August 09, 2014

Um, Dear Leader? Do you think ISIS hasn't heard of Stingers?

President Barack Obama says that Iraq airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, are likely to be a long-term action:
“I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks,” Mr. Obama said before leaving for a two-week vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. “This is going to be a long-term project.”
The thing is, he's not told us a few things.

First, what is his "exit" strategy. Ever since Shrub Bush invading Afghanistan, then Iraq, this has been an issue.

Second, what happens if, per the muahjideen we armed against the USSR in 1980s Iraq, what if ISIS has a few Stingers or other anti-aircraft missile launchers? This is especially important if we also try to do humanitarian aid drops to people entrapped by ISIS. Said drops must be done by planes flying slower and at lower altitudes.

Third, why are we dragging nation-building back in the picture?
But he said the broader effort was intended to help Iraqis meet the threat from the militants over the long term. “The most important time table that I’m focused on right now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized,” the president said before boarding Marine One.
Erm? You're going to wait until hell freezes over before Nouri Maliki forms a new government that represents all of Iraq.

So, this is like being in Wonderland:
He suggested that helping those people make it to safety would take time. He also said that getting an inclusive Iraqi government formed, and giving all Iraqis a reason to believe that they are represented by that government, would help give Iraqi military forces a reason to fight back against the militants.
Just ain't happening.

That said, it's, er, "interesting" that Dear Leader never mentioned Maliki by name in any of his comments about formation of a representative government. So, are we planning a coup, or at least assisting one if it forms?

Age discrimination and other hiring issues in the 'liberal media'

Update, Jan. 13, 2015: Six months after passing me by,  possibly for age-related reasons, the Bastrop Advertiser's managing editor has spit the bit, and it's hiring again. I may apply again, but if I do, I'm going to insist on some information up front, related to the original version of this post.

Meanwhile, the Austin American-Statesman, running second to the Dallas Morning News in digital world idiocy among major Texas papers, has almost totally folded the Advertiser's website into its own. 

I don't like it for two reasons.

First, it undercuts what's left of the "community newspaper" idea.

Second, I do NOT like the "Microsoft Surface/Windows 8" type website layout in general.

Now, back to the original post.

===

For people who have gotten of a certain age, as they hunt for new jobs, a common phrase is "X is the new X," in terms of a certain age.

Well, I've come to believe that's very true at times.

Especially in terms of age discrimination. 

I had originally dialed back some critique of a recent hiring process, described here, to in exchange, at that link, focus more on the idiocy of the Austin American-Statesman and/or Cox Communications with its suburban and exurban papers in Austin.

Well, I've decided to do a part two, and dial the heat back up.

Speaking of, it looks like I'm still in my current location in the media world, vis-a-vis an interview I had to go to another location, which would be a community newspaper under the umbrella of the Austin-American Statesman. I was their official No. 2.

That said, is saying that the winner had more social media skills an unofficial version of age discrimination? (I was told this was the deciding factor.) I've been  officially age-discriminated against once. I was told so off the record, that's how I know.

And I've seen claims of bigger age discrimination, in the previous decade, in cases where the employer claimed that people were let go because it was thought they couldn't learn new computer skills. And, that was at another newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, about six years ago. I guess it was just "happenstance" that many of the people let go were older, and columnist or critic types, who happen to make bigger bucks in the newspaper world.

Interesting that those were all newspapers, eh?

It's the real world, and the so-called librul media is actually, in general, one of the more conservative members of the real world on this and other fiscal-related bottom lines. I'll note, as part of that, that "community" newspapers, especially, are bad about using "blind box" help wanteds. And, since the Great Recession, and Internet 2.0, and the combined detritus nuking newspapers, many have gotten worse about all of this.

First, because I'm kind of tired of this, I'm naming names, to a degree.

It was one of the community newspapers owned by the Austin American-Statesman. I'm not naming the person who interviewed me, as I don't know if that person did or did not have the final call on the hiring. And, that person may have not had the final call on age X being the new age X.

And, I can't legally prove any of this. Age discrimination, as the ex-employees who sued the Snooze soon learned, is a lot harder to prove than racial or sexual discrimination.

That said?

As for the claims of not noting my social media background? Per the top 1/4 of the first page of my resume:
COMPUTER SKILLS
• Quark  • Photoshop  • InDesign  • Office • Video • Web content  • Social media • QuickBooks
Last I checked, "social media" was spelled as, uh, "social media"! So, that's undercut right there. Plus, "Web content"? That means that, using either a house-based system or a third-party web host, I have experience (and it's extensive) in website "publishing" for various newspapers. I've done that for years.

If you, the interviewer, wanted to know more about my skills, and amount of usage, of Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+ or Instagram or Pinterest, all you had to do was ask. But, since the Bastrop Advertiser only lists the first three under "social media" on its home page, although it has a Pinterest icon on the "more social media" link below the first three.

Now, I don't list "blogging" for two reasons. One, it's not always considered "social media." Two, I got Googled once, and I keep personal blogging detached from my journalism resume for that reason. 

Second, the interviewer with whom I had such rapport didn't ask ANY questions, to the best of my memory, specific to my social media skills. My memory is never perfect, hence the caveat. But, it's usually pretty damned good, so put that caveat in agate type with an asterisk. And, I know, I know, this person didn't ask any advanced questions about social media, such as target audiences, what each of the different types of social media is best for, etc.

Third, the Bastrop Advertiser doesn't even have its own social media feeds. The "trio" listed above? The links it its website are all for the Austin American-Statesman social media sites. The same is true of every other one of the Statesman's community newspapers.

So, the desire for social media skills? It's all bullshit. 

If you really actually cared about social media, each of your community papers would link its own social media accounts on its pages. If I'm interested in the community newspaper in Bastrop, or Pflugerville, or Round Rock, and I'm interested in its online presence, I don't want to be directed to Statesman Tweets.

And, if this were "only" an IT error off of using a Statesman template for new community paper websites, if I'm the only person in a full year who caught it and complained, that's sad.

Fourth, beyond my own previous personal experience from before this? I was in the Metroplex when, as part of the "bleed," in 2008 or 2009, the Dallas Morning News canned a bunch of older staffers, almost all of them columnists and critics, as noted more briefly above. It got sued — I haven't Googled recently to find the results. In the filing of the suit, the plaintiffs mentioned that computer skills, or alleged lack thereof, and ability to learn and/or improve them, or lack thereof, were among the reasons for the dismissals.

Ahh, the "don't have skills" with the presumption one's too old to learn them. In our tech world, that's one of the "easiest" excuses/pseudo-justifications in the deck for age discrimination. 

And older folks at newspapers, like elsewhere, make more money. Usually, the hope is that a younger person will work for less. You can always, in a vacancy, go back to the older person if you tried to lowball the younger person too much and he or she said now. That's if a role isn't contracted out to a freelancer, as more and more big dailies are doing with more and more columnist and critic spots, with "created" vacancies.

And, I've seen other tricks of the trade, too. I don't know if they're more common in newspapers than other media, or media in general versus other jobs, but I've seen other tricks of the trade, too.

Advertise a job, get resumes, interview the top candidates, then hire nobody. Re-advertise the job a month later, having "skimmed" whoever first applied so that you can now raise the bar on minimum qualifications without raising the pay. 

Or a related trick. Advertise the job, interview top candidates. Decide whether some internal candidate is close enough to the top that he or she will be fobbed off by a fancy title and 15-20 percent less pay than the old managing editor, if they even know what the salary is.

Beyond that, if either the American-Statesman, or its Cox Communications parent, is so idiotic as to say it will, and I quote, "never" have paywalls for the web versions of its community newspapers? I was a bit hesitant about that issue already. If you want to be dumb enough to piss money away, I'm going to be smart enough to think twice about going there.

There is of course no chance in hell a person in my position would win a legal action, if one were undertaken, even if justified.

I'll admit part of this is just upset over something not panning out. But, something that smells like age discrimination stinks. Even if it wasn't deliberate, it was presumptuous as hell.

#PZMyers and others: More straw-manning at #FTB in the name of feminism (updated)

I don't know if this is from two of her actual Tweets or not;
that said, there are other pictures, allegedly of Ms. Watson,
badly drunk, exactly fitting this problem.
Updated, Aug. 9, 2014. Please see very good video from Carol Tavris at this year's version of The Amazing meeting, about one-third of the way down.

Updated, Feb. 9, 2015: Total conviction rate on the actual rape charge of people charged with rape is 53 percent. Conviction on any charge is 68 percent. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Does it not make simple sense that women should watch how much they drink in certain social situations they know can become sexually supercharged? Especially, say, at college?

Maybe to most people, but not to all.

At Slate, Emily Yoffe absolutely nails this issue of how young women need to take responsibility and stop getting so drunk in the first place, as part of reducing sexual assault.

And, before Gnus and Atheism Plusers flame me (or others, or Yoffe) here, on Twitter, or elsewhere, she has all the disclaimers about not blaming the victim, etc. She notes what I've said in other links, namely that:
1. Women metabolize alcohol differently and get drunk faster than men;
2. College sexual assaults usually aren't by strangers, but fellow students;
And beyond that to note:
1. Yes means yes and no means no aside, there's no bright line on how drunk is too drunk to influence consent;
2. A rape reported by someone who was drunk is harder to prosecute, for obvious memory reasons;
3. Rohypnol or other "spiking" of drinks isn't the problem; it's women getting this drunk, whether encouraged by a predatory male, as part of a party where both men and women drink to the point of loss of control, or a bit of both.
So, click the link and read, please.

Update, Aug. 9, 2014: And, then, watch this video.



Start at about the 12-minute mark, where a college woman has drunk but consensual sex with a man. She then goes back to her place, texts him to ask if he has a condom, then goes back and has more sex, despite attempts of friends to stop her. She then "cried wolf" the next day claiming lack of memory. The college eventually took no action, saying, in essence, she was too drunk to even know at the time whether or not she was in a state of being able to consent, and the man was too drunk to know that she was that drunk. Tavris goes on to note that the type of feminism that, even in the light of text messages, undercut the claim of "I couldn't help stop drinking," is not the type of feminism she believes in.  End update.

Put, please be considerate to the poor, Atheism Plus nth-wave feminists, who are full of anti-feminist self-disempowering bullshit.  I didn't know that Atheism Plus women were so physically or mentally weak. Apparently, they're incapable of refraining from drinking more alcohol if some man pours it in a glass.

And, as expected, a possible nth-wave feminist has now done the flaming, on Talking Points Memo (ugh), with me saying she's a possible nth-wave feminist by a look at her blog. Or that she writes that everyday gender inequality could cause the next war. Or, the name of that just-linked URL.

And, P.Z. Myers, to whom I refuse to link, has upped the ante on the straw-manning.

Let me present two analogies to you.

1. Somebody writes a column or blog post that advises rich people not to drive Aston Martins into ghettos. Obvious reasons. Author makes multiple statements that this isn't blaming rich people for when they're carjacked, etc. Makes clear that the criminals are responsible for their criminal behavior. But, the author still advises rich people with Aston Martins to use a little common sense. It's called harm reduction.

2. Another person writes a column or blog post that advises women on college campuses not to get so drunk that they're unsure as to whether or not they've given sexual consent, unsure as to how drunk they were when they gave sexual consent, etc. The author makes clear that the person who commits a sexual assault on such a woman (whether the assaultee is a straight male or a gay female — more on that in a minute) is the criminal. The author makes clear that he or she is not blaming the victim.

In both cases, we're talking about sensible harm reduction.

Many people likely would simply nod their heads at No. 1. Yet, No. 2 is already getting straw-manned by the likes of P.Z. Myers (and others). It will likely be strawmanned even more, soon enough, by others at Freethought Blogs.

Yes, I know analogies aren't perfect. But, if one gets past a fixation on richness (or even more on the idea of the rich having "privilege," which alone means Gnu Atheists won't accept this analogy), I think this is a pretty good one.

There are plenty of others that could be spun out, anyway. Like the harm reduction of locking your doors (car or residence). Carrying insurance. Etc.

But, at the Gnu Atheist Asylum, or elsewhere in the Atheism Plus madhouse, where everybody else has "privilege" but the cadres and their leaders don't, such analogies will never gain acceptance.

It's also no wonder P.Z. has "divorced himself" from professional skepticism. He never practices it.

And, speaking of, per past posts by two bloggers at Freethought Blogs:

One more thing, contra the Greta Christinas and Stephanie Zvans at the asylum, women also sexually assault each other. As do men. As do women on men. But, that will never be discussed by either of them.

Moving beyond this, there is also a difference between "blaming the victim" and pointing out that someone may be, in part, "playing the victim." Psychological martyrdom is probably less a lost art than ever in the world of social media.

Let's call it reverse "privilege." Which, like "reverse racism," is ultimately the word it reverses.

Reporting rape to the police is still a somewhat "fraught" thing, though, it's probably less fraught for a woman who was sober and sexually assaulted by a stranger than it is a college-age woman who hit a frat party at college or a friends and friends of friends party out in the country with the explicit purpose of getting drunk and possibly having sex, then changing her mind, and getting sexually assaulted by someone drunk, whether or not the victim was drunk also, half-drunk or whatever.

But, it's less "fraught" than it used to be. Police departments have more female officers than decades past, for one thing. Both male and female officers have at least a modicum of training in tact and sensitivity, compared to years past, and more training in collection of evidence, too. And, while there are horror stories still out there, they do, in general, take rape more seriously than in the past, and pursue cases more aggressively.

Ditto on all of the above for prosecutors.

So, the nth-wave feminists and social justice warriors do nobody a favor by relying on largely (yes, not totally) outmoded images to tell women not to pursue rape cases. I've seen just that advice more than once at Freethought Blogs. And, per a comment thread on Facebook, it may be that there's the martyr card at play here, too.

It's sad. Especially when all of this gets used as gasoline to the matches of men's rights advocates.

Again, per Yoffe's original, I'm not blaming the victim here, on men's rights extremists going nuts. They would anyway. However, there is the parallel issue. And, just like Gnu Atheists seem to kind of like Christian fundamentalists, to the point of finding them as their Tar Baby, I suspect the nth-wave feminists kind of like men's rights extremists in the same way.

That, too, is sad.

Beyond that, there's something that's ironic more than sad, though it has a bit of that. Part of the drunken frat-house culture, and especially the degree women get involved, seems in part due to repressed female sexuality, sexual stigma, and still not being fully detached from sexual stereotypes. For the women who straw-man this issue, play the martyr card, etc., it's definitely more ironic than sad, though. These aren't young Christians, whether at Christian or secular college, who . These are the Atheism Plusers, who have proclaimed they want to take the social crusade angle of Gnu Atheism even further, and to the degree sexuality stigma comes from Christian background, as may ("privilege" drivel aside) chauvinism, patriarchy, whatnot, shouldn't the empowerment of Plusism have them moving beyond this?

That said, I don't think this is always about sexual repression. At the risk of mansplaining, in some cases, such as Ms. Watson, there's probably other issues. With some minority percentage of women, I believe there's psychological gamesmanship afoot. Now, as to what drives such gamesmanship, it's probably pretty individualized.

Add to the straw-manning simple trolling by Fauxthoughter Jason Thibeaualt.

===

And, although the drinking didn't go too far, and it wasn't a frat-house type scene, alcohol (as well as abuse of standing as a boss), appears to have played some role in the stunning (but not quite shocking) story of problems of former Scientific American blogging chief Bora Zivkovic. And here, it's even clearer there are other dynamics at play among the nth-wave feminist crowd et al. Zvan rightfully notes, in the motorboat wake of this, that harassment can be done by women, too (I'm shocked to hear that out of her mouth) but, then goes on to do what is arguably "slut shaming." She'd surely call it that if someone else did it. It's also possibly a form of online bullying to keep non nth-ers in line.

===

Once again, college people, too much drinking, some sort of sexual activity, problematic memory, and a rape claim that didn't play out, at least against the person in the spotlight. Once again, social justice warriors, maybe start your focus on ... alcohol? And, as for motive? SJW folks, this one's clear on at least a possible motive. Monetary payout from a presumed first-round NFL draft pick.

August 08, 2014

#Watergate after 40 years — the #Vietnam angle on why it happened

I'm old enough, as neither a Boomber nor a Gen Xer, but an honest-to-goodness Tweener, or '70s kid, to remember well August 9, 1974 and the resignation of Richard M. Nixon over Watergate. Well enough to remember how he looked drained and pasty-faced all while sweating hard.

Well, as an adult, having read history books, I know that a mix of his pores and sweat glands, and a body chemistry that didn't deal well with alcohol in any quantity, led to the look — along with the obvious stress, of course.

But, what led to the moment?

Late October, 1968, arguably.

I just came across this great essay from 2012 which says that Watergate all started near the finish line of the election that year, and Nixon's arguably treasonous, or at least Logan Act violating, dalliance with Anna Chennault to get South Vietnam to hold off on any peace talks agreement until after the election.

Nixon was given, through channels, an indistinct yet clear warning by Lyndon B. Johnson that he knew just what was happening.

So, having lost to Jack Kennedy in 1960, and hinting at dirty tricks there, and expecting Teddy, even post-Chappaquiddick, in 1972, he was worried about more snooping. Or past dirt coming back to life. (Oh, on 1960 cheating? Quite possible in Texas of Landslide Lyndon fame even as it was moving Republican, but only at the local level; Texas reverted Democratic until 1972 after having voted for Ike both times. In Illinois, famous for Nixon's hints, the commonly accepted story is he dropped his demand for a Cook County recount when Democrats countered that all of Illinois would have to face the same. And he needed both, not to win, but just to block Kennedy-Johnson from winning, with Harry Byrd in the race, too.)

So, already in 1971, besides the Pentagon Papers burglary, Nixon's group hit the Brookings Institute, on the belief that proof of LBJ's 1968 spying on his contacts with Chennault were there. But, as Robert Parry explains at the link above, Walt Rostow had that information, and after LBJ died, to do his best to hide it, he gave the documents to the LBJ library.

Unfortunately, as Robert Parry also notes at his linked essay, folks like Woodward and Bernstein still refuse to look seriously at late October and early November 1968, and the arguable treason of Richard M. Nixon.

Watergate was bad.

Deliberately getting soldiers killed to win election was far, far worse.

The #TwelveSteps for #Cubs fans

Recently, on NBC Sports' website, I saw a commenter with the handle "recoveredcubsfan."

Well, I got to thinking about recovery in the drug and alcohol addiction sense, then thought about the Twelve Steps of Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, so often and so readily spoofed.

And, here's the result.

1. We admitted we were powerless over being Cubs fans—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a goat who accursed our team, including practicing various sacrifices, hex removals, etc.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of the suckitude of our roster, the Lou Brock trade for Ernie Broglio, the second curse of Ron Santo clicking his heels in 1969, the managerial ineptitude of Dusty Baker in breaking Kerry Wood and Mark Prior, and Bartman.

5. Admitted to to Pan the goat-god, to ourselves, and to another Cubs fan the exact nature of our team's suckitude and our failure as fans to believe deeply and strongly enough and not ask Oprah to secretly bless us.

6. Were entirely ready to have Pan and Oprah remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Pan and Oprah to remove our shortcomings, including our jealousy over the 2005 White Sox, and to build us a massive new Jumbotron while they were at it.

8. Made a list of all persons we had annoyed by our martyrdom and other events; wrote each Cardinal fans' name down twice.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. Our amends included wearing Cardinal red whenever possible.

10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly bought tickets to Busch Stadium.

11. Sought through invocation of Pan and Oprah, and if not, invocation of Lou, Gibby and Ozzie, to improve our conscious contact with pennant-winning baseball as we understood it.

12. Having had a baseball awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to fellow Cubs fans, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

#PopEvPsych, more legit version, gets some definite refudiation

I differentiate what seems to be more legitimate work in evolutionary psychology (without in any way turning off my skepticism) and the "pop" version, which is what's given over to the more outrageous pronouncements, like rape being evolutionarily adaptive, and about anything else that makes claims for a set of extreme gene-driven male-female sexual differences.

That said, as I've also noted before, even the "legit" version of ev psych founders on its presuppositions in this area, namely that one point in human evolution was critical for human psychological evolution, and it just happened to be when man the male was a noble hunter-gatherer.

First, there's absolutely no way, at this time, based on current human DNA or analyzable scraps from long-ago ancestors, that we can get a firm handle on rate of genetic change in general, let alone on specific genes for psychological development.

Second, even legit ev psych still often seems to be in the one gene, one result school of genetics.

Third, as we learn more and more about epigenetics, and learn more and more about what we have yet to figure out, it's also clear that all versions of ev psych have little room for it, and no room for testing for long-ago epigenetic effects.

Fourth, back to all versions' of ev psych's "keystone" from the EEA, man the male as a noble hunter-gatherer? Man the male was a grubby scavenger-gatherer long before that and for much longer, as far as we know.

All of this is why I take great pleasure in reading that increased "feminization" was a key point in leading to the development of behaviorally modern humans.

Game. Set. Match. Not just versus Pop Ev Psych, but at least game and set vs. more "legit" ev psych, overall, and also against its defenders in the so-called "scientific skepticism" movement like Rebecca Watson.

Hey, Ed? Watson's understanding of the issue may be muddled, and she may also have an Atheism Plus or SJW ax to grind. None of that is true for me.

On the "scientific skepticism" issue, also, with at least one offender who has 15 months of free time to rethink such things, this is also connected to the issue of conflating libertarianism and skepticism.

August 07, 2014

ABC just hit a new low in polling teh stupidz

Their latest polling says American people are in a political "snit," as they called it.

First, the reality.

ABC idiocy, refudiated / Chart from Wikipedia
The American public talks like this every two years, but until they start voting out their own bastards, it means nothing. Even if wingnuts vote out halfway sane Republicans in a few primaries, it still means nothing. What that ultimately is, is an anti-political snit.

Here's the really dumb part:
Single women also are a markedly more Democratic-inclined group. But married men tilt heavily in the opposite direction – toward the GOP – and there’s twice as many of them. Of such threads are election strategies woven.
Talk about bad use of stats. As I told friend Perry, where I first saw that, without use of teh Google, I'm sure that, political affiliation aside, there's more than twice as many married men in general as single women.

And, that nice Wikipedia chart helps me out. Throwing out the slightly larger number of women than men in America, and setting aside the small numbers of gay or lesbian marriage, for which there's almost certainly no national stats yet of note, and from 25-70, we have approximately two-thirds of the public currently married and one-third not.

So, yes, there's twice as many married men as conservative women. Duh. Try comparing married men to married women and single men to single women. Or married men to single men, or married women to single women.

Every idiot who knows anything about statistics, polling, etc., knows that you "control for" all but one variable in a comparison in normal such research.

There's other problems, too. The poll claims Hispanics are highly disenchanted with Republicans, without mentioning their abysmal turnout to vote

But Perry's right, overall, that this probably isn't good news for Democrats.

PGA: #TigerWoods lags Mrs. Doubtfire by 4 and #RyderCup by more; what about Rory?

OK, so Tiger Woods is technically healthy for the PGA Championship in Louisville at Valhalla.

But, he finished the first round four strokes behind Colin Montgomerie, the majors-skittish Scot who is anti-belovedly known to many American golf fans as Mrs. Doubtfire, thanks in part to hijinxing commenter David Feherty.

That's pretty sad. From what I've observed, he's spraying that driver all over the place, and the back 9 at Valhalla is not as forgiving as the front 9.

In addition to the surprise of Lee Westwood, in about an eight-way tie for first on the current list of best Englishman never to win a major, Red Shirt is behind a bunch of "who dats" and at least one other senior-circuit aged golfer, Miguel Angel Jimenez. My man Vijay Singh is at par. (And three under after Friday!)

That said, should Red Shirt hold on to make the cut, yet finish so far behind the leaderboard that he can't see it due to the earth's curvature, does he continue to beg the real TW, Tom Watson, for a Ryder Cup slot? (That's the Tom Watson who finished today a shot ahead of Tigah.)

Stay tuned. (And, yeah, I sent that zinger in by Twitter to John Hawkins at Golf Channel, and he ran it.)

There was another good one there on Friday:
Tiger talking a lot the last two weeks about his "firing sequence". I assume that means Fluff, then Butch, then Haney, then Stevie, correct?
And another:
 I don't like him, but Tiger is going to go down as the best golfer to have never won 15 majors.
Good night, prince.

That's assuming he makes the cut. He's tied for 110th right now. Valhalla is an easy track with lots of low scores out there. The only chance Tiger has at the cutline is going even or below tomorrow.

And, Rory McIlKing (nice pun, eh?) is far behind Westwood right now, but stand by. As he's at -3 through 14. And  has now finished at -5, just a stroke off the lead.

Anyway, with Rory, I think we're at the point, at least, where Vegas will soon automatically install him as the betting favorite at majors.

And again, with Tiger, we're at the point of no Ryder Cup for you! I don't want to come off as showing too much schadenfreude, but that could change if WDs before his second round is over, or tells some BS story afterward about his bad back even though on Wednesday he said he was totally healthy.

August 06, 2014

Social justice warriors, #mansplaining hit baseball blogosphere (trigger alerts)

Ugh is all I have to say. And, per the parentheses in the header, here's more explainer about the trigger alerts, which is where that picture comes from.

I first noticed this at NBC Sports' Hardball Talk, when top blogger Craig Calcaterra blogged last week about Dirk Hayhurst's confession to "something" when he was in the minor leagues. I commented there, and ultimately blogged, that things weren't as open and shut as some claimed, and that, for all we know, Hayhurst is the next Chad Curtis waiting to explode. At the least, I said, he's affecting to be the next Jim Bouton, with the addition of a social justice warrior type of martyrdom.

Well, I and others who questioned details of his account, or details of male-female behavior in relation to sexual liaisons, the effects of alcohol and more — with things like a national online media column explaining young female sobriety as a preventative without letting men and men's responsibility off the hook — and got flamed by a couple of people.

That said, per that alcohol discussion, my updating of someone else's work, as shown at right, needs posting here, too, I think. Not just for SJWs in general, but per some of the discussion on Craig's Dirk Hayhurst piece.

And, when one commenter trotted out the "mansplaining," I said, I'm outta here. More on mansplaining right here.

Well, said person showed up again last night, on Craig's post about Kim Ng's attempt to become a general manager, in this case of the Padres, which she didn't get.

First, as for SJWs who question my own liberality, I don't normally do the "some of my best friends are black" schtick, but, I'm going to pull one of my comments from the piece:
She entered the Yankees front office in the late 1990s. Interviewed to run the Dodgers while an assistant there. Was a finalist for Seattle.

The one way to tell for sure if she’s qualified? 

Double-blinded interviews, where she’s behind a screen and her voice is disguised.

And, no, that’s not joking. That’s how major orchestras hire instrumentalists, after allegations of sexual discrimination in hiring.
And there you go. And, as I also noted, I think she's qualified enough to be a baseball GM.

But, at the same time, even though the apparent SJW in question hadn't directly fired at me this time, she had on the Hayhurst piece, so I decided I'd be a bit pre-emptive. 

I was led to that idea by another commenter saying he wanted to make an SJW-related addition to Godwin's Law:
"As an online discussion of race/class/gender issues grows longer, the probability that 'white male privilege' will be invoked approaches 1."
Sounds about right.


So here's my add-on response to "Whatacrocker," also serving as a cut-off response to "Fearless."
You forgot to add that the likelihood of some neologism ending with #splaining entering the conversation will also approach 1.

And that the likelihood that any objection to that will be held against you in a social justice warrior court of non-law will also approach 1.

Fearless? Save it, please. Remove the martyr’s back of hand from your forehead. I’ve met plenty of SJWs in the courts of Gnu Atheism/Atheism Plus. You’re probably small fry compared to some I’ve tangled with.

And, on issues like true freedom of thought?

You’re just not that liberal.

Get over it, and yourselves.

Or don’t. You make few converts that way, though, like other JWs, the ones who knock on my door every week, SJWs get to reinforce their own martyrdom.
And, that's about it. 

No, that's not about it. Let me remind the SJWs that they can lie just as much as anybody else. 

No, that's not even close to it.

I've apparently hit a nerve with "Fearless," who on Twitter said she obviously hit a nerve with me.  To which, I responded:
Again, and you chose to comment on that fact? Nerves, pots, kettles, and self-righteousness, perhaps?
It soon may be time to fill in the SJW stereotype blanks. I've had my one response and don't need more, other than to note that "Fearless" had more than 140 characters for unpacking the "rich and delightful web of issues" when she commented on Craig's two posts.

And chose not to. 

To put this more directly, in SJW words, casual use of words like "mansplaining" is stereotyping and labeling, things the likes of you allegedly abhor. I do hope that, in my ongoing Twitter exchange with "Fearless," that came through without (too much) snark, etc., on my part.  Maybe, to be generous, some people don't recognize that they're engaging in labeling and stereotyping. Being less generous, without being harsh, I pretty much doubt that, though.

I don't know if Craig is himself a full-on, or even half-on, social justice warrior, but, I think at a minimum that he's the type that could go weak in the knees for them. Which I can accept, should he not go down their rabbit trail in attempts to stifle discourse. Massimo Pigliucci discusses in detail this issue, which is of course one of the biggest problems with the SJW movement. 

That said, we'll see if he's any more tolerant than the Orwellians at MLBTradeRumors.

August 05, 2014

#Pseudoskeptic #BrianDunning gets himself 15 months, boo-hoos

Brian Dunning
Brian Dunning, one of the godfathers of conflating political libertarianism with scientific skepticism, and also con artist extraordinaire (the federal legal term is "guilty of wire fraud") found out yesterday what his near-term future holds.

(Update, Oct. 21, 2015: Dunning is out of the federal clink and unrepentant; he gets his first post-incarceration smackdown from me.)

 Fifteen months in the stir. Three years supervised release after that, a supervised release that will likely include monitoring of his online activities.

I suppose there's fanboys and fangirls of his that still, after not just his plea but now his sentencing, who think he's not a criminal. (One of the biggest of his early defenders, Doubtful News, has yet to post anything about Dunning's sentence. at almost a week and counting, even with Dunning posting a statement himself; see below for more on Dunning's statement.) However, United States Attorney David Callaway is not one of them.

In sentencing arguments, he fought for some significant incarceration time. Given the fact that this was on a plea deal with all other counts dismissed, he got at least half a loaf, I think. The defense wanted a "non-custodial sentence," in other words, a fine, no jail time, and, probably, about the same, maybe less, supervised time as in the post-release supervised time he actually got, based in part on cohort Shawn Hogan only getting five months.  Read below, if you will, before voting on the poll at right.

Callaway actually asked for 27 months. After saying that Hogan may have gotten lucky to get that short of sentence, he noted this about Dunning:
Finally, there are the letters. The government shares the discomfort U.S. Probation Officer Flores expressed at the recurring theme in so many of them, that the FBI "raid" allegedly "traumatized" the defendant's family, as if somehow the Dunning family deserved to be insulated from the adverse consequences caused by law enforcement agents simply doing their jobs, executing a search warrant to investigate the crimes that he, Brian Dunning, knowingly, willfully and fraudulently committed.
In other words, Dunning wasn't repentant. Maybe Hogan was, but we know Dunning wasn't. In fact, Callaway suggests that Hogan was more repentant, more cooperative and both, noting his "substantial and well-earned departure" from sentencing guidelines. Indeed, there's more in this in-depth piece about how eBay was "on" to Dunning and his cohort in crime, Shawn Hogan, which includesHogan "manning up" on responsibility, but Dunning being too much of a wuss or putz to comment.

Why does that not really surprise me, that Dunning either wasn't that repentant, that cooperative, or both? Especially since he knows that all about Hogan!


The suggested sentencing range, pre-hearing, of up to 27-33 months, was based on Dunning's fraud having an actual estimated value of $200,000-$400,000 per stipulation by all involved parties as part of his plea deal. Given that Kessler's Flying Circus, Dunning's front group, raked $5.3 million in eBay commissions in one 18-month period alone, that was a generous concession by the feds as part of the plea deal.

I posted a long blog at about the time he pled guilty, which includes that information and more. You can click the link for the whole thing, but I'll extract a few highlights, or lowlights, here.

That includes that, this spring, Lousy Canuck at Freethought Blogs reported Dunning was trying to use 501(c)3 status, allegedly started in 2012, to shield his ill-gotten gains.

Yours for just $15!
So, sell that swag, Brian!

(At highly inflated prices, like $27.95 for a T-shirt. Sounds like a guru selling to his cultic followers. Or $15 for the aptly titled rubber stamp; more on it below.)

Back to the serious on this part. I don't know how much he was selling on his own on eBay, or if any of his Skeptoid stuff was sold there. But, the principle of a man with a sharp eye for a sharp product, whether through "raking" with groupies on his own stuff or defrauding other affiliates with eBay, still stands.

And, yes, "groupies" is about the right word.

Have fun in the stir, Brian.

And, I hope you serve as a lesson not only to other Internet fraudsters, but people like you who fuse libertarianism and skepticism.

Hell, I hope you serve as a warning to people entranced with libertarianism in general, or even those who are too readily defensive of the neoliberal halfway house.

Your whole attitude reeks of supporting a libertarian Wild West. Lawyers and lawsuits are supposed to replace the rule of actual criminal law but, of course, only the rich can afford lawyers in Plato's Libertarian Republic.

Unfortunately, it will actually serve no such deterrence.

Shane Brady seems proof of that. (No surprise; I've run into his libertarianism before, and would argue that he has one foot down the road of Dunning, Penn & Teller, Shermer and others who in various ways conflate skepticism and libertarianism.)

Brady describes his background (his post just mentions "advertising") as such: I’ve been a programmer for as long as I can remember, and my interest in computers, the Internet, and technology runs deep. Elsewhere, in a comment on a non-public social media thread, he does indicate that he has IT experience relevant to this.

That said, let's jump in.

First, Shane in essence tries to say Dunning is no criminal. He gives a de jure admission that Dunning is one, while at the same time giving a de facto defense of Dunning as ... well as having been set up by some nefarious combo of eBay and the FBI.

Here's his narrative set-up:
The case also includes very little background of the industry and how it worked. There were two companies involved, eBay and Commission Junction. CJ’s job is to handle affiliate programs and, this is key, fraud prevention. You don’t become a top affiliate with the numbers Brian was pulling and not get noticed. Someone would be looking at you within the first week. ...

By far, though, the biggest red flag for me is the way eBay describes the investigation. Somehow an eBay employee was working with the FBI for a year to catch Brian. They even set up a “sting” to catch him in the act. What makes this all so perplexing to me, is that this should have taken all of an afternoon to figure out.  ...

Really, none of this makes all that much sense. Does this exonerate Brian? Nope. I will not say he is innocent. I can only say that what eBay alleges almost certainly didn’t happen, and I say that based on fifteen years working in the advertising industry. My personal opinion is that people in eBay and CJ knew what was happening, were being compensated well because of the program, and then let Brian take the fall later. In that case, I don’t know who committed the fraud against who. I don’t know how much Brian might have known. My guess is that eBay itself would be on the hook for defrauding other affiliate marketers if people within eBay conspired to jack one affiliate’s numbers up. This is complete conjecture on my part, but even so, it is more believable than eBay’s current claims.
If there were a twisted pun at the end, I'd call that a "shaggy dog."

But, there's not, so I'll call it ... a fictional short story? Counterfactual history?

In any case, noooo, it's not at all closer to being more believable.

In any case, while I'm plenty familiar with the FBI's history of entrapment, it also arrests real people for real crimes without any entrapment whatsoever.  Given the fact that Shawn Hogan also pled, and per what I and many other people who are not social justice warriors have seen about the original indictment documents, etc., I have no doubt that the FBI plus eBay had them both dead to rights. And, among the people included in that group, in italics, are multiple tech websites who have written about aspects of this case without seeing anything askew.

So, Shawn, sorry, but we'll file you in the semi-groupie category until I invent a new name. Especially because you seem to think you have secret insights that escaped all those other tech websites. (And, it's not like tech websites in general don't have bits of libertarian leanings.)

I can't call you a full groupie, though:

Brady does admit that Dunning continues to remain a psychologically slippery fish:
With all that, though, it’s time for Brian to come completely clean if he expects to ever have a future in skepticism. No talk about what his lawyers won’t let him say. No more vague statements. He will have to be more brutally honest with his audience and perhaps himself than he has ever been.
We're agreed there. And, without specifying what legal actions are involved, Brady also hints this, to be legal, "goes to character":
The whole eBay thing ended around the same time he started the Skeptoid podcast, and for most of Skeptoid’s existence, he’s been involved in some legal actions.
OTOH, isn't this part of at least certain strands of libertarianism? Objectivism and Straussian economics both even encourage lying for the "higher good" or whatever.  It's also funny that, as part of his post, Brady excoriates "progressives" for suddenly changing their tune over "big bad business," like this:
Another thing that has struck me is how so many progressives, who are normally skeptical of corporations, and who complain about the unfairness of the justice system, suddenly believe the words of a billion dollar corporation to the letter and praise the prosecutor as a beacon of skepticism. 
While noting that ... erm, eBay may have had a reason to lie, or at least shave the truth. Brady ignores that Dunning "became a business" with Skeptoid when the eBay shit started hitting the fan, and that he "became a business" by incorporating as Kessler's Flying Circus as an eBay affiliate.

Greed corrupts, and absolute greed corrupts absolutely.

And, Brady may be an even bigger bullshitter about this than Dunning.

Why don't we call you a groupie for libertarianism, rather than a groupie for Dunning? Or, even more, a groupie for his own self-alleged brilliance? (If Brady is truly seeing something that nobody, nobody else is seeing, and has that much expertise, why isn't he a multimillionaire by now?)

But, let's get back to Dunning. The "slippery fish" himself has posted on his own website. The first one-third sounds like it could have been "as told to Shane Brady." The rest of it sounds like he was lawyered up even more than in his "partial response" shortly after his indictment.

Some quick responses.

1. If his share was only 1/3 of $200-$400K, why did he and his lawyers agree to that stipulated amount in the plea deal? (Answers that FBI is always thugs not allowed.)
2. He never denies that he set up a nonprofit for a "shield," just that that doesn't work. Duh!
3. If he really regretted this "stain on his past," his lack of cooperation with the government, especially as compared to codefendant  Hogan, doesn't show that. In other words, he only regrets it as far as how it makes him look bad, not as far as what he actually did.
4. As for the family that has been "hurt" by the FBI, et al, would that include the Mrs. Brian Dunning getting 10 large a month from the widget rakings?

And, per a new post by Lousy Canuck, Dunning's more of a schmuck in other ways. He apparently added some Javascript to block text copying, and has blocked his website from being crawled for online indexing.

Anyway, I've provided Brady with multiple links off my original post, including a long story by Business Insider. I doubt it will change Brady's mind. And I know it won't get Dunning to be more honest, should he see any of this. But given that I posted that on another person's Facebook page, that's not my goal. My goal is to show people that Brady most likely just isn't right about his claims.

This all goes back to Dunning's original "partial explanation," linked on my long post about his plea deal. Dunning, pre-plea, kept claiming "eBay knew this, eBay encouraged that," etc. When the FBI said, "Got some documents?" well, of course Dunning had none. (And Hogan never made Dunning's claims in the first place.)

In short, as I continue to blog about this? I'm seeing Brady as sticking a toe in the waters of conspiracy thinking. Just a toe, but a toe, nonetheless.  And Shawn, this goes on much more? I'll do a post about exactly that. And, per my long post about Dunning's plea deal, one persistent commenter who never would show links to back up his claims show Brady's not alone.

That said, that's only one of the "unfortunates" associated with this case.

Also unfortunately, the site which first posted the PDF of the sentencing, to my knowledge, is an Atheism Pluser website, making Dunning a continuing voodoo doll in the ongoing war between Gnu Atheism (Plusism's godfather) and "scientific skepticism." I will agree in part, but not in full, with Brady's observations about them. I'll agree to the point he's not forwarding his own objectives.

And, they've got objectives, too.  No doubt about that. In fact, I'm probably going to be doing a post about SJWs infiltrating the world of baseball blogging this afternoon. Yes, really.

Anyway ...

All of this again illustrates why I usually don't use either "atheist" or "skeptic" to describe myself.  I will, around philosophers professional or amateur, to be precise, use "skeptic" in its proper philosophical sense, as a good Humean.

As for "scientific skepticism" or "movement skepticism," that's probably its biggest failing after failure to "police itself" over the Dunnings of the world when they fuse libertarianism and skepticism. It's got a quite narrow focus, overall; much of it isn't even necessarily about developing a broader critical thinking mindset beyond narrow areas like ghosts, bigfoot, UFOs, etc. Because, if it were about that, the libertarian-fusers would either apply the proper mindset and stop mixing in libertarianism, or else they'd get the boot. Beyond that, without any thought about, or wrestling with, skepticism as a philosophy, there's no real way to ground a methodology of what "scientific skepticism" is supposed to be. For example No. 1? Do you folks even know the difference between the Academic and Pyrrhonic schools of ancient Skepticism? The differences are big, and very important, as the likes of David Hume knew, unless you want to keep swimming in the same very small pond.

Which most of you probably do.

One final note for now. Along the lines of Doubtful News, SkepticBlog, where Dunning used to be a regular contributor, has also said bupkis about his fate. That said, Donald Prothero's been the only contributor who's actually contributed for more than 2 months. And, I wonder about the long-term future of that blog, connected with Skeptic magazine. Loxton's two midsummer posts are the only non-Prothero ones in the past five months. And the two of them are the only posters for this entire year.

Before #drought brings "dead pool," "dead power pool" could hit Powell and Mead

People who live in or near the Colorado River drainage (the real one, not the Texas one) know what the phrase "dead pool" means when applied to either Lake Mead or Lake Powell. It means that said damned lake has dropped so low that water can't flow through even the lowest outlet and we have a man-made Great Salt Lake.

Dead pool has been a worry for a few years among the knowledgeable, between persistent drought in the area — but not  unhistorical drought, as archaelogists and paleometeorologists know — and the effects of climate change.

But now, as High Country News notes, there's the worry of dead power pool, too.

That's where water levels in the lakes, even if not at dead pool yet, drop too low to generate significant hydroelectric power. Of course, the Colorado hits its lowest in August, right when sweltering Phoenix and Las Vegas are begging for kilowatts to juice up air conditioners.

A serious concern? Er, yes:
Here’s a sure sign that your region’s in drought: you stop paying your utility for the privilege of using water, and the utility starts paying you not to use water instead.

Outlandish as it sounds, that’s what four major Western utilities and the federal government are planning to do next year through the $11 million Colorado River Conservation Partnership. Under the agreement, finalized late last week between the Department of Interior and the utilities Denver Water, the Central Arizona Project, the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, farmers, cities and industries will get paid to implement two-year, voluntary conservation projects that put water back into the Colorado River. The goal is to demonstrate that so-called “demand management” can prevent water levels in lakes Powell and Mead from dropping too low for their dams to generate electricity.
It's that serious.

So serious that requesting big farmers to fallow land on a rotating basis is part of the discussion.

Which is a discussion no farmer or rancher wants:
“Fallowing is really a blunt force tool that would harm agriculture,” said Terry Frankhauser, executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. “We want to try to explore other ways of reducing demand,” like switching to less water intensive crops, watering less and accepting reduced yields, or water banking—foregoing diversions when you don’t need them in exchange for the right to use more later.
Well, you'd better figure it out soon, and start telling any of your members who are climate change denialists to get real. As it is, you and others are draining groundwater in the basin even faster than river reservoirs.

And, on Lake Powell, as a graphic at HCN shows, dead power pool will happen 1,200 feet above dead pool.

And, unless water usage is cut more, or else there's a massively snowy winter this year into next, dead power pool could happen as early as next year.

Have fun, climate change denialists in Arizona. If dead power pool actually happens in the next year or two, your summer electric rates in Phoenix will surely about triple, off the top of my head.

August 04, 2014

WWI — the height of folly, repeated today; above all, the folly of Woodrow Wilson

The senselessly romanticized Tower of London.
You can romanticize it with red poppies, either in the poem "In Flanders Field" or, as shown in the picture, by stringing up ceramic poppies on trellises at the Tower of London.

Or you can, on a romantic peace-making celebration of its anniversary, bury your head in the sand to reality like David Cameron and call it a noble cause, pretending that Wilhelmine Germany, for all its faults, was an evil empire just like the Nazis a generation later, in contradistinction to those who call it senseless slaughter. Here's Britain's more articulate answer to George W. Bush:
"That is wrong. These men signed up to prevent the domination of a continent, to preserve the principles of freedom and sovereignty that we cherish today," he said, only dozens of footsteps away from the headstones of Roy and Dietrich and 241 other Commonwealth and 288 German casualties.

Tosh, to use a good old British word.

First, let's debunk the romanticism.

As for the poppies? I have had friends on Facebook like the whole thing.

Not me, especially knowing those are ceramic fakes, rather than horticulturists doing some hard work with real poppies. Besides, if anybody knows the actual history of "In Flanders Fields," it was a pro-war poem used as a recruiting tool by the British, with their volunteer army.

I prefer the "war is hell" quote from William T. Sherman, which reads in full:
There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.
And, writing a poem about poppies, or putting fakes on the Tower of London, changes that not one whit, per Omar Khayyam.
And, now, let's look at the likely outcome had we simply not gotten involved.

First, it's unlikely Germany would have dominated Europe. Without Hitlerian lightning seizures of Denmark and Norway, with much more limited submarine warfare, despite Woodrow Wilson's one-sided trembling over that (more in a minute on that), and with WWI Germany generals actually looking askance at tanks, no chance that Ludendorff, his puppet Hindenburg, and their joint puppet Wilhelm II dominate Europe. Let alone the whole world.

Oh, yes, back to Woody Wilson and his crusade to make the world safe for Anglophilia.  That's what he really wanted, as anybody who knows of his intellectual love affair with Walter Bagehot can attest. Every time, from the sinking of the munitions-carrying, 4-inch-gun armed Lusitania on, when Wilson pretended to be "neutral," he took another step closer to Britain.

The best example is agreeing with Britain that submarine warfare was illegal while disagreeing with Germany that Britain's blockade by extension was illegal. (Germany also did a poor job of rounding up support from sympathetic neutrals, above all, the Netherlands and Denmark, who stood most to gain from a traditional blockade.)

This knowledge is so rare even among educated Americans that I'm presuming I need to explain a blockade by extension.

A traditional blockade is like the US did to its own rebellious Confederate states in the Civil War. A blockade by extension would have been to also blockade Mexico, because the French, in addition to sending arms to Emperor Maximilian there, were sending further arms, or food, or whatever, through Mexico to the Confederacy.

And, this is what Britain did to European neutrals, namely to the Netherlands and Denmark above all, and also to Norway and Sweden.

If Denmark imported, say, a total of 100,000 pounds of wheat a year, on average, from, say 1900-1913, then in 1915, that's all Britain allowed. It couldn't import an additional 500,000 pounds, with the presumable intent of then exporting the surplus to Germany.

And, until World War I, it was illegal to do that under international law. It was part of the freedom of the seas for which we went to war against Britain in the War of 1812.

In other words, if a secular hell existed, Wilson should be rotting in it.

We should have insisted on the fact that blockade by extension was just as illegal under international law as submarine warfare (the British would have maintained the blockade and worked on better anti-sub work against a relatively small number of subs), and let Europe beat itself senseless. Which it would have.

Had everything else played out, including the Germans slipping Lenin into Russia, with the same result, etc., here's what things would have looked like by November 1918.

On the Western Front, Germany knocking on the doors of Paris, but not quite breaking in. Its army half-starved, but fighting on. The French Army as mutinous as the Germany Navy turned out to be. The British Army close. Defeatism in all three. That said, the British and French would have held the line by pulling troops from their joint front in the Balkans, British troops from the Middle East and scattered troops from colonial Africa.

So, in the Middle East, Turkey tottering, but perhaps not exiting the war, as it actually did in October 1918. In the Balkans, the Dual Monarchy only moderately threatened, not nearly as much as in reality, due to the removal of British and French troops to the Western Front. (In reality, the Allied breakthrough in the Balkans didn't happen until September 1918.) Austria-Hungary, in turn, able to shift troops to the Italian Front, destabilizes that country.

I blogged more here, on the centennial of Gavrilo Princip's assassination of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, about an alternative history of WWI.

Europe would have ended up bloodier if the US hadn't intervened, and at more threat of Lenin exporting the Communist revolution.

Or, it could have come to its senses while a truly neutral American was an honest peace broker.

As for the poppies? I have had friends on Facebook like the whole thing.

Not me, especially knowing those are ceramic fakes, rather than horticulturists doing some hard work with real poppies. Besides, if anybody knows the actual history of "In Flanders Fields," it was a pro-war poem used as a recruiting tool by the British, with their volunteer army.

I prefer the "war is hell" quote from William T. Sherman, which reads in full:
There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell.

And, writing a poem about poppies, or putting fakes on the Tower of London, changes that not one whit, per Omar Khayyam.