Biography

RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Too much free speech for Ari Kohen

Yesterday, UNL Poli. Sci. professor Ari Kohen wrote a paean to freedom of speech, in defense of the site UNL haters, which collects what they have deemed are offensive tweets by UNL students. And many of these tweets are undoubtedly prejudiced and small minded.

Great. Unfortnately, Professor Kohen decided to mention that one UNL faculty member (moi) was featured, and that I should be embarrassed for myself. he also nicely grouped me with the rest of the tweets, stating ('their' refers to the students and myself)

The government isn’t legislating their ability to post hateful things about Asians on Twitter because, as private citizens, they can say whatever inane things they want to say. That’s free speech right there.
Well it is, and Kohen is also comparatively free to publish libels like the above, since it's very hard to sue for libel. So, since I'm a big free speech maven myself, I confronted Professor Kohen, as you can see from the comments of the article. I pointed out that, while I had been accused of sexism, I had in fact been defending Deb Fischer, a woman running for the Nebraska Senate seat, against a man who had adopeted a pardody version of the female candidate, using a name derivative of a porn movie, and had proceeded to post a series of crude and misgynistic posts supposedly in the name of Senator Fischer. Kohen, as you can see, tried to defend the accusation of sexism, but eventually gave up. He tried to claim he hadn't attacked me, only to snidely continue to link me to various racist student posts about Asians:
I recognize that, like many of the students featured there, you feel that your comment was entirely appropriate.
...and then finally, even though he posted the original smear, asked me why I was reading his posts. Apparently 'free speech' doesn't include the freedom to object when Kohen trashes one's good name. His last pathetic plea, after an exchange of maybe a dozen tweets and and equal number of blog posts, was to whine plaintively
Leave me alone, for God's sake.
It appears free speech is fine when Kohen smearing someone, but not fine when the recipient of his smears refuse to lie down and instead fight back.

Running chicken, indeed.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oh noes, I'm a UNL hater!

UNL haters is a tumblr site whose anonymous (cluck cluck) management report tweets and facebook pages that they deem racist, sexist, homophobic, 'bodyshapist', or any of the myriad other transgreesions against political correctness, from UNL students and now (presumably) faculty. Oh I suppose it could be worse. At least they're using speech to deal with speech, as opposed to the frequently used leftist tactic of trying to impose speech codes. Granted, it's overweeningly sanctimonious (but after all, these are leftists) and you have to shake your head at people who spend a great deal of time in effect snitching on things other people say. But hey, it keeps them from organizing for Obama or other noxious activities.

I figured it was inevitable I would make the list eventually, but I'm amused at the cluelessness of their choice.

So my tweet is (according to them) sexist, except it's directed at a man operating a parody account called DebbieDoesNE. The owner of DebbieDoesNE is pretending to be a female political candidate, who happens to be a Republican, using a misogynistic handle associating said candidate with a porn star. In other words, UNLhaters isn't calling out sexism, it's defending it. But as has been demonstrated amply by Michelle Malkin and others, sexism and racism don't count when a conservative is being attacked.

They've violated the PC line elsewhere too. For example, they originally flagged as homophobic a reference to Jerry Sandusky. Presumably then a grown up told them Sandusky is a heterosexually married pedophile, and implying a Sandusky reference was homophobic was, well, homophobic. They took that down, although they don't take down other people's deleted tweets. A bit hypocritical, too, you might say, but about right for leftists.


Incidentally, this is the original tweet to which mine was in reply. Stupidly forgot tags.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The nuzepaper of rekurd?

MoDo's column this Sunday was predictably hackneyed -- evil neocons, yada yada yada -- but what really stood out was its fifth-grade spelling.
Ryan was moving his mouth, but the voice was the neocon puppet master Dan Senor. The hawkish Romney adviser has been secunded to manage the running mate and graft a Manichaean worldview onto the foreign affairs neophyte.
Is Dowd under the impression you spell 'second' differently when you use it as a verb? And (evil neocons again):
After 9/11, the neocons captured one Republican president who was naïve about the world. Now, amid contagious Arab rage sparked on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, they have captured another would-be Republican president and vice president, both jejeune about the world.
The word is jejune. And then at the very top...
PAUL RYAN has not sautéed in foreign policy in his years on Capitol Hill.
That word does not mean what she seems to think it means...and it's apparent also that Dowd doesn't cook, though it has unkindly been suggested she occasionally gets stewed.

I know it's hard to find good help on a Saturday evening, but if the Times can't afford a competent editor, could they at least use a spell-checker?

Friday, September 14, 2012

How to get ahead in academia

Faculty version.

Professor Smith: I'd really like a raise. Jones over at Enormous State University makes 50% more than me, and I kick his ass scientifically.

Dean: So you say. Prove it!

Smith starts writing job applications. He gets a set of interviews, and then eventually a big offer from Ivy-covered College. He shows the letter containing the big offer to the Dean.

Dean: I notice we're underpaying you here, Smith. We'll rectify this immediately!

Administrator version.

Board of Regents: How about a free house? And maybe a pay raise?

Administrator: Oh, OK!

Bait and switch: the Lincoln Journal Star 'evolves' on Keystone XL

Lincoln Journal Star editorial June 7, 2011, on Keystone XL:
The Journal Star editorial board, in more than a dozen editorials, has voiced opposition only to the proposed route of the pipeline -- not the pipeline itself. We recognize the nation's need for oil and the advantages of getting it from a democratic neighbor. It's the proposed location that is wrong.
Today's editorial:
All along we've said we could live with it, conditionally, if it didn't go through the Sandhills, if reasonable safeguards apply, if authorities in Nebraska and Washington do their duty, if TransCanada bears appropriate responsibility for any damage the pipeline's contents may do in the future.
Uh, no, that's not what they said all along. And...
As time passes, even after TransCanada agreed to alter the route, the differences don't get any easier to reconcile. The tar sands oil called bitumen doesn't get any less difficult to deal with, environmentally or politically, nor does U.S. dependence on the volatile Middle East, nor does our now chillier relationship with Canada. We are in one of those dilemmas that test rationality and judgment, and we may not know whether we did the right thing even in our lifetimes.
On the other hand, this blog has been consistent. The original route was fine. Any dangers to the Sandhills and the aquifer are illusory. And the campaign to move the route was merely a prevarication, a delaying tactic that is merely the first step in a strategy to stop the pipeline altogether.

The Lincoln Journal Star's disingenuous participation in this strategy is now clear.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blaming the messenger

A US consulate in a Muslim country with a large population of Islamist fanatics and still in near-anarchy was attacked on 9/11 in a pre-planned attack. Surprised? Then you're an idiot. And so is the US President who left diplomatic personnel and facilities unguarded by US Marines. On the other hand, since the President has been skipping intelligence briefings fro the last year to campaign and fundraise, how would he even have known there was a danger?

Of course, if you're a member of the press, none of this dereliction of duty matters. Just blame Mitt Romney for pointing out the obvious.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ecofascism in Lincoln

I generally avoid using words like 'fascist', except to refer to actual fascists. But what is one to make of Lincoln's watering restrictions? Having an automatic sprinkler go off on the wrong day, say at 3:30 am, is liable to have one rousted out of bed in the wee hours by the local police, and charged with an actual crime, punishable in practice by a heavy fine and in theory by a year in jail.

Now it appears today this criminal conviction will linger permanently on one's public records and cost one the chance of employment.

Lincoln's ultra PC 'public safety director', a hitherto unneeded position created for Tom Casady by the Democrat political machine in Lincoln, has spent his long, lazy days openly mocking the unfortunate citizens targeted by his goons, who would much rather bust mommies in their homes at 4:30 am than do dangerous things like catch armed robbers. And while they treat the perpetually whiny lesbian and gay activist community with kid gloves, going out of their way to make nice even while members of said community concoct hoax hate crimes, they are gung ho about busting taxpayers unfortunate enough to have malfunctioning sprinkler controls.

And ultimately, the fault for Lincoln's water shortage lies with Democrat city leadership which, while the city has grown, has done nothing to get beyond an unreliable well system that draws water from a river across which one can reliably walk in an average dry summer. When you've had hosepipe restrictions twice in the last ten years, you can't claim it's an extraordinary event.

To an extent, it's Lincolnites' own fault. They voted these crooks in; they got a massive property tax hike, a 'public safety director' who is paid hundreds of thousands a year to write a blog, bloated public employee union pay increases, and criminal punishment for the failed infrastructure those crooks have provided them with.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hate crimes and fantasies

The Lincoln Journal Star has now published its third article whitewashing/sanitizing the hate crime hoax pepetrated by lesbian Charlie Rogers. The article concludes
After police arrested Rogers for allegedly making up the attack, LGBT leaders rallied to support each other. They also said in a news release that, whatever Rogers did or didn’t do, hate crimes happen in Lincoln, and that victims should report them to the same investigators who believe Rogers lied about an attack that captivated the country.
Previously, we had this remarkable puff-piece/canonization of Rogers, trumpeting her recent elevation as 'Mr. Star City Pride', and proclaiming
A few days after getting her crown and four days before she would report the alleged hate crime against her, Rogers promised to be a catalyst that would foment change, create something new that would help everyone.
And earlier, in their comically named 'Faith and Values' section, the LJS used Rogers as poster-child for the proposition that 'we all lie a lot'. Well, maybe, or maybe not, but we don't all concoct elaborate hoaxes a lot. But getting back to today's piece, which emphasizes that hate crimes are really really real, and we have a lot of them.
Lincoln police started tagging hate crimes before the law required it, and there are more reports than you might think. The city made up less than one-tenth of the state’s population in 2010, but according to the FBI’s last report on hate crime statistics, Lincoln recorded two-thirds of the state’s 61 hate crimes that year.
...except, when you actually look at the number of hate crimes that go to court, they all mysteriously vanish. In fact, of those 61 hate crimes in 2010, exactly one resulted in a charge being brought. Some are mysterious...
The first hate crime of the year unfolded at the juvenile detention center, where a 17-year-old made a racial slur against a 12-year-old Sudanese boy. The younger boy punched him in the face.
(So which one committed the hate crime?) Some were racial abuse left on answering machines; deplorable, but not even a crime. And some number were probably fakes., like Rogers'. And what of the single hate crime that was actually charged as such? The hate crime charge was dropped. The victim took off. And the perp. was given 15 month probation.

So, really, really really, we are assured there are a lot of hate crimes in Lincoln. But as far as actual charges go, we have Hoaxes 1, Hate crimes 0. Draw your own conclusions.

Today in socialized health care

The Daily Mail reported a few days ago that doctors in Britain's National Health Service have been told to try to talk women out of epidurals and caesarians to save money.

Since here in the US, women are more likely to support PPACA than men, hats off to our brave sisters, who are apparently willing to put up with the often excruciating, day-long pain of a natural childbirth in order to save the gummint a few hundred bucks! The Proletariat thanks you, comrades!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bob Kerrey's role in the biggest tax increase in history

Bob Kerrey has been trying to make political hay out of Deb Fischer's role in some minor Nebraska tax increases. That is truly outstanding chutzpah,given Kerrey's role as the deciding vote in what was (until ObamaCare) the largest tax hike in US history, Bill Clinton's tax hike of 1993.

Kerrey, as is his usual practice, dithered until the last minute before deciding. Eventually, the evening of the Senate vote, he called Clinton to announce his support. The measure passed without a single Republican vote, and five Democrats defected. Kerrey cast the crucial vote to create a 50:50 tie, which Al Gore, as Vice-President, then broke. The story is here.

The measure increased the top rate of Federal income tax from 31% to 39.6%. It increased the corporate tax rate to 35%, which has had a devastating cumulative effect on American business over the years. It made 85% of social security income subject to federal taxation. It increased the federal gas tax by 30%. And it increased EITC, a form of welfare. In raw dollars it was larger than any previous tax increase, and today is smaller only than ObamaCare (ACA) in extent. Kerrey said his reluctance was because the tax increase was too small!
My heart aches with the conclusion that I will vote 'yes' for a bill which challenges Americans too little.
It's time to hold Bob Kerrey accountable for his record.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Diversity training doesn't work

A nice piece in Psychology Today
A study of 829 companies over 31 years showed that diversity training had "no positive effects in the average workplace." Millions of dollars a year were spent on the training resulting in, well, nothing. Attitudes — and the diversity of the organizations — remained the same. It gets worse. The researchers — Frank Dobbin of Harvard, Alexandra Kalev of Berkeley, and Erin Kelly of the University of Minnesota — concluded that "In firms where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of lawsuits, training actually has negative effects on management diversity."
Hat tip to the great new College Insurrection blog.

They can't help themselves

The Lincoln Journal Star editorial board has swung so far left, it's comical to watch it try to appear balanced, as it did today, reviewing the Republican convention.
For months, mainstream pundits have portrayed Mitt Romney as out of touch and socially awkward with ordinary Americans.
Mainstream pundits, eh? Who would they be? Rachel Maddow? Leonard Pitts? EJ Dionne? Notice they didn't actually name any of these 'mainstream pundits'?
Probably not the guy you’d want to yuk it up with at the bar on Saturday night, but maybe someone you would want as a trustworthy designated driver.
This isn't biased, it's just stupid. He's a Mormon, geniuses. They don't drink.
Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s speech was riddled with errors in fact and distortions. To cite one example, the auto plant that Ryan said was closed despite President Barack Obama’s promise to keep it open actually closed before Obama became president.
To cite one example, this is complete nonsense. The Janesville GM plant closed in April 2009, as described by the Janesville Gazette, which would be, you would think, in a position to notice.The LJS clearly swallowed this lie whole from some other partisan 'fact-checker', and didn't notice it had been throughly debunked within 12 hours.

On the bright side, I doubt anyone was taken in by this transparent piece of disingenuousness.