Friday, December 12, 2014

The Mormon Advantage | National Review Online

The Mormon Advantage | National Review Online: "Thomas were trying to learn from the LDS experience how a countercultural minority can thrive and grow in order to learn lessons for counterinsurgency nation-building. Among their conclusions: Mormons do not convert by preaching. They do help ensure uniformity in what their church teaches by centralizing curriculum and materials, but these materials are used mostly to “preach to the converted.” Instead they focus on building social bonds, inviting the former stranger into a network of ever-growing belonging, before broaching theology or ideology. Preach incessantly to those in your pews, but reach out with love, affection, Boy Scouts, and practical help to the unconverted. It sounds a lot like the way the Catholic Church used to evangelize."



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The Mormon Advantage | National Review Online

The Mormon Advantage | National Review Online: "More than any other group in America, and despite very large theological differences with orthodox Protestants or Catholics (Mormons are not Trinitarians, to name just one basic belief), the LDS church is far more effectively passing on classic Christian cultural beliefs, attitudes, and practices about marriage."



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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Concha: Lena Dunham’s Republican-Raped-Me Story Crumbles as Legal Action Looms | Mediaite

Concha: Lena Dunham’s Republican-Raped-Me Story Crumbles as Legal Action Looms | Mediaite: "Campus rape has been, and continues to be, a serious problem in this country despite some relatively good news from the Department of Justice on the number incidents apparently being on the decline (down 58 percent between 1995 and 2010 – the most updated numbers available). Still, that doesn’t include the many incidents that go unreported. "



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I see a problem with the conclusion:"Still, that doesn't include the many incidents that go unreported." Do you see it?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

No Indictment for NYPD Officer in Chokehold Death | National Review Online

No Indictment for NYPD Officer in Chokehold Death | National Review Online: "A Staten Island grand jury decided against the criminal indictment of NYPD police officer for the death of Eric Garner, a black man killed after being put in a choke hold by police in July."



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Finally we have a legitimate case of police abuse, although there's some video missing of what exactly led up to the chock-hold.



Part of what makes this so tragic is the underlying crime was small and petty. Additionally, for the crime, the enforcement was excessive. Why not just send the guy a ticket in the mail?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Darren Wilson Got a Private Trial Run by Friendly Prosecutors - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Darren Wilson Got a Private Trial Run by Friendly Prosecutors - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "McCulloch clearly thought an elaborate grand jury process, coupled with public release of all the evidence presented to the jurors, would help keep the peace and mollify critics who feared that Wilson would get away with murder. But a real trial, even one ending in acquittal, would have been much more effective at achieving those goals. A public airing of the evidence, with ample opportunity for advocates on both sides to present and probe it, is what Brown's family has been demanding all along. McCulloch took extraordinary steps to deny them that trial, thereby reinforcing the impression that the legal system is rigged against young black men and in favor of the white cops who shoot them."



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Would a trial really have mollified critics? is that what happened when George Zimmerman was acquitted--everyone just decided that Zimmerman actually acted in self defense and was mollified?


Brand Unawareness | National Review Online

Brand Unawareness | National Review Online: "Who wants to be Billy Joel when you can be Sting or Elvis Costello? Barbra Streisand, annoyed that President Clinton was neglecting her while lavishing attention on Sharon Stone, once complained: “She doesn’t know anything about policy.” Those were innocent times."



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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gruber video sleuth: 'This is not about me' - Lucy McCalmont - POLITICO

Gruber video sleuth: 'This is not about me' - Lucy McCalmont - POLITICO: "But Weinstein says the hard part was getting the media to pay attention.



“It was so frustrating,” Weinstein, who was reached at a gas station, told Fox News’ Howie Kurtz in an interview published Thursday. “I tried really hard to give this to the media. I had this and couldn’t get it to anybody that knows what to do with it.”"



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Report: White House secretly counted dental plans in Obamacare enrollment numbers - Vox

Report: White House secretly counted dental plans in Obamacare enrollment numbers - Vox: "Obama administration has included enrollment in dental plans in its most recent sign-up figures, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Health and Human Services says that about 380,000 dental plans were "erroneously" counted in the September estimate that 7.3 million people had signed up for private coverage.
The White House has set a goal of enrolling 9.1 million people through the exchanges in 2015."



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Monday, November 17, 2014

“Why didn’t the Church teach me this stuff?”

“Why didn’t the Church teach me this stuff?”: "I’ve not been overly patient when newly-minted apostates complain that the Church hasn’t taught them about Joseph Smith practicing polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, accounts of the First Vision beyond the one canonized in the Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith’s using a stone in a hat during the translation of the Book of Mormon, and so forth.

First of all, many of these things have been taught by the Church.  The four items above, for example, are, respectively, (1) obviously implicit in Doctrine and Covenants 132 (what on earth is it talking about in the early 1830s, if not plural marriage?), (2) discussed in Seminary and Institute manuals, (3) published in Church magazines and in books printed and distributed by the Church’s wholly-owned publishing company, and (4) mentioned in at least one General Conference talk that I can think of just off the top of my head.

I don’t fault people for not being scholars.  I’ve publicly lamented the fact that the Saints by and large don’t know their scriptures and their history better than they do, but I know and readily admit that many such members of the Church are far better Saints and disciples of Christ than I am.  What I object to, though, is when certain people loudly abandon their faith, claiming that the Church kept such things from them.  This simply isn’t true."

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I like Dan Peterson's blog. I find interesting information there. He is insightful. We mostly agree on politics. But on this issue,  I just think he is totally wrong. I endorse Bill Reel's comments in this thread.

The church obscured a number of topics from the view of the average church member, including Fannie Alger, the secret practice of polygamy, polyandry, peep stones, and treasure seeking. As Reel says, you could learn about these topics, but not in any official church publication. The church was happy for church members not to learn about them. Not only that, but church members were generally warded off critical sources exploring these topics as anti-Mormon literature analogous to "spiritual pornography." Of course there are faithful members who write on these topics, too, but it is very unlikely you would ever come across the information without a church critic introducing you to the topic.

I wouldn't say the failure to deal with these issues is a "lie," but it's certainly misleading. In the legal profession, the model rules of professional conduct prohibit applicants not only from lying, but also from "fail[ing] to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension. . ." The Gospel Principles manual uses a similar definition.

The church has been failing to disclose a number of facts necessary to correct misapprehension on the part of members. I suspect this happens in part because people in the church may not be aware of the real history, although, certainly there are historians creating church curriculum who have decided to include all the faith-promoting stories and skip all of the troubling ones.

I think another reason we skip certain topics is we just don't have good answers to the questions.

I'm glad about recent church efforts to deal with these topics openly--although honestly, I think the internet and social media have forced the issue.  Members that feel like they were deceived because they didn't know about these topics earlier are justified in their feelings. Telling all the faith-promoting parts of church history and skipping all the parts that detract from that story is not being totally honest. Even a lawyer could tell you that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tullock Insults

Tullock Insults: "Call me a masochist but one of the great pleasures of being at George Mason is that I am regularly insulted by Gordon Tullock.  You have to understand, however, that in my profession not to have been insulted by Gordon is to be a nobody.   



In anycase, here is one from yesterday.



"Gordon," I asked, "do you think we should ban child labor?"  "No, keep working.""



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Monday, November 10, 2014

Polyamory Is Boring | Slate Star Codex

Polyamory Is Boring | Slate Star Codex: "The plural of anecdote is not “data”. But the singular of anecdote is “enough data to disprove a universal negative claim”. So I will just say that Alicorn and Mike are probably the best couple I have ever seen. I have lived with them for seven months now and never once have I seen them get in a fight (I know there is way more to being a couple than not fighting but I’m trying to think of objective numerical evidence I can report here beyond “if you know them, you know what I mean”). They both seem to love and appreciate each other just as much if not more as they did when I first met them. They both go way out of their way to make the other happy, and although part of this is just that they’re both very nice people who go out of their way to make everybody happy, I think there’s got to be some love involved there too. They are engaged, working on the “getting married” thing, and have every intention of having lots of children and staying together for at least one lifetime.



 And all this despite Mike having two other girlfriends and Alicorn having three other boyfriends including one who lives with her. I can’t even get angry with people who say polyamory is incompatible with true love. They’re just empirically wrong, like someone who remarks confidently that hippos have six legs. They’re not evil or even deluded. They just obviously haven’t seen any hippos. You don’t really want to argue with them so much as take them to a zoo, after which you are confident they will realize their mistake."



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Mormons can breath a sigh of relief.

Attkisson: CBS Kept Obama Benghazi Clip Secret to Help Re-Election

Attkisson: CBS Kept Obama Benghazi Clip Secret to Help Re-Election: "The "Evening News" executives had access to the complete transcript the day "60 Minutes" sent it over, said Attkisson, citing emails she says she has seen.


 "They, in my view, skipped over it, passed it up, kept it secret throughout the whole time when it would have been relevant to the news," she said. "And I think that was because they were trying to defend the president and they thought that would be harmful to him.""


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Nice to hear an insider say this, although it was obvious to me what they were doing at the time. (see bullet point two from last election cycle, here.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Harry, We Knew Ye Too Damn Well [Further Updated] | Power Line

Harry, We Knew Ye Too Damn Well [Further Updated] | Power Line: "UPDATED: Is Harry Reid the least gracious man ever to hold public office? He is certainly a contender. In the midst of last night’s wreckage (from his perspective), Reid found a silver lining:

“The fact that we got our butts kicked up and down the block only makes it *more* hilarious that Scott Brown lost,” Adam Jentleson, Mr. Reid’s spokesman, said in a post at 1:59 a.m. 
 What a jerk."



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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Most Stunning News Story of 2014 | Power Line

The Most Stunning News Story of 2014 | Power Line: "If the Obama administration hacked into a reporter’s computers, used them to spy on her, and even prepared to frame her for a potential criminal prosecution by planting classified documents, aren’t we looking at the biggest scandal in American history? Perhaps I’m forgetting something, but I can’t come up with anything to equal the stunning lawlessness on display here–if what Attkisson says is true (which I don’t doubt), and if the administration is the guilty party."



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