Saturday, September 30, 2017

Words Of Wisdom

From Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.

I endorse his thoughts below.  We have a remarkably resilient society in the United States, but all societies, including ours, have breaking points.  Constructing and maintaining a civil and civilized multi-ethnic society, is a unique achievement, but one that has not been easy, and we should not take it for granted.

SO I SPOKE AT AN EVENT TONIGHT, TALKING ABOUT CIVILIAN DISASTER RELIEF AND SOCIAL COHESION, and a guy came up to me afterward saying that since Robert Putnam found that diversity is associated with decreased social trust, how did I feel about a bunch of white people going off to start their own country. (My response: Unenthused). But you see this sort of thing on the Internet enough that some people believe it, and while Putnam’s point is supported by research, I don’t think it actually supports the solution. “Diversity,” I suspect, is one of those things that actually is a social construct. If you make people hyperaware of their differences — as is done on college campuses today — you can make things much worse than they otherwise would be. (See also Tito’s Yugoslavia). If you encourage people to think about what they have in common, you can make things much better. And where it suits their interests, politicians will create ethnic cleavages. (Hutus and Tutsis are both “black” in American conception, but politicians were still able to inflame passions that led to genocide.) My prediction is that if you created some sort of racially segregated society, politicians would soon be at work finding other differences to inflame, differences that nobody’s even aware of now. The only real answer is a strong social norm that supports, for example, our common humanity and, in this country, our common Americanness. This seems to be what ordinary Americans believe, and act upon, but politicians will do whatever it takes to gain power. Keeping politicians in check is the key to getting along. Can we do more of that?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Aja Drums

The recent passing of Walter Becker induced a fit of Steely Dan listening on my part.  This is one of my favorite bits of musicianship on a Dan recording; Steve Gadd's drums on Aja.  This is a cover by Joe Nocella (one of the nice touches is that Joe responds to most of the comments on the video).  It's just lovely, particularly from 3:00 on.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sure Looks Hot

Taken from cockpit of Air National Guard C-130 preparing to drop fire retardant on forest fire near Fresno, California on August 29, 2017.  From Strategy Page.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cool, And Not Cool

Keeping your cool.  Watch it all the way.

And not cool:
A Coolidge man remained hospitalized Friday after surviving a rattlesnake bite to the face while trying to show off to friends at a party by attempting to cook the reptile on the barbecue.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Louis Armstrong Tells Off Ike

Sixty years ago yesterday.  In the wake of tension over integration of public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.  For the backstory, read this THC post from 2012.  Newspaper courtesy of the Louis Armstrong Museum in Queens.  Go visit!