Shutting Down Research

Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want serious research into his advertising targeting to be done.

Facebook is demanding that a New York University research project cease collecting data about its political-ad-targeting practices….
The dispute involves the NYU Ad Observatory, a project launched last month by the university’s engineering school that has recruited more than 6,500 volunteers to use a specially designed browser extension to collect data about the political ads Facebook shows them.

In particular,

Scraping tools, no matter how well-intentioned, are not a permissible means of collecting information from us….

Facebook says (Zuckerberg says; it’s his company, and he retains controlling interest) that it already maintains an advertisement database that contains information such as who paid for an ad, when it ran and the geographic location of people who saw it, but the company does not maintain—in that database—data concerning its targeting methods. NYU wants those targeting data, too, including data on what political ads ran in which state and political race, what ads are targeted to what audiences, and how those ads are funded.

Zuckerberg doesn’t want those usages and techniques exposed.

His bottom line: “Don’t you dare scrape the data we scrape from our users and tell the world what the data are that we scrape, how much of it we scrape, how we use it, how we charge others for the sale or use of those data.”

“We’ve Never Been Great”

The soul of the Progressive-Democratic Party is Bernie Sanders’ and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ blatant, enthusiastic socialism.  Now the Party’s heart is revealed, as well.  Here’s New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) at a bill-signing event for, ironically enough, an anti-human trafficking measure:

We’re not going to make America great again. It was never that great[.]

Of course, Cuomo has denied what he meant, but keep in mind: he’s a talented, smooth politician for whom words are stock in trade.  He knew what he was saying.

The fact is that the first time he spoke, he spoke from his heart.  He’s just speaking politically with his corrections.

Notice another aspect of his claim: Cuomo plainly does not feel like he’s a part of our great nation.  “It was never that great,” not “We were never that great.”

Remember what Progressive-Democrats believe about, and want to do to, our great nation this fall.

Responsibility and Morality

LaVar Ball on the magnitude of his son’s shoplifting crime in the People’s Republic of China:

I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses.

Son LiAngelo is a star basketball player, after all, and he only stole some shades.  So, no big deal.  Not for the privileged athlete, who chose not to check his privilege at the store’s entrance.  But for the workaday merchant or manufacturer from whom the glasses were stolen—yeah, it was a big deal.

Aside from that, though, the plain fact is, any theft is wrong. Full stop.

Or at least it should be a plain fact, but we don’t teach morality in grade school anymore, do we?  That would be an imposition of one person’s views on another, and we cannot have any of that.  We must allow moral relativism because no culture is better than another—especially is a culture that allows, if not actively condones, “petty” theft the equal of a culture that holds any theft to be wrong.

The shoplifting crime, minimalized as it is by this imitation father, is just one symptom of the lack of morality in our education system, however.

So, too, after all, is a culture that subjects women to second-class status the equal of a culture that insists that all men are created equal (the pseudo-confusion of that term “men” is itself instructive).  So, also, is a culture that says it’s OK for men in power to abuse those women who approach them for any reason (a photo with a famous person, perhaps), or those women who work for them, or those women who just happen to be nearby the equal of a culture that says such abuses are wrong and those men in power should be subject to the same laws as the rest of us—and by dint of their position of power, should be held to a higher standard.

But all of that is secondary. Of far greater importance than the failure of our education system is what the elder Ball is demonstrating: too many parents today do not make even the least effort, in the home, to teach their kids about responsibility and morality.

Because, moral relativism.

Moral Contextualizing

Moral contextualizing is the Saul Alinsky-esque technique of applying a context to behaviors in order to assess their morality—in particular, to assess the behaviors of men in the past within the context of today’s views of morality rather than the views extant at the time.

Paul Isaac had some thoughts on the matter in a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal:

The real issue is “contextualization” per se, which seems to be an aggressive technique to create false dialectics against historical straw men and to demand an implicit intellectual monopoly of the would-be contextualizers’ perspective on the defined hobbyhorse as the moral alternative, thereby defining other perspectives as both outdated and immoral.

That’s a big part of it.  Another part of the thing is the hypocrisy of the moral equivalence that these contextualizers assert in order to claim the holy superiority of their chosen, and debate-forbidden, positions.

Even Conservative News Outlets

Even putatively conservative news outlets are playing a foolish game, or are being carefully, timidly politically correct.

Here’s a Fox News headline over a piece concerning a terrorist assault in Burkina Faso Saturday:

At least 23 dead after Al Qaeda-linked militants attack upscale Burkina Faso hotel

No. These are not militants. Neither are they insurgents, as others are pleased to term such as these.

These are terrorists. These particular terrorists are Islamic terrorists. Full stop.

Republican Presidential candidates decry, rightly, President Barack Obama’s (D) refusal to name our enemy. So it is similarly wrong for our press to fear to name our enemy.

These are Islamic terrorists. And now they’re attacking an honest Muslim nation.