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Morning News

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Support your local paper, unless it's just been bought by some sinister hedge fund or something, which it probably has.
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infogulch
58 days ago
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Independent news agencies are a rare gem these days.
Missouri
popular
57 days ago
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Covarr
58 days ago
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I work for a small town newspaper. I never cease to be amazed at how interested the locals here are in utility district meetings and groundwater rights.
Moses Lake, WA
alt_text_bot
58 days ago
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Support your local paper, unless it's just been bought by some sinister hedge fund or something, which it probably has.
jepler
58 days ago
ouch
alt_text_at_your_service
58 days ago
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Support your local paper, unless it's just been bought by some sinister hedge fund or something, which it probably has.

Nightmare Email Feature

6 Comments and 20 Shares
"...just got back and didn't see your message until just now. Sorry! -- TIME THIS MESSAGE SAT HALF-FINISHED IN DRAFTS FOLDER: 3 days, 2 hours, 45 minutes."
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popular
245 days ago
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infogulch
247 days ago
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Missouri
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emdeesee
244 days ago
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Also here's a typo you didn't notice before you pressed "Send".
ūüďĆ Lincoln, NE ‚̧ԳŹÔłŹ Sherman, TX
MaryEllenCG
244 days ago
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NOOOO
Greater Bostonia
Technicalleigh
245 days ago
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Oh hey. 47 minutes is FAST.
SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
Covarr
248 days ago
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A full edit history would show all sixteen ways I rewrote each individual sentence because I was trying to figure out the best way to word it, what details to include or omit, etc. And a couple of structural rewrites.
Moses Lake, WA
alt_text_bot
248 days ago
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"...just got back and didn't see your message until just now. Sorry! -- TIME THIS MESSAGE SAT HALF-FINISHED IN DRAFTS FOLDER: 3 days, 2 hours, 45 minutes."

Ringer Volume/Media Volume

9 Comments and 17 Shares
Our new video ad campaign has our product's name shouted in the first 500 milliseconds, so we can reach the people in adjacent rooms while the viewer is still turning down the volume.
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infogulch
320 days ago
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Missouri
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CaffieneKitty
319 days ago
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I have the opposite. I turn my ringer to max and all my morning alarms get turned down to whisper. :-P
rtreborb
319 days ago
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The frustration is real
llucax
320 days ago
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For UX people out there...
Berlin
ChrisDL
320 days ago
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this is me starting twitch while a human being sleeps next to me, trying not to wake her.
New York
mooglemoogle
320 days ago
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...Moviefone! If you know the name of the movie you'd like to see....
Virginia
francisga
320 days ago
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Yes, happens to me all the time.
Lafayette, LA, USA
alt_text_bot
321 days ago
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Our new video ad campaign has our product's name shouted in the first 500 milliseconds, so we can reach the people in adjacent rooms while the viewer is still turning down the volume.
darastar
321 days ago
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IT ME!

The Social Justice Warriors are right

1 Comment and 16 Shares

As you might know, I haven’t been exactly the world’s most consistent fan of the Social Justice movement, nor has it¬†been the most consistent fan of me.

I cringe when I read about yet another conservative college lecture¬†shut down¬†by mob violence;¬†or student protesters¬†demanding the firing of a professor for trying¬†gently to argue and reason with them; or an editor forced from his position¬†for writing a (progressive) defense of¬†“cultural appropriation”—a practice¬†that I take to have been ubiquitous¬†for all of recorded history, and without which there wouldn’t be any culture at all. ¬†I cringe not only because I know that I was in the crosshairs once before and could easily¬†be again, but also because, it seems to me, the Social Justice scalp-hunters are so astoundingly oblivious to the misdirection of their energies, to the power of their message for losing elections and neutering¬†the progressive cause, to the massive¬†gift their every absurdity¬†provides¬†to¬†the world’s Fox Newses and Breitbarts and Trumps.

Yet there’s at least one issue where it seems to me that the Social Justice Warriors are 100% right, and their opponents 100% wrong. This is the moral imperative to take down every monument to Confederate “war heroes,” and to rename every street and school and college named after individuals¬†whose primary contribution¬†to the world was¬†to defend¬†chattel slavery. ¬†As a now-Southerner, I have a greater personal stake here than I did before: UT Austin just recently removed its statue of¬†Jefferson Davis, while keeping up its statue of Robert E. Lee. ¬†My kids¬†will likely attend what until very recently was called Robert E. Lee Elementary—this summer renamed Russell Lee Elementary. ¬†(My suggestion, that the school be called¬†T. D. Lee Parity Violation Elementary, was sadly never considered.)

So I was gratified¬†that last week, New Orleans finally took down its monuments to slavers. ¬†Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s speech, setting out the reasons for the removal, is worth reading.

I used to have little patience for “merely symbolic” issues:¬†would that¬†offensive statues and flags were¬†the worst problems! ¬†But it now seems to me that the fight over Confederate symbols is just a thinly-veiled proxy for the biggest¬†moral question that’s faced the United States through¬†its history, and also the most urgent question facing it in 2017. ¬†Namely: Did the Union actually¬†win the Civil War? Were the anti-Enlightenment forces—the slavers, the worshippers of blood and land and race and hierarchy—truly defeated? Do those forces acknowledge the finality and the¬†rightness of their defeat?

For those who say that, sure, slavery was bad and all, but we need to keep statues to slavers up so as not to “erase history,” we need only change¬†the example. Would we¬†similarly defend statues of Hitler, Himmler, and Goebbels, looming over Berlin in heroic poses? ¬†Yes, let Germans reflect somberly and often¬†on this aspect¬†of their¬†heritage—but not¬†by¬†hoisting a swastika over City Hall.

For those who say the Civil War wasn’t “really” about slavery, I reply: this is the canonical example of a “Mount Stupid” belief, the sort of thing you can say only if you’ve learned enough to be wrong but not enough to be unwrong. ¬†In 1861, the Confederate ringleaders themselves loudly proclaimed¬†to future generations that, indeed, their desire to preserve slavery was their overriding¬†reason to secede. Here’s CSA Vice-President Alexander Stephens, in his famous Cornerstone Speech:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Here’s Texas’ Declaration of Secession:

We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.

It was only when defeat looked inevitable that the slavers started changing their story, claiming that their real grievance was never about slavery per se,¬†but only “states’ rights” (states’ right to do what, exactly?). So again, why should take the slavers’ rationalizations any more seriously than we take the postwar epiphanies of jailed Nazis that actually, they’d never felt any personal animus toward Jews, that the Final Solution was just the world’s biggest¬†bureaucratic mishap? ¬†Of course there’s a difference: when the Allies occupied Germany, they insisted on thorough de-Nazification. ¬†They didn’t suffer streets to be named after Hitler. And today, incredibly, fascism and white nationalism are greater threats here in the US than they are in Germany. ¬†One reads about the historic irony of some American Jews, who are eligible for German citizenship because of grandparents expelled from there, now seeking to move there¬†because they’re terrified about Trump.

By contrast, after a brief Reconstruction, the United States lost its will to continue de-Confederatizing the South. ¬†The leaders¬†were left free to write book after book whitewashing their cause, even to hold¬†political office again. ¬†And probably¬†not by coincidence, we then got nearly a hundred years of Jim Crow—and still¬†today, a half-century after the civil rights movement, southern governors and legislatures that do everything in their power to disenfranchise black voters.

For those who ask:¬†but wasn’t Robert E. Lee a great¬†general who was admired by millions? Didn’t he fight bravely for a cause¬†he¬†believed in? ¬†Maybe it’s just me, but I’m allergic to granting undue respect to history’s villains just because they managed to amass power and get others¬†to go along with them. ¬†I remember reading once in some¬†magazine that, yes, Genghis Khan might have raped thousands and murdered millions, but since DNA tests suggest¬†that ~1% of humanity is now descended from him, we should also celebrate Khan’s positive contribution to “peopling the world.” Likewise, Hegel and Marx and Freud and Heidegger might have been wrong in nearly everything they said, sometimes with horrific consequences, but their ideas still need to be studied reverently, because of the number of other intellectuals who took them seriously. ¬†As I reject those special pleas, so I reject the analogous ones for¬†Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, and Robert E. Lee, who as far as I can tell, should all (along with the rest of the Confederate leadership)¬†have been sentenced¬†for treason.

This has nothing to do with judging the past by standards of the present. By all means, build¬†statues to Washington and Jefferson even though they held slaves, to Lincoln even though he called¬†blacks inferior even while¬†he freed them, to Churchill even though he fought¬†the independence of India. ¬†But don’t look for moral complexity where there isn’t any. ¬†Don’t celebrate people who were terrible even¬†for their own time, whose public life was devoted entirely to what we now know¬†to be evil.

And if, after the last Confederate general comes down, the public spaces are too empty, fill them with monuments to Alan Turing, Marian Rejewski, Bertrand Russell, Hypatia of Alexandria, Emmy Noether, Lise Meitner, Mark Twain, Srinivasa Ramanujan, Frederick Douglass, Vasili Arkhipov, Stanislav Petrov, Raoul Wallenberg, even the inventors of saltwater taffy or Gatorade or the intermittent windshield wiper.  There are, I think, enough people who added value to the world to fill every city square and street sign.

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infogulch
414 days ago
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Missouri
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414 days ago
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skorgu
414 days ago
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GOP Delenda Est.

Stardew Valley

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I have accidentally watered virtually every person and object in Pelican Town.
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infogulch
524 days ago
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Missouri
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MaryEllenCG
522 days ago
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It's funny because it's true. (At least no one in Pelican Town seems to mind being watered.)
Greater Bostonia
alt_text_bot
524 days ago
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I have accidentally watered virtually every person and object in Pelican Town.

Black Lives Matter

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Several loyal MR readers requested I cover this topic.¬† My views are pretty simple, namely that I am a fan of the movement.¬† Police in this country kill, beat, arrest, fine, and confiscate the property of black people at unfair and disproportionate rates.¬† The movement directs people’s attention to this fact, and the now-common use of cell phone video and recordings have driven the point home.

I don’t doubt that many policemen perceive they are at higher risk when dealing with young black males, and that is part of why they may act more brutally or be quicker to shoot or otherwise misbehave.¬† I would respond that statistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse what are often crimes against innocent people.¬† For instance, a man is far more likely to kill you than is a woman, but that fact does not excuse the shooting of an innocent man.

I also don’t see that citing “Black Lives Matter” has to denigrate the value of the life of anyone else.¬† Rather, the use of the slogan reflects the fact that many white people have been unaware of the extra burdens that many innocent black people must carry due to their treatment at the hands of the police.¬† The slogan is a way of informing others of this reality.

“Black Lives Matter” is a large movement, if that is the proper word for it, and you can find many objectionable statements, alliances, and political views within it.¬† I don’t mean to endorse those, but at its essence I see this as a libertarian idea to be admired and promoted.

The post Black Lives Matter appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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infogulch
553 days ago
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Missouri
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553 days ago
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gradualepiphany
553 days ago
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Yep. My biggest "problem" with BLM is just that it's a huge, diverse, unfocused movement that is lacking a specific actionable direction. Same problem that Occupy had. I like & support the Campaign Zero offshoot of BLM, which DOES have an enumerated, specific, actionable agenda. I wish they got a lot more muscle behind their efforts.
Los Angeles, California, USA
skorgu
554 days ago
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"[S]tatistical discrimination, even if it is rational, does not excuse what are often crimes against innocent people."
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