaker and then encouraging discussion? This invite/rescind pattern shows that the inviters are concerned merely about having anything tarnish the brand, not about encouraging conversation. Another example of schools being run like businesses …
   2023. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:31 AM (#4707312)
In a related, though probably not analogous topic, how do we feel about Dustin McGowan starting to wear his insulin pump on the field this season?
   2024. simon bedford Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4707313)
i think the pressing question is what did renee richards think of the entire martin case?
   2025. simon bedford Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4707314)
i would feel better if he didnt pitch so blah last night greg
   2026. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM (#4707315)
We've probably been over this before, but how are commencement speakers chosen? It sure seems like BDC is right and the people who make the selection are worried about the brand of the school and pull back when there is protest. I'm sure in their ideal world they'd be warned as part of the selection process that there would be a protest and would avoid the whole mess by just not picking that person. How much input do faculty and staff have in the selection before it is made public?
   2027. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4707318)
i would feel better if he didnt pitch so blah last night greg

True, it would be more germane if I had asked it yesterday morning when he was on a good insulin pump run!

Actually, my brother brought this up and I didn't know the answer. Why wasn't he wearing it before? League regulations? The technology wasn't there previously to have it on while you're performing athletically?
   2028. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4707319)
2019:

I forget who--somebody big in science--was asked what ideas or theories in science were vulnerable to being overthrown. All of them, he replied.

"It's possible" is not a scientific disposition.

Wade's point concerns evolution that is recent copious and regional. We were hardwired for language long before what he's talking about. And, for that matter, all languages may not be equal.
   2029. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4707321)
It is possible for both blank-slate theory and racialist theory to be equal nonsense.

What do you mean by "racialist theory"? That genome clustering doesn't take place? That it does but has no phenotype effect? What?
   2030. The Good Face Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4707322)
I'll just note that positing that a large amount of human behavior is biologically based is a very different thing from positing that there are essential behavioral differences among human populations.


If a large amount of human behavior is biologically based (it is), and there are identifiable biological differences between human groups (there are), then it's possible that those biological differences could be responsible (to some degree) for behavioral differences. And, in fact, empirical evidence supports that.

It is possible for both blank-slate theory and racialist theory to be equal nonsense.


It's possible for any theory to be nonsense; that's why we need to observe reality and look to what the evidence shows us. Not what we really want to be true.
   2031. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4707326)
On the Richard Dawkins example. So, you'd invite someone who has certain, particular strict views, but then want to prohibit him from referring to them? What's the point?

It's like people I know who are Bob Dylan fans, but are often disappointed when they see him live. A guy I know said he's seen Dylan 15 times and he's "been good maybe three times." Hey, if you're a Dylan, you ought to know what to expect (the unexpected). He doesn't do live like most people. And it's kind of ridiculous at this point to expect him to conform to your expectations, when he's made it clear that he doesn't feel obligated to do that.
   2032. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4707327)
Aren't sports and athletic competition by definition about arbitrary rules? And doesn't the substituting of an equivalency kind of defeat the whole point about having to play a particular game a particular way, no matter how trivial or pointless they are or seem to be?

Only up to a point, and no. Thank God the Supreme Court occasionally can see through that sort of rote reading. Reducto ad absurdum slippery slope examples are always available to those like Scalia and Ray who want to ignore the real issue, but in any case that issue has now been legally decided once and for all, and nobody but a few cranks are still complaining.

----------------------------------------------

Citing the Supreme Court - or any court - to Ray is not really your best strategy.

Unless it's Pope Scalia, of course.

----------------------------------------------

i think the pressing question is what did renee richards think of the entire martin case?

And we're all dying to know what she thought of the kiss scene in Wings.
   2033. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4707335)
Why does a hitter after hitting a home run have to circle the basis--and touch them all, and counterclockwise? Isn't that trivial? And exposes the hitter to some danger? Why can't he just go straight back to the dugout? Is there some ritual aspect about this that appeal to fans?
   2034. simon bedford Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4707336)
i have to say each time i see the "wings" reference i think of either paul mccartney or that terrible sitcom.
   2035. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4707337)
But what's wrong with inviting a somewhat controversial speaker and then encouraging discussion?
Part of the issue is the publicness of the event. If I understand the protests right, it's really not wanting to honor the person in front of a crowd that consists mostly of those from outside of the campus community-- parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. Of course, most of those people, if they stay awake for it, won't take anything away from the speech other than "that Condi Rice, she's an amazing lady". So the speeches aren't about content at all, or exposure to diverse viewpoints, but about the 'honoring in front of an audience' part. And to the extent that students/faculty/staff conflate the school's identity with their own (which they're strongly encouraged to), they take a personal stake in the endorsement. So you could hold a meeting without the speaker in advance of their visit where you discussed what was problematic about their behavior, but all that gets seen on graduation day is the school's representatives publicly fawning over the speaker.

BDC, I'll assume you've heard a lot more commencement speeches than I have-- any that really stuck with you? I've found that they have an odd capacity for turning interesting people boring.

FWIW, I don't think "they withdraw the invite to avoid tarnishing the brand" is really all that valid a critique seeing that the invites are usually made as brand-building ventures-- it's all about putting parents and students (on the day they transition to being alums) in a giving mood. So yeah, running the schools like businesses sucks, but that ship sailed long before schools started rescinding invites.
   2036. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4707338)
In terms of the possible, the thing that interests me the most about Wade's book is his reading of the industrial revolution in Britain. At least I think it's in Wade's book...one of the articles on the book I read delved into the industrial revolution happening in Britain (as opposed to elsewhere in Europe) as caused by genetics, but it was a bit ambiguous whether the writer was taking that example from Wade or using it himself.

Can't really say for sure, but it sounds like a more convincing argument than some other theories of "Why the West Won" out there (I'm thinking in particular of Niall Ferguson and his unfortunately named "6 Killer Apps" of Western Civilization). In the review I read Wade appeared to be suggesting that current explanations of the Industrial Revolution are unsatisfying and genetics may provide the answer. I'd be curious to read more about that (though as a historian it almost seems like a job requirement that you have to find every current historical explanation for anything unsatisfying). Especially considering the mongrel genetic makeup of Britain in the centuries leading up to the 18th and 19th. In fact, one of the many background explanations of the Industrial Revolution was the peaceful co-existence of England and Scotland for the first time, and indeed the Scots played a large role in industrialization. Anyway, should be an interesting book. I'm not versed at all in genetics (which will now become immediately apparent), so forgive me if this is a stupid question, but would Wade be bringing genetic research directly to an argument like that? As in studies show British people have this genetic marker that Swedes don't. Or is it more a case of using the genetic research to prove genetic differences between various European nations exist and speculating from there about differences in economies?
   2037. Lassus Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4707339)
It's possible for any theory to be nonsense; that's why we need to observe reality and look to what the evidence shows us. Not what we really want to be true.

And how awesome it is when what we want to be true matches up with our observations of reality.
   2038. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4707340)
Is there some ritual aspect about this that appeal to fans?

There is when Edwin Encarnacion hits one. CHICKEN WING!
   2039. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4707342)
You know, there are a lot of mutant sports and games. Are they subject to SC review? Can someone just say, well, I can do wheelies and tricks with my wheel chair that are equivalent to gymnastic performances--or ice skating ballets. Why can't I take part? What if there would be a form of roller golf or something--let's say there was a rule that players had to crawl the 18 holes?
   2040. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4707344)
BDC, I'll assume you've heard a lot more commencement speeches than I have-- any that really stuck with you? I've found that they have an odd capacity for turning interesting people boring.

I admit I haven't watched the whole thing, but Peter Dinklage giving the address at what I assume is alma mater of Bennington College seemed like it electrified the crowd.
   2041. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4707345)
On the Richard Dawkins example. So, you'd invite someone who has certain, particular strict views, but then want to prohibit him from referring to them? What's the point?

It's like people I know who are Bob Dylan fans, but are often disappointed when they see him live. A guy I know said he's seen Dylan 15 times and he's "been good maybe three times." Hey, if you're a Dylan, you ought to know what to expect (the unexpected). He doesn't do live like most people. And it's kind of ridiculous at this point to expect him to conform to your expectations, when he's made it clear that he doesn't feel obligated to do that.
   2042. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4707346)
duplicate
   2043. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4707350)
On the Richard Dawkins example. So, you'd invite someone who has certain, particular strict views, but then want to prohibit him from referring to them? What's the point?
To say that you have a famous person as your commencement speaker.

I would love it if commencement speeches were about hearing the speaker say earth-shattering things, but they're not. They have generic conventions that speakers are expected to adhere to. If Dawkins spoke with his trademark pugilism, it'd be entertaining and engaging, but also offensive to a fair amount of the audience, and it would likely be the last commencement speech he was ever invited to give. And if Dawkins wanted to keep cashing the giant checks they give for commencement speeches, he'd be better off adhering to the conventions.
   2044. The Good Face Posted: May 15, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4707351)
It's possible for any theory to be nonsense; that's why we need to observe reality and look to what the evidence shows us. Not what we really want to be true.

And how awesome it is when what we want to be true matches up with our observations of reality.


Too awesome. If it's anything short of 100% conclusive proof, it should cause serious folks to be very cautious and repeatedly check their results and look for more evidence. We're all at risk to fall into confirmation bias.
   2045. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4707356)
#1979 But (former teammate) Tiger Woods did not agree with the PGA. And it was probably material that there are (admittedly rare) situations where a cart was permitted in normal play. Mostly having to do with hitting the ball some place weird where course layout made it time consuming to get to (devil's in the details here and I honestly don't know the specifics)


I don't recall those situations being noted in the decision, although maybe I'm misremembering. Regardless, the case should have been decided without ever playing this "is it an important rule" game.
   2046. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4707359)
You know, there are a lot of mutant sports and games. Are they subject to SC review? Can someone just say, well, I can do wheelies and tricks with my wheel chair that are equivalent to gymnastic performances--or ice skating ballets. Why can't I take part? What if there would be a form of roller golf or something--let's say there was a rule that players had to crawl the 18 holes?

Morty, you and Ray could probably spend the rest of the day dreaming up farfetched analogies in order to support the PGA Tour's long lost case against Casey Martin. I only ask that you at least include one hypothetical about pool, such as invoking the "one foot on the floor" rule against amputees in wheelchairs. Mustn't let those cripples get any "unfair advantages".
   2047. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4707362)
"Farfetched analogies." Lol.
   2048. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4707364)
would Wade be bringing genetic research directly to an argument like that? As in studies show British people have this genetic marker that Swedes don't

Near as I can tell from leafing through the reviews that Morty helpfully linked to, it's all speculation. Even a strongly positive reviewer like Robert VerBruggen says this:

When natural selection acted, what exactly was being selected for? Researchers have figured some of it out; genetic differences account for racial differences in skin tone, resistance to malaria, etc. But for many genes that have apparently been subject to recent natural selection, all we have are vague indications of their function. Wade writes that these genes affect "fertilization and reproduction," "skeletal development," and "brain function" -- and no, "brain genes do not lie in some special category exempt from natural selection."

That's what we know to a reasonable degree of certainty. Anything further requires speculation, and Wade boldly goes there


And the speculations appear to be stuff like "Chinese are thrifty" and "Jews are clever."

Again, I haven't read the book and won't have access to it for a while, unless I break down and pay cover price :) But I was struck among the negative reviews by a point made by Andrew Gelman. Let's say you establish that there are populations that show different skin colors, hair textures, resistance to malaria, and such superficial things. Then you notice that South Korea is a plucky little nation that has become rich lately. Ergo, Koreans have the thrift-and-enterprise genes! The problem is that there is no direct evidence for that, so it becomes a speculation you can apply to everything.

So for years the Irish were notable mainly for their fecklessness and improvidence, features they'd evolved somehow out of their brief Irish-Saved-Civilization genome. But then differential birthrates in different sectors of the Irish population made for a splendid generation of economic genius that fed the Celtic Tiger till about 2008 when a generation died off and the nasty mongrel children they began to have with all the Polish immigrant workers began to slack off and the country reverted to its shiftless ways. That's a nice "just-so story" that you can tell about any country in the lack of any evidence whatsoever.

The conceptual leap from large genomic groupings with superficial differences to concentrated bursts of supermen evolving here and there to drive some shortlived historical phenomenon seems enormous to me.
   2049. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4707365)
Dawkins cashes big checks right now, no matter what. And he has entered the lions den in many places, and delivered his pugilistic blows, to great acclaim, even in Bible Belt. Why would you think that the powers that flow from an agreement only flow one way? That the speaker has agreed to show up and do nothing but deliver a perfunctory nothing. Most of those people are not starlets on their knees before the naked Hollywood producer who decide they'll just pretend they're being knighted.
   2050. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4707367)
BDC, I'll assume you've heard a lot more commencement speeches than I have-- any that really stuck with you?

None. I remember certain general themes, such as Life Will Surprise You, You Have Learned How to Learn, and Businesses Really Want to Hire Liberal Arts Graduates, the last of which is just hilariously untrue :)
   2051. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4707368)
Morty, you and Ray could probably spend the rest of the day dreaming up farfetched analogies in order to support the PGA Tour's long lost case against Casey Martin.

Wasn't the Martin case a farfetched analogy?
   2052. The Good Face Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4707370)
So for years the Irish were notable mainly for their fecklessness and improvidence


Were?
   2053. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4707372)
The difference between the Martin case and the 85 foot basepath hypothetical is that the walk from one shot to another is a tangential matter to the sport itself and doesn't involve the actual playing of the sport. The essence of golf is swinging the club; the fact that you have to traverse space to repeat this essence is an unrelated accident. Running the basepaths is playing the sport; walking between shots is transporting yourself between playings of the sport. We find its true baseball analogy not in the basepaths, but instead the journey from the dugout to the plate, or even the journey from your home to the stadium.
   2054. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4707373)
Oh, and just to return to this sentence from VerBruggen:

for many genes that have apparently been subject to recent natural selection, all we have are vague indications of their function


Actual evolutionary biologists are extremely wary of attributing any trait or structure or process in an organism to selection, with very good reason. To say that a gene has been under selection pressure is a very difficult claim to substantiate: so to say that it's been under such pressure but we have no very good idea what it does, is nonsense. And the supposed genes that cause these behavioral differences between Koreans and Chinese or whatever are even more speculative than that.
   2055. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4707374)
Dawkins cashes big checks right now, no matter what.
Wasn't implying that he doesn't. When he came to my city to give a talk last year, you couldn't get near the place. The line was around the corner two hours before the event.
Why would you think that the powers that flow from an agreement only flow one way?
I plucked Dawkins out of the air as an example-- I wasn't suggesting that he would agree to a commencement speech, just that if he did, he'd be expected to not to not go all "religious people are stupid" during his speech, in large part because the commencement speech is intended to foster audience donations to the university.
   2056. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4707377)
DNA explains more than you think

An essay by Wade just published. Discusses the Industrial Revolution and more.

   2057. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4707379)
2055:

Well maybe he'd expect to be allowed to express his views--if nothing else as a validation of that which makes him the "name" that he is. Why would that be so outre?
   2058. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4707380)
Every reference I see to the Martin case makes me think of the McMartin Daycare case instead, which is .. really off-putting.
   2059. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4707382)
An essay by Wade just published. Discusses the Industrial Revolution and more.

Ah this clears up the ambiguities in my post. That is the article I read that inspired my post.

Note to self, read the author's name at the top.
   2060. GregD Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4707385)
Memorable grad speeches?

Everyone I know who ever taught at an NYC or ny state public u can recite senator schumers schtick which he delivers uninvited probably at ten schools a year by forcing himself on to the dais. Word for word the same each year

He is a force of nature if not a pleasant one
   2061. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4707388)
Well maybe he'd expect to be allowed to express his views--if nothing else as a validation of that which makes him the "name" that he is. Why would that be so outre?

In my experience commencement speeches are supposed to be about the students. So it would be like at your wedding, your best man giving a lecture on his latest research into bio-chemistry as his reception toast. The university picks a "name" that looks good on a program, but the great work he/she did to get that name usually don't seem that relevant to the content of the speech.
   2062. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4707389)
Peter Dinklage giving the address at what I assume is alma mater of Bennington College seemed like it electrified the crowd.

That was a total disgrace. They either gave Dinklage a raised platform, or a lowered podium. It was completely unfair to all the other commencement speakers who had to perform under uniform conditions.
   2063. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:27 AM (#4707391)
2053:

What happens on the field of play can hardly be tangential. If you go down that path, where does it end? And there are rules about staying in the dugout and how you act there and how and when you exit to the play on the field. Players can't just mill about. And as a player you are even restricted as to your "home". Or your home away from home. Or is can't teams require players on the road reside in the same place anymore?
   2064. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4707392)
The difference between the Martin case and the 85 foot basepath hypothetical is that the walk from one shot to another is a tangential matter to the sport itself and doesn't involve the actual playing of the sport. The essence of golf is swinging the club; the fact that you have to traverse space to repeat this essence is an unrelated accident. Running the basepaths is playing the sport; walking between shots is transporting yourself between playings of the sport. We find its true baseball analogy not in the basepaths, but instead the journey from the dugout to the plate, or even the journey from your home to the stadium.

This seems to be a point that's obvious to anyone but a handful of modern conservatives. (smile)

If anyone wanted to analogize between Martin and baseball, it'd be closer to allowing a cortisone shot under approved medical supervision, which would enable a player to return to, as Sugar Bear aptly puts it, "playing the sport" without debilitating pain. Hardly an "unfair advantage".
   2065. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4707397)
Thanks for the link in #2056, Morty.

The content doesn't inspire confidence, though. I would actually like for Wade to offer cogent arguments and give me something to think about. But his view of history seems feeble. For instance, from that #2056 article:

Before the Industrial Revolution, almost everyone in agrarian economies but the rich lived near the edge of starvation


That is daffy. I don't know how to describe how daffy that is. The ancient Hellenistic world? The Roman Freaking Empire? The high Middle Ages? The Renaissance? Hello? These were not edge-of-starvation times. I'm sorry, but Wade appears to be getting his history out of his imagination.
   2066. GregD Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4707398)
In terms of how they are chosen it varies. Some places have nomination processes. Generally the final decision is by the presidents office generally floated by the trustees. Sometimes this gets murky if there are a lot of trustees or layers of trustees as in the cuny case where one college invited tony kushner and then a cuny wide trustee blocked a vote approving it in protest of his views on Israel. The chair eventually resolved it. But trustees generally have to approve honorary degrees.

Some places give more voice to student or faculty groups which presumably then reduces protests or at least the scale of protest

Some places have pop culture class day speakers then high culture commencement speakers.

It had been the practice for a long time that the honorary degree was enough on its own to draw people and it was frowned upon to pay people additionally but that has clearly gone out the window
   2067. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4707400)
Well maybe he'd expect to be allowed to express his views--if nothing else as a validation of that which makes him the "name" that he is. Why would that be so outre?
He's not there to give his views. As Greg K said, it's not about the speaker, it's about the students. If you can't get on board with that, you shouldn't be giving a commencement speech. I don't know much about Dawkins' bio, but I'm guessing if he gave a commencement speech, it would be something relatively about how he came to love the search for knowledge. At least 2/3 of the crowd wouldn't know anything about Dawkins other than that he's famous, and by extension, the school is a Big Deal for getting someone so famous to speak.
   2068. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4707401)
transporting yourself between playings of the sport

We may need to add some factors to the ERA+ of those 1970s relievers who arrived on the mound via baseball-shaped golfcarts :-D

I think Bear makes great points in #2053 BTW, and the whole Wings thing is forgiven.
   2069. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4707403)
such as Life Will Surprise You, You Have Learned How to Learn, and Businesses Really Want to Hire Liberal Arts Graduates,
Your real masters can work all of them into one.
   2070. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4707404)
I think Bear makes great points in #2053 BTW, and the whole Wings thing is forgiven.

Perhaps. But those who have claimed the sit-com was awful shall never be forgiven.
   2071. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4707406)
a long time that the honorary degree was enough

Public institutions in Texas are not allowed to give honorary degrees, oddly enough. I don't know how speakers are chosen or what remuneration is involved. There may be some committee I've never been appointed to, or it may be the administration's call. I bet there are agencies that line up speakers and a campus can just outsource the choice. That might explain some of the pentimenti.
   2072. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4707410)
On the topic of university administration:

The University of Saskatchewan (not my alma mater, but the only other university in the province where I went to school) just fired a dean for criticizing the administration. At a meeting discussing budget cuts the deans were told to not publicly disagree with the process, noting that those who did so would find that "their tenure would be short". So he wrote a public letter describing this threat and was promptly fired.

Seems to have sparked a lot of noise in Saskatchewan (and even national) academia.

Link
   2073. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4707415)
Wades engages in some interesting speculations concerning the reasons the industrial revolution started in England, having it's beginnings with the upper class having large families.

Rather than that essay published in The Spectator, the lay reader might try this one, published in Time a few days ago--by Wade. It goes into the genetic play in the Industrial Revolution, relying extensively on Gregory Clark's work:

Time magazine essay

Clark has documented four behaviors that steadily changed in the English population between 1200 and 1800, as well as a highly plausible mechanism of change. The four behaviors are those of interpersonal violence, literacy, the propensity to save, and the propensity to work. ****

The English population was fairly stable in size from 1200 to 1760, meaning that if the rich were having more children than the poor, most children of the rich had to sink in the social scale, given that there were too many of them to remain in the upper class.

Their social descent had the far-reaching genetic consequence that they carried with them inheritance for the same behaviors that had made their parents rich. The values of the upper middle class — nonviolence, literacy, thrift, and patience — were thus infused into lower economic classes and throughout society. Generation after generation, they gradually became the values of the society as a whole. This explains the steady decrease in violence and increase in literacy that Clark has documented for the English population. Moreover, the behaviors emerged gradually over several centuries, a time course more typical of an evolutionary change than a cultural change..


Wade in that Time essay really goes into this extensively.
   2074. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4707418)
The difference between the Martin case and the 85 foot basepath hypothetical is that the walk from one shot to another is a tangential matter to the sport itself and doesn't involve the actual playing of the sport. The essence of golf is swinging the club;


And the PGA Tour felt that this "essence" was too narrow a definition.

Again, every rule can be viewed as "non-essential."

Regardless, how was Martin a "customer" of the PGA tour, and how was the PGA tour "a place of public accommodation," under the ADA?
   2075. rr Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4707419)
I see the distinction, and it's been brought up before, but the overriding message is still one of not wanting to hear views you disagree with for political reasons.

And FTR I didn't attend my own commencement. I've never placed much value in that sort of mindless ritual


___

Exactly. You are a pool-hall, ballgame, hang-out-with-wingnuts, and run-your-own-business kind of guy--and you seem to be pretty proud of all that. That is a very different scene than a huge, traditional, institutional, ceremony with degreed-up people in gowns, with students' families, et al. there. And, for a lot of students who had to battle to get their degrees, it is anything but "mindless." It is a big deal to them.

The argument against such protests is that commencements shouldn't be political anyway, so people shouldn't worry about the politics/beliefs of the speakers. The argument in favor of such protests is that commencement is a celebration and time to honor people, and the speaker is a person you are, indirectly at least, honoring, and you should only honor people that you feel comfortable honoring.

   2076. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:52 AM (#4707420)
He's not there to give his views. As Greg K said, it's not about the speaker, it's about the students. If you can't get on board with that, you shouldn't be giving a commencement speech. I don't know much about Dawkins' bio, but I'm guessing if he gave a commencement speech, it would be something relatively about how he came to love the search for knowledge. At least 2/3 of the crowd wouldn't know anything about Dawkins other than that he's famous, and by extension, the school is a Big Deal for getting someone so famous to speak.

Yes, Dawkins's social skills do seem highly developed, and I'm sure he'd be circumspect--or he'd tell you that he wasn't going to be. MY point is that these things are not a take or leave it proposition. Like all agreements, they are of a contractual nature, and thus necessarily contemplate an exchange of rights and obligations. He could accede to the trite and timid--but he doesn't have to. If you want to keep a rattlesnake as a pet, you should be careful. Or not keep it. I think there are many potential speakers who want take umbrage at being read a riot act on what they can say and can't say. And many would decide, who needs this?
   2077. Greg K Posted: May 15, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4707429)
Bah!
The European Review of Economic History (Vol. 12 Iss. 2, 2008) is actually a symposium on Clark's Farewell to Alms, with some critical assessments of his work and one article written by Clark himself. Annoyingly my journal subscriptions from grad school have finally expired, and I don't start my new job until September so I can't read any of them!

Too bad, looks like an interesting debate.
   2078. BDC Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:24 PM (#4707449)
Ah, I have access to The European Review of Economic History :)

Just a taste of how Gregory Clark's Farewell to Alms, a source for some of Wade's historical thinking, gets treated there, by reviewer Hans-Joachim Voth ("Clark's Intellectual Sudoku," EREH 12.2 2008). It's even worse than Wade's paraphrase that agrarian people were always fixing to starve:

He claims nothing less than that living standards in 1800 in England were no better than on the plains of Africa millennia before. There was no material progress in the history of mankind until 200 years ago: {...} the logic of the natural economy implies that the material living standards of the average person in the agrarian economies of 1800 was, if anything, worse than for our remote ancestors. {Clark}

This argument must be wrong. Clark's point springs from the economic logic of the pre-industrial world. Since technological advances eventually lead to larger populations, living standards cannot improve. He explicitly exempts the consumption of the upper crust from this view. What pins down the equilibrium in the Malthusian world are the living standards for ordinary citizens. Nobody doubts that for those outside the Jane Austen set, life could be tough. Yet the claim that Englishmen and bushmen had similar living standards is not convincingly demonstrated by any data.


In other words, the entire economic history that this thesis about the Industrial Revolution is based on is an ahistorical assumption pressed into service (or simply made up) to fit the subsequent theory.

This gets worse the more I look at it, and now I'm not sure I want to read the Wade book at all. It's just a farrago of nonsense.

   2079. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4707451)
How divorced from reality can Supreme Court justices be? Justice Stevens wrote that opinion in the Martin case, about what's essential or not to a sport or game or athletic contest. Remember his role in allowing the Paula Jones suit to proceed. Yeah, he's the guy who said that the Paula Jones litigation would only take up a trivial amount of the President's time.
   2080. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:26 PM (#4707452)
It's just a farrago of nonsense.


That's a bad thing, is it?
   2081. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4707454)
He could accede to the trite and timid--but he doesn't have to.
It's easy to put a set of conditions into the speaking agreement stating which issues, topics, language, etc. are off-limits for the commencement speech. I know Dawkins is, ironically, a sacred cow for you, and my point really isn't about him in particular. If you're an edgier school, maybe you bring Dawkins in specifically to stir the pot a bit. All I'm saying is that these events are not about the open exchange or circulation of ideas-- that's not the goal of the event-- so decisions about who should and shouldn't speak are going to be evaluated on a different standard. They are staging an image for an audience of potential donors, and if a speaker's not going to advance that aim, they're probably not a good fit for the occasion.
   2082. Mefisto Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4707456)
This gets worse the more I look at it, and now I'm not sure I want to read the Wade book at all. It's just a farrago of nonsense.


The historical nonsense is what turned me off Pinker's The Blank Slate. It's like Pinker read one history book, took it as Gospel, and extrapolated from there.
   2083. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4707457)
It's just a farrago of nonsense.

That's a bad thing, is it?


I dunno, I liked Farrago. Anyone here watching the new series? I heard it was pretty good.
   2084. Rob_Wood Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4707470)

Coen brothers?
   2085. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4707474)
How divorced from reality can Supreme Court justices be? Justice Stevens wrote that opinion in the Martin case, about what's essential or not to a sport or game or athletic contest. Remember his role in allowing the Paula Jones suit to proceed. Yeah, he's the guy who said that the Paula Jones litigation would only take up a trivial amount of the President's time.

And if the President had complied with the oath he took at the start of the deposition, and not perjured himself, it would have.
   2086. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4707480)
2078:

Did you read the essay in Time?

There's also the essay in The Spectator. And there are a number of interviews with Wade.



   2087. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4707482)
2079:

Did you answer the question previously put to you in 2029?

What do you think the science (the clustering of the genes) means?
   2088. The Good Face Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4707488)
the logic of the natural economy implies that the material living standards of the average person in the agrarian economies of 1800 was, if anything, worse than for our remote ancestors. {Clark}


In other words, the entire economic history that this thesis about the Industrial Revolution is based on is an ahistorical assumption pressed into service (or simply made up) to fit the subsequent theory.


I've read some convincing arguments that hunter-gathers had more free time and greater food security than your average pre-industrial peasant farmer. Of course, it's hard to build much of a civilization out of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, which explains why agriculture won out, but depending on your measuring sticks I don't think Clark's argument is facially ridiculous at all. Being a subsistence farmer really sucks; why do you think people will literally fight each other for the opportunity to work in a sweatshop rather than do it?
   2089. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4707489)
And if the President had complied with the oath he took at the start of the deposition, and not perjured himself, it would have.

Or if he'd taken Bush 1's advice and vetoed the Independent Counsel Act when it was renewed.
   2090. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4707493)

The historical nonsense is what turned me off Pinker's The Blank Slate. It's like Pinker read one history book, took it as Gospel, and extrapolated from there.


What book would that be?

   2091. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:11 PM (#4707497)
E. O. Wilson, Steven Pinker, Jerry Coyne, and almost everyone (even Gelman) who knows anything about biology agrees there are genetic groupings that can be said to amount to races. The issue becomes whether that has meaning and effect, and what is that meaning and effect. Or if nature is just fooling around? Like God is said to do.
   2092. Morty Causa Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4707514)
Wade observes: ‘African populations have not gone through the same Malthusian wringer that shaped the behavior of the European and East Asian populations. Between 1200 and 1800, the English, adapting to the harsh pressures of an intense agrarian economy, became less violent, more literate and more willing to save for the future. In Africa, population pressure has long been much lower than in Europe and Asia….’ European cultures tried to keep population below the famine level by inculcating the sexual restraint and romantic choosiness conducive to relatively late marriages, while East Asian cultures cultivated grinding work ethics. In most of tropical Africa, however, the infectious disease burden was so lethal that dense populations could not be achieved due to epidemics. So the population could not form cities, nor even fully farm the countryside. The big danger in Africa was not Malthusian overpopulation, but underpopulation, which may account for how sexualized their cultures are. Not surprisingly, each continent’s culture seems to have bred people befitting its environment, and their traits live on in their descendants in modern America.”

This is a valuable link, utilizing excerpts from reviewers. There are a lot of them. You can get an idea of the issues and contentions.
   2093. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4707520)
I see the distinction, and it's been brought up before, but the overriding message is still one of not wanting to hear views you disagree with for political reasons.

And FTR I didn't attend my own commencement. I've never placed much value in that sort of mindless ritual

___

Exactly. You are a pool-hall, ballgame, hang-out-with-wingnuts, and run-your-own-business kind of guy--and you seem to be pretty proud of all that. That is a very different scene than a huge, traditional, institutional, ceremony with degreed-up people in gowns, with students' families, et al. there. And, for a lot of students who had to battle to get their degrees, it is anything but "mindless." It is a big deal to them.


Point taken and respected. As I've said in a hundred other contexts, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to our thousands of life choices, and I should have just stated that before dismissing the ritual.

The argument against such protests is that commencements shouldn't be political anyway, so people shouldn't worry about the politics/beliefs of the speakers.

People can protest and worry, but that doesn't necessarily mean that administrators are obliged to alter their speaker rosters as a result.

The argument in favor of such protests is that commencement is a celebration and time to honor people, and the speaker is a person you are, indirectly at least, honoring, and you should only honor people that you feel comfortable honoring.

Having read the partial transcripts of probably over a hundred commencement speeches over the past 45 years, as reported in the Times, I wonder how many conservative students felt "comfortable" when commencement speaker retreads like Ralph Nader and Gloria Steinem were being honored at their universities. And yet other than the recent protests against pro-choice speakers at a few Catholic universities, I don't recall many of those conservative students demanding that liberal speakers' invitations be revoked.

Again, AFAIC the real scandal of commencements is the insanely exorbitant fees that universities pay for their pathetic attempts at "branding". Obviously it's a scandal that pales in comparison to some of those multi-million dollar contracts they hand out to football and basketball coaches, not to mention the university presidents themselves, but it's still rather symbolic of a certain degradation of higher education that's a lot worse than the choice of this or that particular commencement speaker.

------------------------------------------------------

How divorced from reality can Supreme Court justices be? Justice Stevens wrote that opinion in the Martin case, about what's essential or not to a sport or game or athletic contest. Remember his role in allowing the Paula Jones suit to proceed. Yeah, he's the guy who said that the Paula Jones litigation would only take up a trivial amount of the President's time.

That was probably the worst unanimous Supreme Court decision I can recall of the top of my head, but refresh my memory: How much subsequent time was similarly wasted as a result of the Martin case? The PGA Tour simply let Martin use his cart, and life on the tour then proceeded exactly as before. I don't recall any special prosecutors or grandstanding politicians getting involved in the aftermath of that case. Do you?

   2094. Howie Menckel Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4707523)

Paula Jones was a 9-0 ruling, wasn't it?
   2095. OCF Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4707525)
I like the way my institution does commencement addresses. Which is that we don't have them. We split the ceremony into 9 separate ceremonies for different parts of the university. Department chairs say a few words about their departments and students. The dean says a few words. The university president says a few words, some of them ritualized. We usually honor a distinguished alum; maybe we let that person say a few words, maybe not. But no full-on speech. And the people who speak the most are the name readers for the parade across the stage.
   2096. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4707531)
Again, AFAIC the real scandal of commencements is the insanely exorbitant fees that universities pay for their pathetic attempts at "branding". Obviously it's a scandal that pales in comparison to some of those multi-million dollar contracts they hand out to football and basketball coaches, not to mention the university presidents themselves, but it's still rather symbolic of a certain degradation of higher education that's a lot worse than the choice of this or that particular commencement speaker.

"Degradation of higher education," huh???

[strokes chin]

Decline?

Or if he'd taken Bush 1's advice and vetoed the Independent Counsel Act when it was renewed.

Unlikely. Lawyers are ethically-bound to report ethics violations by other lawyers to the various bar associations -- and Clinton's ethical violations would have likely been so reported. His perjury could have also been reported to the Justice Department or DC US Attorney, and investigated, even in the absence of an independent counsel law.

   2097. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4707532)
Lawyers are ethically-bound to report ethics violations by other lawyers to the various bar associations


Retort.
   2098. formerly dp Posted: May 15, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4707541)
And yet other than the recent protests against pro-choice speakers at a few Catholic universities, I don't recall many of those conservative students demanding that liberal speakers' invitations be revoked
Why are you making this a left-right thing? The former Berkley chancellor's a lefty by all accounts-- but a lefty whose campus police beat student protesters.
   2099. Mefisto Posted: May 15, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4707557)
Lawyers are ethically-bound to report ethics violations by other lawyers to the various bar associations


I missed who said this (I saw it quoted in 2097), but it's not true in CA. It may be true elsewhere.
   2100. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 15, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4707565)
In NY, it's Rule 8.3:

A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer shall report such knowledge to a tribunal or other authority empowered to investigate or act upon such violation.
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