California’s War on Plastic

     Ah, California, the Fool’s Golden State, where plastic straws are considered a greater threat than plague rats, brings us the next chapters in the war against synthetic carbon-based polymers: Los Angeles City Council has followed San Fransisco in voting to ban single use plastic water bottles.

“The City Council of Los Angeles voted to begin the process of a large-scale ban of plastic water bottles on city property Wednesday night at the Los Angeles City Hall.

“The City Council will have different departments and groups in the city come up with plans on how to phase out single-use bottles from all city-owned buildings and all city events. The addition of more water sources and bottle filling stations, in addition to the 200 currently being built within the city, will also be reviewed.

“As the ban will be in place at all city owned facilities, the ban would include major centers of activity such as Los Angeles International Airport, the LA Coliseum, and Union Station.”

Of course, you know this means war.

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A Lesson From One Hundred Years Ago

     One hundred years ago, the Treaty of Versaille formally ended the First World War, which was supposed to be the “War to End All Wars”. Between the birth of the Communist Regime in Russia, the animosity from the post-war punishment of Germany, the false delusion of the League of Nations, the attempt at global peace instead continued the fall of Western Civilization that the needless First World War Began.

     Though begun as “Armistice Day,” Veterans Day has expanded in the United States as a day for all those brave men and women who fight to keep us free.

     On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, let us remember they who risked everything for freedom even despite the follies of their political leaders., including their very lives.

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News of the Week (November 10th, 2019)

 

News of the Week for Nov. 10th, 2019


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Firing Line Friday: Psychiatry: New Explorations

     In the hopes of encouraging a more civil, and illuminating, discourse, here is another episode of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s “Firing Line”.

     With so many people saying that we are living in “crazy times”. Thirty-nine years ago, Dr. Thomas S. Szasz argued that there are no mental illnesses, just bad behavior. Is society crazy, or just bad? Or perhaps modern psychiatry is just nuts.

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Signs and Portents for 2020?

     The November 5th elections signal a complete cycle (save for the Gubernatorial run-off in Louisiana) of off-Presidential year elections in the United States. If we can learn anything from this odd-year election it is that all the trends in elections since the 2016 Presidential election are unabated: The suburbs, especially amongst college-educated White women, have turned away from the Republican Party under Donald Trump, and may very well be calcifying.

     Oh, there were victories for Republicans, such as winning the Mississippi governorship, picking up seats in the New Jersey Legislature, and Washington state’s Referendum 88 being behind by a few percentage points (mail-in ballots are still being counted—or “discovered”). However there were even worse losses.

     In Kentucky, the Republicans won all but one state-wide race by large margins. However, the one they did lose is the governorship. In this case the lose was due primarily to the unpopular incumbent, Matt Bevin. But even then, a Left-ward shift could be seen.

     Some may hope that this is just due to “Trump Voters” who sat home and will only come out for Donald Trump. However…

     Even in Mississippi, where the Lt. Gov. defeated the still relatively popular Atty. Gen., there were noticeable shifts Left-ward.

     Mississippi also echoes a national trend seen in this election, and elections in 2018 and 2017: The suburbs are becoming more Democratic voting while Republicans are doing better in rural areas.

     While this is a beneficial trade-off in states like Mississippi, which was already highly Republican and more rural than many other states, it bodes ill for those states whose rural populations are much small compared to the growing suburban and exurban communities which are embracing the Democrats/Anti-Trump party. Far too many swing states don’t have enough rural votes to counter the massive shift in the suburbs/exurbs.

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Science On The Verge Of Creating Synthetic Cyborg Catgirls

     Scientists have grown tissue that in the lab that is spontaneously generating human brain waves.

“Neuroscientists may have crossed an ‘ethical rubicon’ by growing lumps of human brain in the lab, and in some cases transplanting the tissue into animals, researchers warn.

“The creation of mini-brains or brain ‘organoids’ has become one of the hottest fields in modern neuroscience. The blobs of tissue are made from stem cells and, while they are only the size of a pea, some have developed spontaneous brain waves, similar to those seen in premature babies.”

     Aside from the fact that such moral questions seem not to apply full human beings in utero, this raises the possibility of growing non-human brain tissue, or of adding these “organoids” to animals to achieve sentience!

“[Elan] Ohayon [the director of the Green Neuroscience Laboratory in San Diego, California] wants funding agencies to freeze all research that aims to put human brain organoids into animals, along with other work where there is an (sic) reasonable chance of organoids becoming sentient. Ohayon has developed computer models that he believes help identify when sentience is likely to arise, but adds there is an ‘urgent need’ for more work in the area.”

     This cold mean only one things: Creating in the lab the brains of synthetic cyborg catgirls!

Science already has developmental research including synthetic muscle, synthetic skin, and integrating neurons with electronic circuits, let alone creating biologically based cyborg parts!

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Kentucky Unqueers The Shirt

     For the better part of a decade a shirt maker who wouldn’t make a shirt that expressed a belief he didn’t feel was appropriate. The Kentucky Human Rights Commission, a non-elected bureaucracy, ruled that he was compelled to express speech he didn’t want to because not doing so was doubleplusungood. Since then, the shirt maker has had to go through court after court after court.

     Now, the Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that NO, the shirt maker can not be compelled to speech.

“The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that a printer cannot be forced to print T-shirts that violate his faith.

“In a case that dragged on for seven years, Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals, a promotional printer in Lexington, declined to print T-shirts for the Lexington Pride Festival, hosted by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.

“…

“The state’s high court wrote in its opinion, ‘this matter must be dismissed because the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization, the original party to bring this action before the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, lacked statutory standing to assert a claim against Hands On Originals under the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government ordinance.;

“A concurring opinion from Justice David Buckingham cited recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent prohibiting compelled speech, writing, ‘Hands On was in good faith objecting to the message it was being asked to disseminate. … Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable is always demeaning.’”

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News of the Week (November 3rd, 2019)

 

News of the Week for Nov. 3rd, 2019


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Firing Line Friday: Is There a Liberal Crack-Up?

     In the hopes of encouraging a more civil, and illuminating, discourse, here is another episode of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s “Firing Line”.

     Win or lose in 2020, the question asked thirty-five years ago appears to be evergreen: Is there a liberal crack-up? This episodes features discussion with R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and Christopher Hitchens.

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Happy Halloween! (2019)

     Here is the silent classic, “Häxan: Witchcraft through the Ages”

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