Supplemental: This just in from our nation of sheep!

TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2015

Someone finally clarifies a few basic bone-simple points:
The Deflategate stampede has demonstrated how easy it is to get a whole nation to recite a deeply flawed script.

By how much were the Patriots’ footballs under-inflated last week? The NFL hasn’t yet stated its findings!

But so what? The entire nation is reciting a set of claims derived from a murkily-phrased account in a leak from an anonymous source.

Such claims routinely turn out to be wrong. But so what? As of now, the entire nation is reciting a bunch of unconfirmed claims.

Today, at Business Insider, Tony Manfred has finally started to articulate some basic possibilities about this embarrassing matter. He links to NBC’s Mike Florio, who posted this account on Sunday:
FLORIO (1/25/15): [W]hat has the NFL really found? As one league source has explained it to Pro Football Talk, the football intercepted by Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was roughly two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum. The other 10 balls that reportedly were two pounds under may have been, as the source explained it, closer to one pound below 12.5 PSI.

The NFL has yet to share specific information regarding the PSI measurements of the balls that were confiscated and measured at halftime. Which has allowed the perception of cheating to linger...
Florio is also citing a leak from an anonymous source. But uh-oh! According to his anonymous source, the air pressure figures everyone has been using are wrong.

If Florio’s source is closer to right, this whole scandal starts to melt down, as you can see in Manfred’s report. That said, no one will have any idea what is actually happening until the NFL makes a report of its basic allegations and findings.

Until that happens, we’re all dealing in rumor and script. But we are a very dull-witted nation, especially among our “journalistic” elites.

In the past week, those elites have badly embarrassed themselves. But then, what else is new?

You must consider this: The ongoing work at ESPN has been especially heinous.

But then, what other news org employs so many “journalists” who had to leave their previous jobs after taking too many blows to the head?

People, we’re just saying! It’s a real journalistic concern!


SELMA ON OUR MINDS: Race is our product, our tribe’s only product!

TUESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2015

Part 4—A slippery professor churns script:
By some act of legerdemain, Professor Joseph seemed to know where the dispute had come from.

Why had some people criticized Selma’s portrayal of President Johnson? According to Professor Joseph, Selma’s treatment of Johnson had “sparked a controversy that could threaten the film's legacy and, in the short term, its chances for prestigious awards.”

Professor Joseph wrote his column about this matter for NPR. The column appeared on NPR’s web site on January 10.

The assessment we have quoted was perfectly plausible. But what had sparked the controversy about the film's portrait of Johnson?

Mind-reading brilliantly, the young professor eventually gave tribal members the news:
PROFESSOR JOSEPH (1/10/15): Part of the controversy over Selma stems not only from the film's portrait of Johnson, but from the lack of white protagonists in major roles. This is not to say that the movie only shows whites as villains. If Alabama Gov. George Wallace and the brutal Selma Sheriff Jim Clark are depicted as unapologetic racists—which they were—sympathetic white characters abound, including James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo, two relatively unknown figures from the Selma protests who were killed by local whites for their activism. And two Johnson men, adviser Lee C. White and Assistant Attorney General John Doar, are portrayed as quietly determined allies of the movement.

Selma is unapologetic in depicting the movement as one that was primarily led by black women and men. Black women stand out on this score with subtle and nuanced depictions of Coretta Scott King, Annie Lee Cooper, Diane Nash, and Amelia Boynton definitively illustrating black women's fierce activist commitment and leadership in civil rights struggles...

The real problem many critics have with this film is that it's too black and too strong. Our popular reimagining of the civil rights movement is that it's something we all did together and the battle is over; that's just not true.
Are those assessments accurate? Did part of the controversy “stem from the lack of white protagonists in major roles?” Is “the real problem many critics have with this film” the fact that “it's too black and too strong?”

Let’s start with a basic question. Who are the “many critics” for whom this is said to be the real problem?

Can we talk? Frankly, Selma hasn’t drawn a whole lot of critics! Published critics tended to review the film in reverential ways, as typically happens when film-makers tackle topics of this type.

Whatever one thinks of their assessments, our major reviewers tended to review Selma quite favorably. Who then are the “many critics” who found the film “too black and too strong?”

Mind-reading nicely while working from script, Professor Joseph never named the “many critics” for whom this was “the real problem.” In fairness, the professor did suggest two possible suspects, one of whom didn’t criticize Selma at all (see below).

Still, we were told that “many critics” felt the film was too black and too strong. Sadly, though, we were never really told who these “many critics” are. We were just told that “many critics” had this racial reaction.

Alas! In this rather slippery way, Professor Joseph was working from a low-IQ script—a script our sadly low-IQ tribe quickly adopted in response to criticisms of Selma, real and/or imagined.

Our sad tribe simply loves playing this card! When Selma didn’t receive a pair of Oscar nominations, it must have been a racial “snub,” we quickly agreed to say. When people criticized Selma’s portrait of Johnson, this had to mean that these “many critics” found the film to be “too black and too strong.”

It had to be a matter of race! Increasingly, this seems to be the only script our tribe knows how to apply.

Mind-reading nicely, Professor Joseph explained all criticism away in one fell race-based swoop. That said, it’s odd to see him making this play, because he seems to agree with critics who say that the portrait of Johnson was a bit inaccurate:
PROFESSOR JOSEPH: Selma's treatment of President Lyndon B. Johnson has sparked a controversy that could threaten the film's legacy and, in the short term, its chances for prestigious awards. As portrayed by British actor Tom Wilkinson, LBJ is a beleaguered president and is—at times—exasperated with King on the issue of voting rights. Historically, LBJ and King formed an effective political relationship on the issue, although real tensions emerged between the two men when Johnson suggested that voting legislation be pursued later, rather than earlier, in the congressional session. Johnson feared that an immediate push for the black vote would undermine his ambitions for a "Great Society." Selma's script hews close to the historical record on this point. Still, the unsympathetic portrayal of Johnson suggests a president who was an antagonist on voting rights rather than a supporter.
In that last highlighted statement, the professor seems to agree with those who have said that the “unsympathetic” portrayal of Johnson was a bit misleading. Despite this assessment, he slimes the “many critics” who have adopted a similar view, suggesting that they must have mossbacked racial motives.

Once again, who are these critics? In this passage, the professor identifies two apparent suspects:
PROFESSOR JOSEPH: The hyperbolic response from some critics includes the outrageous (and false) assertion that the Selma protests were actually Johnson's idea, and suggestions that the film's portrait of Johnson should disqualify it from awards (read Oscar) consideration.

A new line of criticism outlined in the Jewish Daily Forward argues that Selma disfigured the historical civil rights movement by "airbrushing" Jewish allies from the film. That's an argument that would carry more weight if DuVernay had focused on other moments in civil rights history, like Freedom Summer, when white and Jewish allies played a more prominent role. The events depicted in Selma were driven largely by the African-American activists portrayed in the film.
In that first paragraph, Professor Joseph is talking about Joseph Califano, the 83-year-old former Johnson aide who wrote an angry column about Selma’s portrait of his former boss in the Washington Post.

In our view, Califano’s column was hyperbolic or overwrought in points, although it was also informative. That said, does the professor claim that Califano found the film “too black and too strong?”

How could the professor know such a thing? Perhaps because he was typing from script, he felt no need to tell us.

The professor’s citation of the Jewish Daily Forward seems to lead us to the name of a second critic. Professor Joseph links to this piece by Mark Pinsky—a lengthy piece which doesn’t criticize Selma at all!

Go ahead! Read Pinksy’s long piece! Professor Joseph can type from a script—but can he read a newspaper column?

In his lengthy piece, Pinsky mentions Selma just once, very much in passing. Manifestly, he doesn’t “argue that Selma disfigured the historical civil rights movement by ‘airbrushing’ Jewish allies from the film,” nor does he argue anything like that.

But then, as a simple matter of fact, Pinsky doesn’t criticize Selma at all! He doesn’t state anything like the view Joseph puts in his mouth. The word “airbrushing” doesn’t appear in his piece. Neither does the self-involved claim Joseph attributes to him.

Is Pinsky one of the “many critics” who think the film was too black and too strong? Alas! Based on his actual column, Pinsky isn’t a critic of Selma at all! If Califano was hyperbolic (and we think he was), what word should we apply to Professor Joseph?

Alas! Our pseudo-liberal tribe is increasingly scripted and dumb. All too often, our scrub-faced professors seem to be leading the way to the dumbness.

Professor Joseph was slippery and slick in his piece for NPR—but he was playing the one card we know. Increasingly, this is the ditto-headed way our sad “liberal” tribe very much likes to function.

Still coming: Director Eastwood gets snubbed! Plus, our silly tribe’s ridiculous concept of “fiction”

Go ahead—we dare you: Go ahead! Read Professor Joseph’s account of the Pinsky piece. Then read the column itself.

It doesn’t criticize Selma at all! Our tribe just seems to get dumber each day—and we tribals just don’t seem to notice.


Supplemental: Bill Belichick isn’t a scientist!

MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2015

Other people are:
One week later, the Boston Globe has actually consulted some scientists about the ways atmospheric conditions could have affected those under-inflated footballs last weekend.

In today’s report, Felice Freyer quotes several different scientists discussing the drop in air pressure which might have resulted from weather-related causes last Sunday. This represents only one example of the scientific reasoning and/or experimentation which addresses the situation:
FREYER (1/26/15): At least one attempt to reproduce conditions on the football field seems to support the Patriots. HeadSmart Labs, a Pittsburgh research company working on preventing head injuries from sports, said that it conducted a study that found weather and field conditions alone could have lowered the pressure by as much as 1.95 psi.

“We took 12 brand-new authentic NFL footballs and exposed them to the different elements they would have experienced throughout the game,” said Thomas Healy, founder of HeadSmart Labs, in a press release. “Out of the 12 footballs we tested, we found that, on average, footballs dropped 1.8 psi when being exposed to dropping temperatures and wet conditions.”
Do considerations like these explain last Sunday’s events? We have no idea, especially since we still don’t know what the air pressure readings actually were for the footballs in question.

Concerning a widely-asked question:

If something like this happened to the Patriots’ footballs, what about the Colts’ footballs? The NFL seems to be saying that the Colts footballs stayed within the legal range all through the game in question.

We’ll only state this, an obvious point:

The Colts’ footballs may have started at 13.5 pounds of pressure, a full pound higher than the presumed legal starting-point for the Patriots’ footballs. In all such matters, of course, we still don’t know what the NFL’s actual claims even are. No report has yet been filed.

Our “journalism” runs on stampedes. This has been the latest.

As everyone surely knows by now, past stampedes have often turned out to be wrong, sometimes grievously wrong. But so what? Given our very low group IQ, this well-known fact never stops the next stampede from occurring.

As we noted this morning, we don’t know what happened here. Neither do the battalions of low-IQ “journalists” stampeding through the land.

SELMA ON OUR MINDS: Can’t process information at all!

MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 2015

Interlude—Deflated footballs meet Selma:
In the overall sweep of things, it doesn’t hugely matter if some footballs were under-inflated during that Patriots game.

As Tom Brady has flawlessly noted, it doesn’t rise to the level of a dispute about ISIS.

That said, you aren’t supposed to cheat in sports, and the NFL is our society’s biggest purveyor of sport on the professional level. In part for that reason, our journalists sprang into action last week, pretending to discuss the affair they agreed to call “Deflategate.”

Did the New England Patriots do something wrong? So far, we can’t tell you that.

We can tell you what our “journalists” have done. Once again, in a fairly remarkable way, they have demonstrated their Complete and Total Inability to Process Information in Any Way At All.

It’s not unlike the way we liberals have responded to the recent flaps about the feature film Selma. We’ll return to that topic tomorrow, starting with the heinous way director Clint Eastwood got “snubbed” in the Oscar race.

For today, why do we say that our “journalists” have demonstrated a Complete and Total Inability to Process Information in their discussions of the NFL flap? Consider William Rhoden’s column in today’s New York Times.

Rhoden is a veteran New York Times columnist. Near the start of this morning’s column, he demonstrates the Complete and Total Inability to which we’ve twice referred:
RHODEN (1/26/15): At issue are the game balls the Patriots provided for last Sunday’s A.F.C. championship game; 11 of the 12 balls, which by rule are inspected and verified by the referee before kickoff, were later mysteriously underinflated by about 2 pounds per square inch, according to an ESPN report on the N.F.L.’s investigation.
Rhoden’s presentation is technically accurate. There actually was “an ESPN report” of the sort he describes.

The report appeared last Wednesday, written by Chris Mortenson. This is the way it began:
MORTENSON (1/21/15): The NFL has found that 11 of the New England Patriots' 12 game balls were inflated significantly below the NFL's requirements, league sources involved and familiar with the investigation of Sunday's AFC Championship Game told ESPN.

The investigation found the footballs were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations during the Pats' 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.

"We are not commenting at this time," said Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of communications.
That report has formed the basis for the way this incident has been discussed by the nation’s legion of “journalists.” It forms the basis for Rhoden’s account of the degree of under-inflation allegedly found in the dozen balls.

That said, do you notice anything about Mortenson’s report? We’ll try to spell it out so slowly that even our “journalists” will be able to follow:

Uh-oh! The inflation data Mortenson cited came from unnamed “sources!” On the record, the NFL was offering no official account of the (alleged) facts.

According to Mortenson, the official NFL spokesman was offering no data about the degree of inflation. And that situation still obtains today, though you’d never know it from reading the work of the nation's stampeding “journalists.”

Eleven footballs “were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations!” Our “journalists” have taken this somewhat murky statement to mean that the footballs were inflated to 10.5 pounds per square inch, not to 12.5 pounds per square inch, the minimum level permitted by NFL rules.

Is that a factual statement about the degree of under-inflation? Has the NFL even made that claim?

So far, no! So far, the NFL has made no claim about the degree of inflation. The NFL has issued no report about the degree to which it says the footballs were inflated.

It isn’t that we don’t know the facts. At this point, we don’t even know what is being alleged! But so what? For the past five days, our “journalists” have been repeating Mortenson’s somewhat murky claim, which came from anonymous “sources.”

What’s wrong with that group behavior? Duh! If you’ve been living on this planet over the past many years, you know that such initial, anonymous claims can often turn out to be wrong!

All too plainly, Rhoden and his many colleagues have been living off-planet. It has occurred to almost none of these people that they don’t have the most elementary facts about the degree of inflation—more precisely, that they don’t even have the most basic allegations!

When the NFL finally makes its report, what inflation levels will that report describe? Like Rhoden and his many colleagues, we have no way of knowing.

It’s possible that the NFL will report that eleven of the footballs were inflated to 10.5 pounds per square inch—“2 pounds per square inch below what's required by NFL regulations,” to quote Mortenson’s somewhat imprecise language.

The NFL may say that! But it’s possible that the alleged degree of under-inflation won’t rise to that level. To cite one possibility (out of many), it may turn out that the NFL reports that the various footballs were variously measured at roughly 11.5 pounds per square inch.

For reasons many folk can discern, that would be a significantly different story that the one our “journalists” have been reciting, based on a somewhat murky account from an anonymous source.

Let's be clear. We don’t know what the NFL will end up reporting. But neither do the dozens of “journalists” who have stampeded in the past week, repeating Mortenson’s account.

We do know this:

In matters of this type, initial reports will often turn out to be wrong. We also know that ESPN isn’t a hugely reliable org in matters of this type—in matters which aren’t directly sports-related.

In the past week, our “journalists” have stampeded off with their latest Group Story. Sadly, that is precisely the way we liberals have worked as we've pretended to discuss a pair of flaps concerning the feature film Selma.

Did Selma offer an accurate portrait of Lyndon Johnson? Did Selma get snubbed, for racial reasons, in last week’s Oscar nominations?

Alas! As we have discussed these questions, we have picked and chosen our facts in the dumbest possible ways. But increasingly, that’s the way we liberals behave.

We pick and choose and disappear facts in sadly embarrassing ways. And everything must be a racial offense. We seem to know no other plays!

We don’t think this is a good way for progressives to proceed—but plainly, it’s who we currently are.

At one time, we liberals laughed at the ditto-heads. Today, the ditto-heads, and the public dissemblers, increasingly seem to be us.

Tomorrow: Clint Eastwood, snubbed

Speaking even more slowly: Did someone on the Patriots cheat?

That’s certainly possible! At this point, we don’t know one way or the other.

What were the inflation levels of the footballs in question?

We’re eager to see the NFL’s official account. So far, no one even knows what the NFL will allege!

Despite this fact, a week-long stampede has occurred. A somewhat murky anonymous claim has endlessly been repeated as fact.

Within our modern American “press corps,” it seems it will ever be thus. This system has served us very poorly over the past forty years.

What President Johnson and Dr. King said!

FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2015

Everybody can serve:
We’re driving to Durham today to attend a school-wide spelling bee.

We know a third-grader who’s still in the hunt. She has a superb disposition, and she’s third-grade champ to boot.

On Wednesday, we decided to look at President Johnson’s now-famous speech in support of The Voting Rights Act. For its full text, click here.

Johnson wasn’t a good public speaker. That said, we were struck by an autobiographical chunk of the speech which came right near its end:
JOHNSON (3/15/65): People cannot contribute to the nation if they are never taught to read or write, if their bodies are stunted from hunger, if their sickness goes untended, if their life is spent in hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check.

So we want to open the gates to opportunity. But we are also going to give all our people, black and white, the help that they need to walk through those gates.

My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English, and I couldn't speak much Spanish.

My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast, hungry. They knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them. But they knew it was so, because I saw it in their eyes.

I often walked home late in the afternoon, after the classes were finished, wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that it might help them against the hardships that lay ahead.

Somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.

I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me, in my fondest dreams, that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students and to help people like them all over this country.

But now I do have that chance, and I'll let you in on a secret:

I mean to use it.
“I mean to use it!”

To watch Johnson's speech, just click here. The segment about Cotulla starts at 37:15.

What was Johnson “really like?” We have no idea. But that’s about as good a chunk of a speech as we’ve seen or heard.

Three years later, Dr. King spoke to a somewhat similar situation.

Dr. King worked among many people who hadn’t been given the opportunities which were standard elsewhere in his society. But he knew a deeper secret about the “average” people who powered the morally brilliant movement he helped lead.

No one ever served more than Dr. King did. To our ear, this is one of the most insightful things he ever said:
KING (2/4/68): Everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve.

You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.

You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.
Dr. King was big on dispensing with hate. Did Lyndon Johnson serve?