Patterico's Pontifications

5/22/2018

It’s Coming: Obama TV

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

We thought Trump TV was going to be the next thing, until we were handed a 4-8 year reality show on all the networks. Now you can remind yourself why you didn’t particularly care for, or perhaps despised, the guy Trump replaced. “Miss him yet”? Why, soon he’ll be only a click away again! Allahpundit explains:

Obama TV: Netflix Signs Deal With Barack And Michelle To Produce Original Content

Their first film: Drumpf: The Secret Wiretaps.

Nah, sounds like the political stuff here will be broadly political rather than explicitly partisan, e.g., global warming and voting rights, plus maybe some feelgood elite-left cultural pap. “The Joy of Composting,” etc.

I’m psyched for a documentary explaining why it makes sense to trust the nuclear promises of a government full of Shiite fanatics.

. . . .

“Why the Palestinians Are Right” should be a humdinger.

Allahpundit says that people on the right are boycotting Netflix over this. LOL. Smash your Keurig and abandon your cheap and plentiful entertainment. One day, you’ll be able to use only products untouched by any leftist influence. I hear cabin life is tough, but refreshing.

Me, I’ll keep my Netflix account but simply won’t be tuning in. Although having the show around sounds like a nice thing — a reminder of the good old days when people on the right liked each other, because they could come together in their hatred of a guy in power from across the aisle. Now all we have is our hatred of one another. (Although, to be fair, I don’t hate you. You just hate me.) It’s not the same. Maybe we do miss you, Barack. Maybe we do.

. . . .

. . . .

. . . .

Nah.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/21/2018

Trump: How Come Kim Jong-un Is Raining on My Nobel?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:53 am

As President Trump prepares to meet with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea tomorrow, the New York Times reports that Trump is rattled by North Korea’s recent statements that they will never denuclearize in return for aid:

Mr. Trump was both surprised and angered by a statement issued on Wednesday by the North’s chief nuclear negotiator, who declared that the country would never trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid, administration officials said. The statement, while a highly familiar tactic by the North, represented a jarring shift in tone after weeks of conciliatory gestures.

On Thursday and Friday, Mr. Trump peppered aides with questions about the wisdom of proceeding, and on Saturday night he called President Moon Jae-in of South Korea to ask why the North’s public statement seemed to contradict the private assurances that Mr. Moon had conveyed after he met Kim Jong-un, the 35-year-old dictator of the North, at the Demilitarized Zone in late April.

There’s a fella on Twitter named Robert Kelly, a political science professor who lives in South Korea, who has some ideas about why Moon might have given Trump a rosy picture of what a summit could accomplish:

The whole thread is worth reading. Kelly goes on to say, regarding Moon’s suggestion that Trump deserves a Nobel Peace Prize: “It is an open secret in Korea that this was just flattering Trump to prevent him from starting a war. No one actually believes it. My students & colleagues laugh at the suggestion.” He says nobody thought the West would take it seriously.

By the way, Kelly is the guy who was on the BBC when his daughter hilariously stomped into the room and marched around in the background. Remember that?

Trump may not be a reader, but at least he can control his daughter, amirite? I mean, you’re not going to see Trump’s daughter busting in the door and taking over at inappropriate times the way you just saw happen with Kelly.

Someone should do one of those videos where you take Trump’s face and put it on someone else’s body, and redo that video to make it Trump stomping around in the background. Free idea, Trump superfans! I’ve also prepared your retort to the next passage from the NYT article:

The aides are also concerned about what kind of grasp Mr. Trump has on the details of the North Korea program, and what he must insist upon as the key components of denuclearization. Mr. Moon and his aides reported that Mr. Kim seemed highly conversant with all elements of the program when the two men met, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made similar comments about Mr. Kim, based on his two meetings with him in Pyongyang, the North’s capital.

But aides who have recently left the administration say Mr. Trump has resisted the kind of detailed briefings about enrichment capabilities, plutonium reprocessing, nuclear weapons production and missile programs that Mr. Obama and President George W. Bush regularly sat through.

YOUR RETORT: Knowledge is overrated! Bush and Obama were informed, and look where it got them! We need a guy who doesn’t care about the details, but who can go in and Art of the Deal those mother[we regret that we need to bleep half of this word]s into oblivion!

It writes itself. In fact, I can easily keep it going.

Michael Green, a professor at Georgetown University and a leading expert on Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote in Foreign Affairs that Mr. Kim was looking for something much larger than Mr. Trump was.

“Trump may be preparing for the wrong game: a two-player round of checkers when Kim is steeling for a multiplayer two-board chess match,” he wrote. “On one board will be the future of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs, what Trump came to negotiate. On the other will be what Kim and the other participants know is also crucially at stake: the future of geopolitics in northeast Asia.” Mr. Kim sees himself as a player in that game long after the Trump administration is over.

YOUR RETORT: Pfffft. How many dimensions are these chess games Kim is playing, “Professor” Green? Two, you say? Three, at most? Watch Chairman Un‘s head spin when he starts to realize that Trump is playing [off camera: Mr. Adams! Hey, Scott? How many dimensions is the chess game Trump is playing? OK, thanks!] fifty-nine dimensional chess!

In all seriousness, the problem is intractable. Prof. Kelly may not know much about keeping his daughter under control when he’s on the teevee, but he knows that Trump can be manipulated due to his desire to get the Nobel Peace Prize — a high honor previously awarded to such peace-loving luminaries as Barack Obama and Yasser Arafat.

Mr. Trump’s aides have grown concerned that the president — who has said that “everyone thinks” he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts — has signaled that he wants the summit meeting too much. The aides also worry that Mr. Kim, sensing the president’s eagerness, is prepared to offer assurances that will fade over time.

NO WAY!

The likeliest scenario is an agreement that allows Trump to declare victory, lifts sanctions, and accomplishes nothing verifiable. That’s not progress, but Moon may see it as a better alternative than what looked likely in the days of presidential tweets about “Little Rocket Man.”

Me, I think having an uninformed child representing us is a grand idea. And the people hardest hit, when Trump gets a deal that Obama and Bush could only dream of, will be the damn NeverTrumpers.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/20/2018

Sunday Music: Bach Motet BWV 226

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the Day of Pentecost. The title of today’s Bach piece, a motet, is “Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf” (The Spirit gives aid to our weakness).

Today’s Gospel reading is John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15:

The Work of the Holy Spirit

“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

. . . .

I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. Here are all the words, which celebrate the Holy Spirit:

1. Chorus

The Spirit gives aid to our weakness. For we do not know for what we should pray, what is proper; but the Spirit itself intercedes for us in the best way with unutterable sighs. He, however, who examines hearts, He knows what the Spirit’s intention is, since it intercedes for the saints according to that which pleases God.

2. Chorale

You holy fire, sweet comfort,
now help us joyfully and confidently
to remain constantly in Your service,
although trouble is not driven away from us!
O Lord, through Your strength prepare us
and sharpen the dullness of the flesh,
so that we might battle here nobly,
pressing to you through death and life.
Hallelujah, hallelujah!

The beginning of the chorale contains words from Martin Luther’s Pentecostal hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord.”

Happy listening!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/19/2018

Brainstorm or Green Needle?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:54 am

Watch this video and expect to hear the word “brainstorm” and you will.

Expect to hear the phrase “green needle” and you will.

Just pick one of those, say it in your head clearly, and then play the video. You will hear whichever one you heard in your head.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Two Phrases That Never Help Real Conversation

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:59 am

Here are two phrases that never help real conversation. Both are designed to show that criticism is invalid, simply by virtue of the criticism being impassioned or frequent.

1. “[The object of your criticism] is living rent-free in your head.”

This phrase translates as: “You are criticizing [the object of your criticism] and I do not like it.” It’s meaningless. I used to hear this kind of thing all the time when I was a frequent critic of the Los Angeles Times. I was told that I was “obsessive” about criticizing them. My response was: if they gave me less to criticize them for, I’ll criticize them less. (It turned out that there was another option: you could get bored.)

2. “If you’re catching flak, you must be over the target.”

This one translates as: “If you are getting criticized a lot, that means you must be right.”

This one is kind of a dumb corollary of #1. #1 suggests that your criticism of something or someone is invalid if it is impassioned or frequent. #2 suggests that criticism of you is invalid if that criticism is impassioned or frequent. They both make the same stupid and wrong point. But one targets the critic, while the other validates the critic’s target.

Both of these have zero to do with the quality of the criticism. If you use one of these, you’re using them to avoid the real discussion or conversation.

There are analogies that reveal something about the thing analogized to, and then there are pointless analogies like this one, which say nothing. When you start using pointless analogies, you can get into one of those silly discussions where you parry back and forth, not about the substance of your argument, but about the silly analogy. “Oh yeah? Well, I say if you’re getting flak, that means you left yourself exposed! HaHA!” (The early bird gets the worm, but what does the early worm get? HaHA!)

These are usually employed when there is no answer to the substance of the criticism. They tend to be a crutch for people who don’t want to have a rational discussion.

P.S. This is unrelated to the specific topic, but related to the wider topic of real conversation. For the next week, at least, to the extent that I populate the comments, I’m going to try to engage in real and polite conversation. I’m working on perspective and the spiritual side of my life, and having snippy conversations with people on the Internet is not something I’m interested in doing. That probably means fewer discussions with people unwilling to engage in real conversation, but it should hopefully mean better conversations with people who are willing. If we begin a conversation and it begins to turn sour, I’ll just thank you for the conversation and bow out. I’m making a public commitment here so that I am accountable to people, which increases the chance that I’ll follow through.

5/18/2018

Is It Possible for a Minister and an Atheist to Have a Polite and Rational Conversation?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:55 pm

Sounds almost like a joke, doesn’t it? And yet, here it is: my favorite polite rational atheist, Sam Harris, in conversation with Dr. R. Scott Colglazier, Senior Minister of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles.

Instead of the “Othering” that happens online every day, maybe this approach is better. Just a thought.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Uh-Oh: There’s a Rudy Loose in the China Shop and He’s Contradicting Trump Again

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am

So Trump has taken to Twitter to allege, apparently based on stuff he saw on the teevee, that DoJ had a spy in his campaign:

Now Rudy’s gone on Chris Cuomo’s show to do that thing that Rudy does, which is usually to admit stuff that contradicts what Trump has said.

Uh-oh. The Donald’s not gonna like this.

GIULIANI: Here’s the issue that I really feel strongly about with this informant, if there is one. First of all, I don’t know for sure, nor does the President, if there really was one. We’re told that.

CUOMO: Told that by whom?

GIULIANI: We’re told that by people who — for a long time, we’ve been told there was some kind of infiltration. At one time, the president thought it was a wiretap. There were some FISA applications. But we’ve never been notified that he was on a tap or an intercept.

CUOMO: There’s never been any proof that he was on a wiretap either.

GIULIANI: No.

CUOMO: But he did say it as fact, many times.

GIULIANI: I think he thought that.

CUOMO: I know. But that doesn’t make it true.

Cuomo is right. He did say it as fact.

And Cuomo is also right that the fact Donald Trump thinks something doesn’t make it true.

Last September, I comprehensively took apart all the B.S. “evidence” that was being cited by Trump superfans to say that Trump had always been right about the “tapp” on his phones. I have maintained from the very beginning that Trump had no sooper sekrit evidence of a “tapp” — he was just repeating stuff he saw on Fox News. And I was right. As I said in my first post on this, the day after Trump said he had been the subject of a “tapp”:

If that guy has a Twitter account, it doesn’t make his ravings any more plausible. Now, here’s the tough part: if he is President of the United States, it still doesn’t mean his ravings are responsible commentary.

There’s Good Trump, who nominates great Justices and rolls back regulations, and Crazy Trump, who is uninformed and TV-obsessed and has a short attention span and goes around saying bizarre things. The fact that we like Good Trump doesn’t mean we have to defend Crazy Trump’s insane rants.

People did, of course, to their embarrassment. And people will defend this. Who knows? It could turn out to be true. But the point is, you can’t conclude it’s true simply because Trump said so.

And Rudy Giuliani just confirmed that.

Countdown to the walkback in 3…2…1…

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/17/2018

READER POLL: Is the Way You Hear Yanny/Laurel Correlated to How You See the Dress?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:39 am

Just so everything is in one place, let’s review. Here’s the audio. Do you hear “Yanny” or “Laurel”?

Here’s the dress. Is it gold and white, or blue and black?

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 9.12.24 PM

Now here’s the poll. Does what you hear correlate with what you see? Let’s find out!

What do you hear and what do you see?
I hear “Yanny.” The dress is gold and white.
I hear “Yanny.” The dress is blue and black.
I hear “Laurel.” The dress is gold and white.
I hear “Laurel.” The dress is blue and black.
Created with Free Survey Maker

Some more links and discussion that might interest you about the “Yanny/Laurel” thing. The New York Times has a very fun tool that plays with the frequency with a slider. Move it to the left, and the frequency range associated with the “Laurel” sound comes to prominence. Move it to the right, and it sounds more like “Yanny.” This might help a lot of people hear what other folks are hearing.

You should get to the point where you can hear one or the other. My wife and daughter can switch back and forth between the two. I hear both at once, the way you can hear two notes in harmony at the same time.

Once you get to where you can hear one or the other, play with that slider. Move it far to one side and then gradually move it back toward the center. Find what they call “your Laurel/Yanny critical point” on the slider, where it changes from one to the other, or where you (if you can hear both, like me) you can first begin to detect one voice gaining prominence. This point changes for me, which is interesting.

Although it is possible to play with the frequency, get it out of your head that the difference between people who hear “Yanny” and those who hear “Laurel” all rests in the frequency at which the sound is broadcast, or the device on which it is played. My wife and I heard opposite things yesterday morning, listening to the same computer. I played it on my phone for two people and one heard “Laurel” and the other heard “Yanny” at the same time from the same device. If you are hearing “Laurel,” it’s not because you can’t hear high frequencies. This is not a dog whistle. “Yanny” can be heard at a conversational frequency that anybody with normal hearing can hear.

What is happening here is not a result of your hearing, but a result of your mind, and the way it interprets things. A lot of what is going on here is expectation. Your mind finds a way to interpret the sound, fixates on that way of interpreting it, and expects to hear the same sound the same way again. As an example of the way that expectation shapes what you hear, the Popular Science article I linked yesterday has a fun experiment that you should try if you haven’t already. Listen to this few seconds of staticky noise:

Now listen to this, which is nothing more than a cleaned-up version of the same audio:

Now listen to the staticky version again. (You may have to refresh the page to get it to come up again.) All of a sudden the words are clear, aren’t they?

As someone who has begun to meditate and explore the ways you can train your mind (thanks Sam Harris!), I believe that you could train your mind to hear “Laurel” and “Yanny” at will — and perhaps (like me) to hear both at once. We have more of a vocabulary for expressing the notion of listening to lower or higher frequencies. I think that if our society were more interested in training the mind to evaluate how it perceives things, we could develop skills and a common vocabulary for how to train the mind to switch between different ways of seeing things as well. Optical illusions would be less puzzling, and we could flip how we see the dress at will. Here’s some training you can do on your own. Most of you remember the classic “old woman/young woman” visual. Which do you see?

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 7.19.28 AM

Now watch this video and train yourself to see both easily:

Mind training should be taught in elementary schools, but right now there is little interest and a lack of a common set of terms to describe the phenomena. I’m very interested in it, though, and any reader who has links to more interesting resources is encouraged to post them.

More about where this came from here. Make sure to answer the poll question before clicking the link, so the data are not skewed.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5/16/2018

C-SPAN Maligns Trump with Unfair Edit in Quote on Immigration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:40 pm

Watch this clip:

Now watch this edit, which I created (h/t Josh Jordan, whose tweet I saw on Allahpundit’s Twitter feed), which backs up the conversation about 45 seconds to give you critical context that C-SPAN left out:

He wasn’t talking about regular folks being deported. He was talking about MS-13 gang members.

And the situation he is talking about, which has been created by California and its insane open borders government, is indeed intolerable.

Dirty pool. But this is how dishonest people fight.

The answer is not to create our own misleading and dishonest clips, by the way. The answer is to point out their dishonesty. That’s not the whole answer, but it’s a good start. So spread the word. Let your friends know what C-SPAN did here.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

The New Blue Dress: Yanny or Laurel?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

You remember the gold and white dress that some weirdos thought was blue? This is like the audio version of that. Listen to this and then vote.

Now take the poll. I understand it’s not perfect, but it’s much closer to one than the other, so choose the best answer:

What do you hear in this recording?
Yanny
Laurel
Created with PollMaker

As with the dress, I can process this one way and one way only, and it astounds me that anyone processes it differently. But they do.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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