Contra Mozilla

Friday, May 20, 2016

Target Delenda Est

Not only has this company doubled down on its awful and utterly unnecessary bathroom policy (after seeing its stock plummet by $billions). No, it also despises its customers, to the extent that it is now suing a man who saved a teenage girl from being stabbed in one of Target's stores:
When she was sixteen, Allison Meadows was shopping in an East Liberty, Pennsylvania, Target store when Leon Walls rushed into the outlet and stabbed her.

With the assistance of surveillance video, Walls was convicted of attempted homicide for his attack on the girl.

The only reason the girl did not suffer more injuries is because Michael Turner interceded and, along with several other men, confronted Walls. Turner himself chased Walls out the store with a baseball bat.

Unsurprisingly, Meadows was extremely thankful for Turner’s efforts....

Target, however, is less grateful for Mr. Turner’s heroics. And now the retailer is suing him for “endangering” the store’s customers.

According to the company’s filing, Target says Turner and several others chased the suspect toward the store’s entrance after the attack on the girl. The store insists Turner put other shoppers at risk with his actions.

The victim of the stabbing and her family are furious with the retail chain and say Target is just trying to shift the blame away from its own security failures.
I can think of few companies (Starbucks is an obvious contender) which at this time are generally worse--for the culture, and for humanity. I suppose they could be worse--they could fund Planned Parenthood.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tenure Requirements in a Nutshell

"To discover and to teach are distinct functions; they are also distinct gifts, and are not commonly found united in the same person."

So said Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman, who was perhaps the most brilliant thinker in England of his day. I notice that the modern university demands that its faculty do both, or face termination. Small wonder that so many graduates learn so little from their myriad classes.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Why We Will Homeschool--Reason Number 857837820

My wife and I don't live in Oregon, but I'm from there. So this does strike close to home for me, in a sense (my emphases added):
Oregon’s state government released a set of guidelines for schools Thursday informing educators that students must be allowed to use whatever locker rooms they want and play on opposite-sex sports teams as long as they say it reflects their chosen gender identity.

Not only that, but if the student doesn’t want his or her parents to know, teachers don’t have to tell them.

The 15-page document makes Oregon one of just a handful of states to release detailed guidelines for how states should handle the topic of transgender students. In general, the guide tells teachers to adhere to the wishes of students when it comes to affirming their chosen gender identity.

“A student who says she is a girl and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day should be respected and treated like any other girl,” it says. “So too with a student who says he is a boy.” Students should be called by whatever name they wish (regardless of their legal name), and they have the right to use bathrooms and locker rooms of either sex in accordance with their wishes...

the LGBT-rights group Basic Rights Oregon declared the new standards were a “wonderful first step” for the state in improving transgender rights in school.
And what happens in the more progressives states soon get exported to saner states, either by the slow slipping of the culture or by judicial (or presidential) fiat.

As an added aside, I noticed this passage in the document:
"Students are often still in transition at the time of graduation and have not necessarily completed legal name changes and other documentation. Recommended best practice for graduating transgender students is to provide two diplomas and two sets of transcripts, one with the legal first name and one with the preferred first name."
Really? At that point in my life, I was going by a different name from my legal name (and I still do, though now I go by either my nickname or my given legal name or my last name preceded by the appropriate appellation depending on circumstance). My diploma was written in my legal name. My wife has changed her name from maiden to married last name since graduating--but alas, her diplomas all still have her last name on them. In other words, this document is encouraging a special privilege to transgendered students "above and beyond" what the other 99.99% of students are provided. It may be a petty thing to be hung up on (this is really one of the least important points in the damned document), but there it is.

Also, there's this, from page 10 (the same page which says that boys can now use the girls' room and vice-versa):
Based on a recent OCR finding against an Illinois school district, it is recommended that alternative accommodations, such as a single “unisex” bathroom or private changing space, should be made available to students who request them, but should not be forced upon students, or presented as the only option.
This paragraph started strong and then fizzled. Frankly, the single-use restroom, shower, or changing area/locker space is the best option available if we concede that people should not simply be made to use the space provided to their anatomy. In other words, the compromise position is out; trying to avoid this battle in the culture wars will not be permitted. It certainly lends credance to the idea that these fights over lockerroom use, the so-called "Bathroom Wars"* really are less about the bathroom and more about the war.

And now, a prediction, with a bit of irony. Years ago, when I was an undergraduate student, this kind of thing was all the rage among the proto-Brownshirts of the "Social Justice" set. I remember there being discussions and arguments, and even resolutions brought before the student body's senate as to whether we should make our campus' bathrooms unisex. This is not many steps away from simply allowing everyone to use whichever bathroom or locker room he or she chooses--indeed, the two proposals have the same effect. And, on a similar note, there were rumblings then (and more so at the university where I did my doctoral work) that dorm rooms should be made optionally coed.

My prediction then is this: whether dorm rooms are made to be co-ed or not, I suspect that this bit of insanity will eventually render the point moot. A young woman will decide one day that she is actually a he, and then be assigned to a dorm room accordingly, or (perhaps more frequently), a young man will decide that he is really a "she" and be assigned to a room accordingly. And while I must confess that I wonder what the response of the university housing would be if said students change their minds once, let alone several times (will every transexual now be given his or her own private room, above and beyond what is allocated to other students), there is another problem here. Namely: what recourse will the normal and sane students who are not undergoing some gender confusion have?


* I would prefer "Bathroom Battles" both for the alliteration and as a reminder that they are one front in a greater cultural war.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Few Good Links (vol. 23)

The semester is over.

  1. What's wrong with rights? For one thing, they often leave forgotten the more important things, which are our duties. 
  2. What is driving the bathroom wars? In part, it's that old-time gnosticism, or maybe manichaeism.
  3. Did Jesus oppose poverty? No. He in fact praised it when undertaken for the right ends. Giving to the poor is something we do to help them, but also (and in a different way) to help ourselves--to allow ourselves to become less materially attached, but also to allow for the growth of charity. Charity, like any virtue, is something which exists between persons, and it exists without the intermediary of the state. To attempt to eradicate poverty is to attempt to make a liar out of Jesus, who told us that the poor we would always have.
  4. Why do so man people like/support/vote for Trump? He is now winning a majority of Republicans, in mostly blue or pink states--but he won handily in the South (which was, granted, divided between many not Trump candidates. Note that there are a number of reasons why people are supporting him, but they are not necessarily good reasons, or (more to ht point) they are good reasons, but not applicable to supporting Trump. The man is good at selling snake oil, which is, I suppose, why he won the nomination.
  5. Why are the popularizers of science so consistently bad at philosophy? And why does it seem like they all get worse as they attempt to embrace a role as "spokesmen of science?" Case in point: Bill Nye.
  6. Why are our campuses such hotbeds of the worst kind of leftism? They are generally completely overrun by the social justice brownshirts and other crybullies that they are beginning to look like a Greek comedy (but one which will end in tragedy, no doubt).
  7. Why does evil often triumph? Because no good deed goes unpunished, and every hero will have a day in court (and then jail).

Long live the new semester.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

TMM: Linksdump and Bitter Dregs of Politics

There is no good news in the realm of politics and the Union now: it is a dark time indeed. Ted Cruz has suspended his campaign, so barring a miracle Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Cruz was a long shot going in to Indiana--but he didn't need to win on first ballot. There are a number of things which I dislike about Cruz, but he was at least clearly better than any of the alternatives. Some pro-Trump commentators suggest that he plays to much for TV in the digital era, but I can't help but wonder if he doesn't play too much for radio. Many of the things he has said or done "on-the-spot" have been nice soundbites (I especially like his impromptu discussion with Ellen Page about religious liberties, and his "signing" of the communist manifesto), but have not been as well-received because of his odd facial expressions.

Trump is not clearly better than Hillary Clinton (though I suspect he may be the slightly less awful option). Neither is Bernie Sanders, who besides having a ruinous "pie in the sky" economics program, would use the justice department to punish any state which defunds Planned Parenthood. He is as pro-abortion as Clinton or Obama.

I'll wait until after the conventions have sorted things out before deciding who I will vote for--it's almost certainly going to be a third party/independent candidate, since neither major party candidate is likely going to clearly be the lesser evil. Maybe I will write in Joe Schriner. I dislike a few of his policy positions, and think that a few more are problematic in the opposite way that those of Bernie Sanders are problematic (you can only make a modern economy be so small and so local), but I at least don't have grave moral reservations here. We'll see if any major independent campaigns are started or not, and who they back.