Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Eric Metaxas: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God - WSJ

Eric Metaxas: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God - WSJ: "As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing."

'via Blog this'

Monday, December 29, 2014

Whose Liberalism? | National Review Online

Whose Liberalism? | National Review Online: "There is a great deal of argument on the subject of capitalism that could be superseded by coming to some agreement about what we talk about when we talk about capitalism. If by “capitalism” we mean (a) what happens when a few million grocers and the mind-bendingly complex chains of production behind them compete for the custom of a few hundred million hungry Americans, that’s one thing; if by “capitalism” we mean (b) bank bailouts and General Electric’s defense-contracting division, that’s another thing. There are critics of capitalism who argue that (a) leads inevitably to (b); one need not necessarily take a position on the merits of that claim to understand that (a) and (b) are nonetheless different things, and that if we take “capitalism” to mean (b) then we need another term — “free enterprise,” “laissez-faire,” etc. — to denote (a)."

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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. "

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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.”"

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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.""

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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.""

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

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."

'via Blog this'

Removal From Polite Company: Diversity Edition «

Removal From Polite Company: Diversity Edition «: "Finally, while we are on this topic, I’d like to see the crowd of folks who consistently tell us to “celebrate diversity” to put out an ad-campaign (preferably pasted in colorful posters on the inside of toilet stalls, which seems to be a favorite way of propogandizing on college campuses these days) that contains the message, “Celebrate Republican Ideas!” or “Celebrate Coal and Oil and the Amazing People Who Deliver that to You!” Surely, if we want to celebrate “diversity” these would be minority affiliations and surely there are useful and valuable human beings in those groups, right?"

'via Blog this'

The Stubborn Facts in Ferguson | National Review Online

The Stubborn Facts in Ferguson | National Review Online: "This should not come as a surprise to anyone who followed the antecedents to Michael Brown’s case: the matter of Travon Martin and George Zimmerman, and that of the Duke lacrosse team and their ill-fated run-in with a “dancer.” In each of these, the initial story, so arduously peddled by the media, was one of an unfortunate, law-abiding black person suffering at the hands of racist whites. But, as the saying goes, facts are stubborn things, and in each of these cases the facts refused to buttress the preferred storyline. Trayvon Martin was proved to be the aggressor in his fatal encounter with George Zimmerman; and Crystal Mangum, the woman at the center of the Duke lacrosse case, was proved to be a liar. And while the Duke case occupied so much of the media’s attention in 2006 and 2007, how many people know that today Mangum sits in a North Carolina prison after being convicted last year of second-degree murder?"

'via Blog this'

Friday, October 24, 2014

I'm 90 Percent American and 10 Percent Canadian, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

I'm 90 Percent American and 10 Percent Canadian, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty: "I know that among many of my libertarian friends, it's not "cool" to have any nationalism or even any patriotism in you. But one of the hardest lessons I learned early in life was not to disown my feelings. Under the influence of Ayn Rand's weird ideas about love, I told my brother that I didn't love him, in the last real conversation I had with him before he committed suicide. Of course, I did love him, but I had adopted Rand's and Nathaniel Branden's idea that you couldn't love someone who didn't share your philosophical views. And, boy, did my brother ever not share my philosophical views.

 So, even if it's not cool and even if get criticized for, gasp, celebrating as a hero a government worker who was, gasp, protecting other government workers, I won't disown that feeling."

'via Blog this'

2014 Supreme Court Roundup by Michael Stokes Paulsen | Articles | First Things

2014 Supreme Court Roundup by Michael Stokes Paulsen | Articles | First Things: "It is a parlous state of affairs when we must depend on the Supreme Court as the bulwark of our most vital natural rights and civil liberties—freedom of religion, freedom of expression and group association, freedom of conscience, the rights to live, to work, and to raise a family. The Court has not always, or even very often, done well on this score. With distressing frequency, it has performed poorly, shortchanging rights plainly written in the Constitution and inventing illegitimate ones nowhere to be found in the text. The Court tends to bow to political pressure and blow with prevailing cultural and popular winds."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NYT Editorial Board Shakes Fist at the Heavens | National Review Online

NYT Editorial Board Shakes Fist at the Heavens | National Review Online: "Few voters know that the 2009 stimulus bill contributed heavily to the nation’s economic recovery, saving and creating 2.5 million jobs. Not a word of it is spoken on the campaign trail, where little credit is also given to the White House for months of promising economic news."

'via Blog this'

Love this. "FACT: the economy is great right now because of the stimulus."

California Orders Churches to Fund Abortion | National Review Online

California Orders Churches to Fund Abortion | National Review Online: "For those who don’t yet recognize that the progressive ideology is fundamentally hostile to religious liberty (and will tolerate religious liberty only insofar as it serves progressive goals), consider the news that California, through regulatory fiat, is now requiring churches to provide insurance coverage for elective surgical abortions. "

'via Blog this'

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gay marriage vs. religious freedom, the latest installment | Power Line

Gay marriage vs. religious freedom, the latest installment | Power Line: "The ministers operate a chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The city has an ordinance that prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation, in public accommodations. Recently, the ministers turned down a gay couple’s request to perform their marriage ceremony. They now face legal jeopardy.

It’s an indictment of the gay rights movement that these sorts of dispute arise at all. Who in his right mind would want to have his marriage ceremony presided over by someone who thinks the union is sinful? A wedding is supposed to be a joyful occasion, not an opportunity to punish one’s ideological opponents.

 The Jewish community faces essentially the same pseudo-civil rights issue all the time. Many rabbis won’t preside over a ceremony that weds a Jew to a non-Jew. How do Jews respond? Not through legal proceedings. They respond the same way my daughter did when she married a non-Jew — by finding a rabbi who will perform the ceremony."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Science, Science, SCIENCE!

In this country, we don't get that all decisions present trade-offs, and we especially don't get it when it comes to decisions about raising children. If there's something you can do that will give your child even a slight better chance of being safe or successful, you're supposed to do it, no matter the cost.

Our obsession with child seats is one example. When I was growing up, I'm pretty sure it was still okay for kids to ride in the back of a pickup truck. Now It's absolutely unacceptable to take your kids in the car without the exact right weight-rated seat for your child, installed by a certified expert.  A few years ago, I scandalized my co-workers by telling them I took my then 5-year old to school buckled in, but without a booster seat. This was wildly dangerous. Never mind, that the school was less than a mile away and the speed limit was never more than 35 mph. Am I really supposed to believe that I'm being reckless by taking this tiny risk? Am I supposed to believe that my kid is really in significantly more peril if he gets into a 25 mph crash with no booster seat than he would be in  a 70 mph crash with a booster seat?

Our cult-like belief that good mothers must breastfeeding in particular bad in this regard.  My wife felt particularly guilty for not being able to breastfeed our kids without supplementing them with formula. Then we had twins. After a couple of sleepless days because our crying babies were not getting enough food, she broke down in tears in the lactation nurse's office. (Yes, we have nurses who specialize in teaching breastfeeding to a mother of four, in Oregon anyway.) To preserve our sanity, we started supplementing their diets with formula almost immediately, and really it got to the point before too long where they just refused breast milk so we gave up.

As I said she felt guilty about it, but I didn't because I was pretty sure it didn't matter. Yes I know there are studies that show breastfeeding leads to better outcomes for children. And you know what? I haven't even bothered to read any of the studies! So I must be anti-science. I just figured, it was pretty unlikely that my otherwise healthy, well-fed children with a fixed set of DNA and the same environment they would otherwise have, were really going to turn out much different based upon whether they were breastfed. And it also just seemed to me that breastfeeding is probably highly correlated with a number of other factors that could be driving the result, unrelated to whether the children were actually getting better nutrition from breastfeeding. Whether a mom stays at home, the father's ability to earn an income that allows the mother to stay at home, and the physical health of the mother to be able to breastfeed are all variables that could be driving this correlation. It just seems to me that is was very unlikely those studies had actually isolated the effect of breast milk.

On top of all that, I'm generally pretty skeptical of our ability to suss out the effect of one variable on outcomes that are the result of multiple causes, especially when we are not performing controlled experiments, but instead performing regression analysis. Who knows what "outliers" were thrown away, or how many regressions were performed before the "scientist" got the results that showed statistical significance.

So I was glad to see this article confirms some of the skepticism I've long had about the benefits of breastfeeding. Turn out when you do the study comparing kids from the same families, there is no difference between kids that are breastfed and those that weren't, other than the ones that are breastfed seem to have a higher rate of asthma. Take that, you uppity soccer moms who claim the mantle of science because your friend read some Yahoo! article saying breastfeeding is better than formula. Science is on my side now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What It’s Like to Carry Your Nobel Prize through Airport Security | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

What It’s Like to Carry Your Nobel Prize through Airport Security | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network:

"“They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’

I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’

They said, ‘What’s in the box?’

I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.

So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’

I said, ‘gold.’
And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh.

Who gave this to you?’
‘The King of Sweden.’
‘Why did he give this to you?’

Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.’

At which point, they were beginning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main question was, ‘Why were you in Fargo?’”"

'via Blog this'

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Plague of Memoirs | National Review Online

A Plague of Memoirs | National Review Online: "The lowest forms of literature are, in descending order: pornography, the staff recommendations at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble, diet/fitness books, celebrity cookbooks, books of poetry written by pop stars, and, at the bottom of this unsavory slag heap, political memoirs, which have all of the narrative sophistication of pornography with none of the enjoyable bits."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Perils of Being Neil deGrasse Tyson | National Review Online

The Perils of Being Neil deGrasse Tyson | National Review Online: "That the final suggestion was illustrated with a link to a fan post on Reddit is almost too perfect for words. As for “taking notes for my next book with quill and fountain pens by candlelight,” this strikes me as a level of self-indulgence that even Ron Burgundy would have considered unseemly."

'via Blog this'

Neil deGrasse Tyson's flaw is a self-indulgence, perfect for lampooning. My flaw is enjoying the spectacle a little too much.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9 Absurd Edit Justifications By Wikipedia's Neil Tyson Truthers

9 Absurd Edit Justifications By Wikipedia's Neil Tyson Truthers: "What’s the difference between Jesus Christ and a Neil deGrasse Tyson quote? For starters, we have historical evidence that Jesus Christ existed."

'via Blog this'

Another Day, Another Quote Fabricated By Neil deGrasse Tyson

Another Day, Another Quote Fabricated By Neil deGrasse Tyson: "“I’m beginning to think this Neil deGrasse Tyson fellow is a serial fabricator of quotes.” — President Thomas Jefferson, “Stuff Jefferson Said: The Prequel,” Originally self-published at Amazon.com in 1573"

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yale Needs Remedial English | National Review Online

Yale Needs Remedial English | National Review Online: "Not to belabor the obvious but always-worth-reiterating point: If Dick Cheney had deployed a defamatory ethnic stereotype in the course of denouncing some political enemies, the media’s pound of flesh would have been extracted with a degree of giddiness and brutality not seen since Trent Lott had the bad sense to say something nice about some decrepit old Dixiecrat coot on the occasion of his 100th birthday. One suspects that the exquisitely sensitive ladies and gentlemen of the Times would be rather less baffled, too."

'via Blog this'

Obama’s Reluctant Rush to War | National Review Online

Obama’s Reluctant Rush to War | National Review Online: "We are through the looking glass when it is okay to say that opposition to requiring elderly nuns to pay for birth control is part of a “war on women” but airstrikes and coordinated ground attacks by allied militias aren’t like a “war” on terrorists."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MTV Uncovers Incredible, Inexplicable 'Paradox' | National Review Online

MTV Uncovers Incredible, Inexplicable 'Paradox' | National Review Online: "A survey conducted by MTV asked 3,000 Millennials ages 14 to 24 their thoughts on race-related issues, including affirmative action for college acceptance, in May. And what it found was seemingly paradoxical: 90 percent of Millennials surveyed “believe that everyone should be treated the same regardless of race,” yet 88 percent opposed affirmative action."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Raise the Minimum Wage, Raise it Now «

Raise the Minimum Wage, Raise it Now «: "When I first started writing here at TUW in earnest nearly a decade ago, I actually used to spend time writing up the very simple economic arguments, rooted in price theory and the empirical literature, regarding the minimum wage and many other proposed policies. There was once a time that I persuaded myself that a good dose of pure logic was enough to “win” an argument. Certainly a lot has changed. I don’t try to “win” arguments anymore – I probably spend a lot of energy just evading them now."

'via Blog this'

Ian Paisley, R.I.P. | National Review Online

Ian Paisley, R.I.P. | National Review Online: "I suppose that Paisley will have to spend a fair tranche of eternity in Purgatory for his sins. As we have established, however, he would say exactly the same about me."

'via Blog this'

Friday, September 5, 2014

REVIEW: ‘Mr. Go,’ The Korean Movie About A Home-Run-Hitting Gorilla

REVIEW: ‘Mr. Go,’ The Korean Movie About A Home-Run-Hitting Gorilla: "Are gorillas even allowed to play professional baseball?

Excellent question. The answer is yes, apparently, as we find out during some sort of sports roundtable show that starts with the host saying “It doesn’t say anywhere that a baseball team has to be made up of nine humans” and features the agent saying “Man is his own worst enemy. A trained animal is much safer than an irrational man.”


'via Blog this'

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Vladimir Putin’s Hitlerian Mind | National Review Online

Vladimir Putin’s Hitlerian Mind | National Review Online: "On the evening of August 31, 1939, Nazi SS personnel pretending to be Polish partisans seized the station, which was about four miles inside Germany (Gliwice is now in Poland), proclaiming that Poland was invading Germany to achieve “our just [territorial] claims,” and shot a German prisoner dressed in a stolen Polish uniform, giving Hitler his pretext for declaring war the next day."

'via Blog this'

Vladimir Putin’s Hitlerian Mind | National Review Online

Vladimir Putin’s Hitlerian Mind | National Review Online: "The Islamic State is a nasty problem that can be remedied if its neighbors, assisted by the United States, decide to do so. Vladimir Putin’s fascist revival is a crisis that tests the West’s capacity to decide.

Putin’s serial amputations of portions of Ukraine, which began with his fait accompli in Crimea, will proceed, and succeed, until his appetite is satiated. Then the real danger will begin."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Domestic Policy Archives - If You're Paying, I'll Have Top Sirloin by Russell Roberts

Domestic Policy Archives - If You're Paying, I'll Have Top Sirloin by Russell Roberts: "I left her alone, but I wanted to say, no it doesn't even out. If it "evened out" for everybody, then government spending would really be depressing: all that money shuffled around, all those people working at the IRS, all those marginal tax rates discouraging work effort just to get everybody to get the same deal."

'via Blog this'

Friday, August 29, 2014

Althouse: The President of the United States in a light-colored suit.

Althouse: The President of the United States in a light-colored suit.: "And it should be noted that President William H. Taft (1909-1913) tried to get the White House air conditioned with a system of "electric fans [that] blew over great bins of ice in the attic, cooling the air, which was forced through the air ducts of the heating system." Like many presidential projects, it didn't work."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Althouse: "It is emphatically the province and duty of pop culture icons to say what the law is."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How To Shrink Your Church In One Easy Step

How To Shrink Your Church In One Easy Step: "But a number of Christian denominations have already taken significant steps towards liberalizing their stances on homosexuality and marriage, and the evidence so far seems to indicate that affirming homosexuality is hardly a cure for membership woes. On the contrary, every major American church that has taken steps towards liberalization of sexual issues has seen a steep decline in membership."

'via Blog this'

David Gregory Wasn’t the Real Problem with NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ | Variety

David Gregory Wasn’t the Real Problem with NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ | Variety: "Even Gregory’s harshest critics should have some sympathy for the guy. He had some bumps in the road but for the most part proved himself just as tough an interviewer as his peerless predecessor, Tim Russert. Perhaps Russert was really the problem here: When a legend casts a shadow that long, no one underneath it really has a shot at shining through.


'via Blog this'

I don't think this is true. The problem was Gregory didn't have bona fides with conservatives. Although Russert was liberal, conservatives trusted him to ask tough questions from their perspective. Also he was a jolly fellow. In contrast,  I will always remember David Gregory as the guy in the White House press room whining about how Scott McClellan wasn't really answering questions.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Judicial Watch Statement on Discovery of Backups for “Missing” Lois Lerner IRS Emails - Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch Statement on Discovery of Backups for “Missing” Lois Lerner IRS Emails - Judicial Watch: "Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe.  The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search.  The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system."

'via Blog this'


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Theory vs. Evidence

A recent comment on this thread:

I wonder how we ever come to any sort of real knowledge about whether the police systematically get away with abuse, when each case is so fact dependent.
Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton (I assume that most the people in the media) certainly have an incentive to find legitimate black victims of unjustified police brutality. And yet it seems like more often than not, they pick losers. Maybe my memory is selective, but the biggest examples I can think of are Tawana Brawley, Rodney King, Treyvon Martin (Police-like violence) and now Michael Brown. Of these,  only the Rodney King beating was truly unjustified. Tawana Brawley rapes didn't happen. Zimmerman shot Martin in self defense. We don't know the facts yet on Brown, but it's looking like he was shot in self-defense, too.
I'm prepared to believe that police are regularly abusing their authority. But if it happens so regularly, why can't Sharpton et al find a better class of martyr?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Should This Depress or Inspire a Current or Future Economics Instructor? «

Should This Depress or Inspire a Current or Future Economics Instructor? «: "The serious fact is that the bulk of the really important things that economics has to teach are things that people would see for themselves if they were willing to see.  And it is hard to believe in the utility of trying to teach what men refuse to learn or even seriously listen to.  What point is there in propagating sound economic principles if the electorate is set to have the country run on the principle that the objective in trade is to get rid of as much as possible and get as little as possible in return, if they will not see that imports are either paid for by exports, as a method of purchasing the imported goods more efficiently, or else are received for nothing, or if they hold that economy consists in having as many workers as possible assigned to a given task instead of the fewest who are able to perform it?  Of late I have a new and depressing example of popular economic thinking, in the policy of arbitrary price-fixing.  Can there be any use in explaining, if it is needful to explain, that fixing a price below the free-market level will create a shortage and one above it a surplus?  But the public oh’s and ah’s and yips and yaps at the shortage of residential housing and surpluses of eggs and potatoes as if these things presented problems any more than getting one’s footgear soiled by deliberately walking in the mud.  And let me observe that rent freezing, for example, occurs not at all merely because tenants have more votes than landlords.  It reflects a state of mind, a mode of reasoning, even more discouraging than blindness through self-interest."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Corner | National Review Online

The Corner | National Review Online: "I wrote a piece four years ago called “Hail to the Golfer-in-Chief.” As the title suggests, I defended Obama against his critics: against those who knock him for his golf habit. I think playing golf is usually just about the most innocent thing Obama could be doing.

 George W. Bush loved golf. But he stopped playing altogether in August 2003 (for the duration of his presidency — which went until January 2009). He did not announce he was doing so. He just did. Years later, he explained, “I didn’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf.”"

'via Blog this'

Unicorn Governance : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education

Unicorn Governance : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education: "Our problem is that we have to fight unicorns.

Unicorns, of course, are fabulous horse-like creatures with a large spiraling horn on their forehead. They eat rainbows, but can go without eating for years if necessary. They can carry enormous amounts of cargo without tiring. And their flatulence smells like pure, fresh strawberries, which makes riding behind them in a wagon a pleasure.

For all these reasons, unicorns are essentially the ideal pack animal, the key to improving human society and sharing prosperity.

Now, you want to object that there is a flaw in the above argument, because unicorns do not actually exist. This would clearly be a fatal flaw for the claim that unicorns are useful, if it were true. Is it?

Of course not. The existence of unicorns is easily proven. Close your eyes. Now envision a unicorn. The one I see is white, with an orange-colored horn. The unicorn is surrounded by rainbows (perhaps it’s time for lunch). Your vision may look slightly different, but there is no question that when I say "unicorn," the picture in your mind corresponds fairly closely to the picture in my mind. So, unicorns do exist and we have a shared conception of what they are."

'via Blog this'

Our higher education system fails leftist students. | The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy

Our higher education system fails leftist students. | The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy: "Suppose I claim that rent control is a primary reason why there is such a shortage of affordable housing in New York and San Francisco. Here are the responses I have gotten from students:

 1.  Micro-aggression!

 2.  Check your privilege! (If they had a mic, they'd drop it, because this is supposed to be so devastating).

 3.  You must take money from the Koch Foundation.

 4.  Economists don't understand the real world.

 5.  Prices don't measure values. Values are about people. You don't care about people. 

 Not one of those responses actually responds to, or even tries to understand, the argument that rent controls harm the populations that politicians claim they want to help.   

The point is that if you cared about poor people, actually cared about consequences for poor people, you would oppose rent controls. But that's not how the logic of the left works. Instead of caring about the poor, they want to be seen as caring about the poor."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Abandoned War | National Review Online

The Abandoned War | National Review Online: "A video produced by his 2012 presidential campaign was titled “Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept.” In December 2011 his website said: “This month, President Obama is making good on his promise to bring the last American troops home from Iraq in time for the holidays.” The president portrayed the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops as testimony to his exemplary political character. “You know I say what I mean and I mean what I say,” he told crowds during his reelection campaign. “I said I’d end the war in Iraq. I ended it.”


 That’s as definitive a statement of responsibility as you get. But now that the president has “restarted” the war in Iraq — with limited air strikes against the terrorist group ISIS, which has thrived in the vacuum created, in part, by our total exit — he is not in such a buoyantly boastful mood."

'via Blog this'

Monday, August 11, 2014

He Never Said It Was a Bad Thing | National Review Online

He Never Said It Was a Bad Thing | National Review Online: "Joel and Andy have already covered the details on why Obama’s claim that it wasn’t his decision to pull troops from Iraq. But there’s a more basic political point to be made. For years, Obama has been bragging about bringing the troops home. Even now the political coverage routinely mentions how Obama saw this as a political asset, a kept promise etc. Has anyone ever seen video of the president at a fundraiser or a college campus or at commencement ceremony expressing the slightest regret that we couldn’t keep some troops there? Of course not. He clearly wanted to take all of the credit for it and spin it as a heroic effort. It’s only now that the downside critics warned about for years is materializing that he suddenly feels the need to explain the invisible asterisk he put on all of his statements. It reminds me of the years he spent going around telling everyone they can keep their health plan if they want. When that was exposed as a lie, he suddenly had these complex explanations for why it wasn’t. "

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

23 Things You Need To Know About Oregon Before You Move There - Movoto

23 Things You Need To Know About Oregon Before You Move There - Movoto: "Oregon residents are happy residents. There’s no sales tax, you can stay in your toasty-warm car in January when refilling your tank, the people are friendly, the culture is unique and thriving, and everyone pretty much agrees to the philosophy of live and let live. So, if you’re making the move along the Oregon Trail, you can rest assured that you’ll more than likely never want to pack up your wagon again."

'via Blog this'

Eh, there are lots of great things about Oregon. The philosophy of live and let live is not one of them.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Progressive with a Punch | National Review Online

A Progressive with a Punch | National Review Online: "Sherrod Brown won’t be considered because the Democratic party’s activist core is incurably devoted to identity politics — the proposition that people are whatever their gender is (or their race or ethnicity or sexual orientation or whatever seems stupendously important at the moment). And the party’s base seems determined to nominate and elect a woman, thereby proving that what has occurred in Britain, Germany, Israel, India, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and other nations can happen here. Feel the excitement."

'via Blog this'

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Paul Krugman: Stop Calling People Names

Paul Krugman: Stop Calling People Names: "In today’s NY Times, Paul wrote:

“One of the best insults I’ve ever read came from Ezra Klein, who now is editor in chief of Vox.com. In 2007, he described Dick Armey, the former House majority leader, as “a stupid person’s idea of what a thoughtful person sounds like.” It’s a funny line, which applies to quite a few public figures. Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is a prime current example.”

 I’m sorry, but Paul Ryan is not stupid, and Paul Ryan does not deserve to be called stupid. Anyone who spent 5 minutes talking to Paul Ryan would understand that this is a man of exceptional intelligence, extensive knowledge, unquestioned integrity, and deep concern for the wellbeing of all Americans. I’m very proud to call Paul Ryan my friend even though we don’t agree on everything and even though I voted for President Obama twice."

'via Blog this'

Friday, August 1, 2014

Yes, Atheism and Conservatism Are Compatible | National Review Online

Yes, Atheism and Conservatism Are Compatible | National Review Online: "A great deal of the friction between atheists and conservatives seems to derive from a reasonable question. “If you don’t consider that human beings are entitled to ‘God given’ liberties,” I am often asked, “don’t you believe that the unalienable rights that you spend your days defending are merely the product of ancient legal accidents or of the one-time whims of transient majorities?” Well, no, not really. As far as I can see, the American settlement can thrive perfectly well within my worldview. God or no God, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are all built upon centuries of English law, human experience, and British and European philosophy, and the natural-law case for them stands nicely on its own. "

'via Blog this'

Interesting article. But ultimately, I think this is wrong. You can make an argument from evidence that a certain result will follow from certain policies, but you cannot make an argument that those outcomes are right or wrong without a philosophical prism to interpret them.

If we share the same premises, we can debate what that philosophy should be. But we can only reason together if we share the same premises. And ultimately, premises cannot be derived, they just have to be believed in. There's no reason to believe that one premise is right and another wrong unless there is a divine authority to reveal the truth of the matter. Otherwise it's just a contest between likes. It's like debating whether chocolate is better than vanilla

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Smarter than Thou | National Review Online

Smarter than Thou | National Review Online: "Prominent examples include MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Rachel Maddow, Steve Kornacki, and Chris Hayes; Vox’s Ezra Klein, Dylan Matthews, and Matt Yglesias; the sabermetrician Nate Silver; the economist Paul Krugman; the atheist Richard Dawkins; former vice president Al Gore; celebrity scientist Bill Nye; and, really, anybody who conforms to the Left’s social and moral precepts while wearing glasses and babbling about statistics."

'via Blog this'

Smarter than Thou | National Review Online

Smarter than Thou | National Review Online: "One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world."

'via Blog this'

Smarter than Thou | National Review Online

Smarter than Thou | National Review Online: "‘My great fear,” Neil deGrasse Tyson told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in early June, “is that we’ve in fact been visited by intelligent aliens but they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there’s no sign of intelligent life on Earth.” In response to this rather standard little saw, Hayes laughed as if he had been trying marijuana for the first time."

'via Blog this'

Monday, July 28, 2014

Love People, Not Pleasure - NYTimes.com

Love People, Not Pleasure - NYTimes.com: "It makes sense. What do you post to Facebook? Pictures of yourself yelling at your kids, or having a hard time at work? No, you post smiling photos of a hiking trip with friends. You build a fake life — or at least an incomplete one — and share it. Furthermore, you consume almost exclusively the fake lives of your social media “friends.” Unless you are extraordinarily self-aware, how could it not make you feel worse to spend part of your time pretending to be happier than you are, and the other part of your time seeing how much happier others seem to be than you?"

'via Blog this'

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Instapundit » Blog Archive » KURT SCHLICHTER: Conservatism Is The New Punk Rock. Actually, that’s more libertarianism. But: …

Instapundit » Blog Archive » KURT SCHLICHTER: Conservatism Is The New Punk Rock. Actually, that’s more libertarianism. But: …:

Look at ancient Hillary Clinton, that improbable Millennial heroine. She’s the Bachman Turner Overdrive of American politics, out there literally taking care of business – especially the businesses who take care of her by paying her hundreds of thousands a pop to come talk to them.

There’s no energy left in liberalism, no excitement, just more rules, more controls, everything the punks hated. You can’t say this, you can’t think that, everybody read the memo – today we’re scheduled to be angry at people don’t want to subsidize our birth control! Oh, and make sure you obtain a videotaped, notarized consent form before you kiss your cisgender hook-up.

Yeah. The Dems are looking like that crazy preacher in Footloose."

'via Blog this'

Supreme beings of leisure: Column

Supreme beings of leisure: Column: "But computers and robots keep getting better, while improvement in humanity, to the extent that it takes place, is happening much more slowly. A generation ago any good chess player could beat a computer. Now computers routinely beat grandmasters. It may be that the range of things machines do better than humans will come to encompass pretty much everything humans are able to do."

'via Blog this'

Friday, July 25, 2014

Althouse: The "50 Shades of Grey" trailer is ready to see you now.

Althouse: The "50 Shades of Grey" trailer is ready to see you now.: "I hope you find that suitably ludicrous. If not, if you got actual twinges of sexual feeling, you are not doing your part to prevent the downfall of civilization."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 24, 2014

'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis: Former star quit because he did - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis: Former star quit because he did - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG: "LOS ANGELES –  When Luke Grimes started on HBO’s “True Blood” last season his character James Kent was wooing a female vampire. But Grimes reportedly quit in December when he found out Kent was bisexual and starting a romantic relationship with a gay character in the seventh and final season.

 Now Nelsan Ellis, the actor who plays Kent’s gay lover on the show, is speaking up -- and he’s not happy."

'via Blog this'

I predict this guy's career is over.

Hamblin & Peterson: Finding God through the history, philosophy of science | Deseret News

Hamblin & Peterson: Finding God through the history, philosophy of science | Deseret News: "“Science explained everything,” he reminisces. “It gobbled up the conceptual space once occupied by God and replaced it with the sane, cool rationalism of the scientific method. Only scientific claims are meaningful. Anything that lies outside the scope of science is simply superstition or delusion, no matter how understandable. The sciences were, for me, the bright lodestar of my intellectual and moral endeavours, the only true way to acquire reliable knowledge about reality and the order of things. Atheism was my creed, and science was its foundation.”"

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

IRS experts say Lois Lerner’s hard drive was just scratched | Power Line

IRS experts say Lois Lerner’s hard drive was just scratched | Power Line: "Top IRS officials told congressional investigators that Lois Lerner’s hard drive — the one containing emails that could shed light on the IRS targeting scandal — was irreparably damaged before it was destroyed completely in 2011.

"But now, investigators have had a chance to talk to the technical experts inside the IRS who actually examined Lerner’s computer, and the experts say the hard drive in question was actually just “scratched,” and that most of the data on it was recoverable."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The ACA Means What It Says | National Review Online

The ACA Means What It Says | National Review Online: "It’s an odd world in which judges are accused of usurping the role of Congress for ruling that the executive branch must follow the text of a law Congress wrote. But that’s what has happened today. In Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Congress never gave the federal government power to provide subsidies and assess penalties under the Affordable Care Act in states that haven’t established their own health-insurance exchanges."

'via Blog this'

Monday, July 21, 2014

Howard Zinn's Influential Mutilations of American History | New Republic

Howard Zinn's Influential Mutilations of American History | New Republic: "n my adolescent rebelliousness, I thrilled to Zinn’s deflation of what he presented as the myths of standard-issue history. Do you know that the Declaration of Independence charged King George with fomenting slave rebellions and attacks from “merciless Indian Savages”? That James Polk started a war with Mexico as a pretext for annexing California? That Eugene Debs was jailed for calling World War I a war of conquest and plunder? Perhaps you do, if you are moderately well-read in American history. And if you are very well-read, you also know that these statements themselves are problematic simplifications. But like most sixteen-year-olds, I didn’t know any of this. Mischievously—subversively—A People’s History whispered that everything I had learned in school was a sugar-coated fairy tale, if not a deliberate lie. Now I knew."

'via Blog this'

IRS Reports New Round of Computer Crashes | The Daily Caller

IRS Reports New Round of Computer Crashes | The Daily Caller: "IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to “less than 20,” and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are still backed up somewhere.

 The new round of computer crash victims includes David Fish, who routinely corresponded with Lois Lerner, as well as Lerner subordinate Andy Megosh, Lerner’s technical adviser Justin Lowe, and Cincinnati-based agent Kimberly Kitchens."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Union Drama at the Metropolitan Opera | National Review Online

Union Drama at the Metropolitan Opera | National Review Online: "Well, if worst came to worst, at least the Met’s singers and musicians could make a go of it at the New York City Opera. No, wait, it shut its doors for the last time last year."

'via Blog this'

I thought the saying was "if worse came to worst."

Friday, July 11, 2014

Harry Reid, the Race Man | National Review Online

Harry Reid, the Race Man | National Review Online: "By the way, the best part about Reid’s 2010 statement that “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay?” That was just before a Hispanic Republican, Brian Sandoval, was elected governor of Reid’s state, Nevada. And the Democrat he beat — was Reid’s own son, Rory.

 It’s bad enough when the Senate majority leader abuses his position to vilify Charles and David Koch. When he goes racial, he is at his absolute worst."

'via Blog this'

Harry Reid, the Race Man | National Review Online

Harry Reid, the Race Man | National Review Online: "I’m not sure I could pinpoint this, but about 20 years ago the phrase “white men” became a putdown — an automatic epithet. I think this was about the same time “dead white males” came into vogue: you know, Shakespeare, Bach, and the rest of them crackers.

One funny thing about the phrase “white men” is that white men often use it, as a putdown. When they do, they seem to exempt themselves. “No, I don’t mean me. Not wonderful me. I mean those other guys, the bad ones.” 

I thought of this when reading this item in the Daily Caller. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, said that the Hobby Lobby case was decided by “five white men.” As the article points out, one of the five justices whom Reid disdains is Clarence Thomas."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Instapundit » Blog Archive » MEGAN MCARDLE: Who’s The Real Hobby Lobby Bully? Here’s the most interesting thing to me about…

Instapundit » Blog Archive » MEGAN MCARDLE: Who’s The Real Hobby Lobby Bully? Here’s the most interesting thing to me about…: "Cards on the table: I think that institutions Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor are obviously correct — they are being forced by the government to buy something that they don’t want to buy. We can argue about whether this is a good or a bad idea, but the fact that it is coercive seems indisputable. If it weren’t for state power, the Little Sisters of the Poor would be happily not facilitating the birth-control purchases of its employees; the Barack Obama administration has attempted to force them to do otherwise. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this coercion violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and it must therefore cease."

'via Blog this'

IRS Commissioner: Nothing Odd About Lois Lerner Asking if Instant Messages Are 'Searchable'

IRS Commissioner: Nothing Odd About Lois Lerner Asking if Instant Messages Are 'Searchable': "IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifed before a subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today. During one exchange with Rep. Jim Jordan, Koskinen seemed to find nothing at all suspicious about Lois Lerner's interest in whether IRS instant messages were "searchable" and could be turned over to Congress."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

World Cup Domination

Now that I'm a lock to win our office pool, I though I would share a picture of my bracket to preserve the memory of this great achievement for posterity. This post also serves the purpose of documenting my prediction of an Argentina victory in the world cup.

All is proceeding as I have foreseen . . .

Jason Chaffetz: Mitt Romney Will Run In 2016 - Business Insider

Jason Chaffetz: Mitt Romney Will Run In 2016 - Business Insider: "Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told MSNBC's Chris Matthews that he thinks the "Draft Mitt" hype is real. 

"I think he actually is going to run for president. He probably doesn't want me to say that," Chaffetz said during an interview on "Hardball" Monday night."

'via Blog this'

I say the following as someone who thinks Mitt Romney is a great person, appears to be a brilliant manager and businessman, and would have been a great improvement over a our current president (although probably not my ideological soul mate):


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Google's Larry Page: "I Think the Government's Likely to Collapse Under Its Own Weight." - Hit & Run : Reason.com

Google's Larry Page: "I Think the Government's Likely to Collapse Under Its Own Weight." - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "I was trying to reduce the complexity in Google. I was thinking, "We're getting to be a bigger company. Let's take our rules and regulations. Let's make sure they stay at 50 pages, so people can actually read it." But the problem that I discovered about that was that by reference, we include the entire law and regulation of the entire world, because we're a multinational company. We operate everywhere. Our employees, what they do affects everything. In some sense, we'd have to read the hundred million pages of law and regulation that are out there."

'via Blog this'

Monday, July 7, 2014

Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Chapter 8: The Fall

Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Chapter 8: The Fall: "•“I’m very, very grateful that in the Book of Mormon, and I think elsewhere in our scriptures, the fall of Adam has not been called a sin. It wasn’t a sin. … What did Adam do? The very thing the Lord wanted him to do; and I hate to hear anybody call it a sin, for it wasn’t a sin. Did Adam sin when he partook of the forbidden fruit? I say to you, no, he did not! Now, let me refer to what was written in the book of Moses in regard to the command God gave to Adam. [Moses 3:16–17.]
“Now this is the way I interpret that: The Lord said to Adam, here is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here, then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here, then I forbid you to eat it. But you may act for yourself, and you may eat of it if you want to. And if you eat it, you will die."

'via Blog this'

The Problem with Science | National Review Online

The Problem with Science | National Review Online: "The problem is that scientific prestige accompanies scientists well outside their fields of expertise. That’s true when they wander into other scientific fields — as I noted in my essay, Carl Sagan authored scientific illiteracies based on long-discredited ideas in the course of arguing for abortion — but the problem is most acute when it comes to the matter of politics. "

'via Blog this'

Science is good at explaining the natural world. But it doesn't have anything to say about metaphysical truth. Too many people think that science is the source of all truth, including moral truth.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Intolerance at the Heart of the Hobby Lobby Decision Fury | National Review Online

The Intolerance at the Heart of the Hobby Lobby Decision Fury | National Review Online: "On Facebook yesterday, I saw someone respond to the news by muttering, “Stupid religious people!” Whether or not you think this belief is stupid, a core part of America is the right to hold and practice that belief!

What we’re seeing in the reaction to the Hobby Lobby decision is some liberals’ desire to not allow people to be “stupid religious people” anymore; we must all be reconditioned, to bow before the will and judgment of our betters, who control the levers of the government."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Ann Coulter - June 25, 2014 - AMERICA'S FAVORITE NATIONAL PASTIME: HATING SOCCER: "Liberals get angry and tell us that the metric system is more "rational" than the measurements everyone understands. This is ridiculous. An inch is the width of a man's thumb, a foot the length of his foot, a yard the length of his belt. That's easy to visualize. How do you visualize 147.2 centimeters?

'via Blog this'


Ann Coulter - June 25, 2014 - AMERICA'S FAVORITE NATIONAL PASTIME: HATING SOCCER: "(4) The prospect of either personal humiliation or major injury is required to count as a sport. Most sports are sublimated warfare. As Lady Thatcher reportedly said after Germany had beaten England in some major soccer game: Don't worry. After all, twice in this century we beat them at their national game."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Death of a World-Class Salesman | National Review Online

Death of a World-Class Salesman | National Review Online: "About ten years ago, Rick started walking around in green and brown and red casual shoes made of plastic. These came to be known as Crocs. In 2005, he met the inventor and became the chairman of Crocs, Inc. — yet another $1 billion retail hit."

'via Blog this'

What an interesting guy.

Monday, June 23, 2014

On Friday, the IRS Dropped the Pretense: It's Not Sorry | National Review Online

On Friday, the IRS Dropped the Pretense: It's Not Sorry | National Review Online: "The IRS knows — and conservatives now know — that it is now wholly and completely an arm of the political Left, and it now depends on the political Left for its continued viability. A future conservative administration and a future conservative attorney general will not be appointing significant progressive donors to “investigate” the agency. With the agency’s autonomy and perhaps even existence at stake in the coming elections, the only things standing between conservatives and redoubled targeting — particularly in the 2016 election cycle — are constant vigilance, mass public awareness, and a further barrage of litigation when the IRS lashes out once again."

'via Blog this'

Stopping a Lawless President | National Review Online

Stopping a Lawless President | National Review Online: "Presidents must exercise some discretion in interpreting laws, must have some latitude in allocating finite resources to the enforcement of laws, and must have some freedom to act in the absence of law. Obama, however, has perpetrated more than 40 suspensions of laws. Were presidents the sole judges of the limits of their latitude, they would effectively have plenary power to vitiate the separation of powers, the Founders’ bulwark against despotism."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mormon church drops adoption business | The Salt Lake Tribune

Mormon church drops adoption business | The Salt Lake Tribune: "One factor is that the social stigma attached to being an unwed mother has evaporated, explained Sherilyn Stinson, field group manager for LDS Family Services. If anything, there is now a stigma attached to putting one’s child up for adoption."

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Corner | National Review Online

The Corner | National Review Online: "Let me be clear, as Obama likes to say: You simply cannot praise Australia’s gun-laws without praising the country’s mass confiscation program. That is Australia’s law. When the Left says that we should respond to shootings as Australia did, they don’t mean that we should institute background checks on private sales; they mean that they we should ban and confiscate guns. "

'via Blog this'

Monday, June 9, 2014

Why 'Ghostbusters' is the most libertarian Hollywood blockbuster of all time | WashingtonExaminer.com

Why 'Ghostbusters' is the most libertarian Hollywood blockbuster of all time | WashingtonExaminer.com: "How many Hollywood blockbusters involve private businesses as the heroes and government regulators as the villains?

Not to mention the fact that the film is also peppered with lines like this: "I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there. I've worked in the private sector. They expect results.""

'via Blog this'

Deputy Solicitor General: Breyer “Is a Rather Cold Fish” | National Review Online

Deputy Solicitor General: Breyer “Is a Rather Cold Fish” | National Review Online: "The bottom line, I’ll acknowledge, isn’t news to anyone who has been paying attention in recent decades: The Left doesn’t want judges—yes, not even in admiralty cases—who “appl[y] the rules in a dispassionate manner.” It instead wants judges who indulge their “heart and soul” and their “innate sense of justice.”"

'via Blog this'

About That High-Quality Insurance, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

About That High-Quality Insurance, David Henderson | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty: "Went to my doctor today for my annual exam. Here's how my conversation went.

Receptionist: Mrs. X, I am sorry to inform you that the doctor is no longer taking Blue Cross/Covered CA.

ME: Oh really and why is that?

Receptionist:The doctors have not been able to negotiate a fee with Blue Cross. Blue Cross wants to pay less than what MediCal [MediCal is the name for California's Medicare] pays the doctor. I'm sorry you will have to pay the out of network price.(Full Price)

ME: Then what do we have insurance for?

Receptionist: There are very few doctors that "

'via Blog this'

Monday, June 2, 2014


Instapundit: "Meanwhile, social alternatives to sexual partnerships are disfavored or in decline: Virginity is for weirdos and losers, celibate life is either a form of unhealthy repression or a smoke screen for deviancy, the kind of intense friendships celebrated by past civilizations are associated with closeted homosexuality, and the steady shrinking of extended families has reduced many people’s access to the familial forms of platonic intimacy."

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Friday, May 30, 2014


Althouse: ""But granting the grammatical right, that Moses might speak of himself in the third person, because any man might speak of himself in that manner, it cannot be admitted as a fact in those books, that it is Moses who speaks, without rendering Moses truly ridiculous and absurd: -- for example, Numbers xii. 3: "Now the man Moses was very MEEK, above all the men which were on the face of the earth." If Moses said this of himself, instead of being the meekest of men, he was one of the most vain and arrogant coxcombs; and the advocates for those books may now take which side they please, for both sides are against them: if Moses was not the author, the books are without authority; and if he was the author, the author is without credit, because to boast of meekness is the reverse of meekness, and is a lie in sentiment."
Let us do unto Hillary as Thomas Paine did unto Moses."

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Obama Ignores the Path to Recovery | National Review Online

Obama Ignores the Path to Recovery | National Review Online: "June begins the sixth year of the anemic recovery from the 18-month recession. Even if what the Obama administration calls “historically severe” weather — a.k.a. winter — reduced GDP growth by up to 1.4 percentage points, growth of 1.5 percent would still be grotesque."

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I realize this is the administration's excuse for one quarter only. Still, it reminds me of the soviet union's excuse that 40 years of bad crops was due to weather events. (But maybe that story about the Soviet Union is apocryphal.)

When Bushies blew a CIA cover, it was 'treason'; now, it's a mistake | WashingtonExaminer.com

When Bushies blew a CIA cover, it was 'treason'; now, it's a mistake | WashingtonExaminer.com: "Valerie Plame doesn't deny that blowing the cover of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan is a serious matter. It's just that, discussing the issue at a Wednesday evening forum sponsored by The Atlantic, Plame seemed to view the outing of the CIA's top spy on the front lines in the Afghan war as more of an embarrassment than an outrage."

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Case Against Reparations for Slavery | Hoover Institution

The Case Against Reparations for Slavery | Hoover Institution: " Ironically, much of his narrative assumes a libertarian premise, even though Coates’s politics are anything but. The central libertarian principle is that every individual has rights against the rest of the world, to whom he or she owes correlative duties. Most vividly, the fundamental obligations are these: refrain from the use or threat of force; refrain from the use of false words to achieve private advantage; and keep your promises to others, just as you expect them to keep their promises to you."

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Celebration

I celebrated Memorial Day, in part, by watching this discussion between two economics titans. I thought I would share.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Instapundit: "THE GANG THAT CAN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT: White House PR Move Mistakenly “Outs” CIA Station Chief In Afghanistan.

So this is a lot worse than the Plame thing, right, where Richard Armitage outed a non-covert desk jockey and somehow Scooter Libby was punished. Can we expect the same degree of press attention? Note how the Post invokes the Plame story in the carefully-worded-to-mislead second paragraph, even while giving the White House the soft treatment here."

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Monday, May 19, 2014

The Corner | National Review Online

The Corner | National Review Online: "It’s a shame graduation season is coming to an end, because I kind of like the idea of the absurdity multiplying even further. At this rate we are only months away from a protest over a campus speaker because he is a human being. After all, humans are responsible for all our problems, from global warming to Justin Bieber. Moreover, if you review the list of campus speakers there is virtually no diversity of life forms. I think Brown should invite Koko the gorilla. Of course, the trouble with Koko is that he is something of a sellout. He’s learned The Man’s sign language and he works for The Man’s wages albeit in the form of bananas and oranges. “We demand a simian that doesn’t suffer from false consciousness!” might be one line of complaint. Another might note that humans are simians too and we need to abandon this bipedal simian hegemony. Who will speak for the bacteria and fungi, life forms that wildly outnumber mere humans?"

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Always Hungry? Here’s Why - NYTimes.com

Always Hungry? Here’s Why - NYTimes.com: "But such theories have been generally ignored, perhaps because they challenge entrenched cultural attitudes. The popular emphasis on calorie balance reinforces the belief that we have conscious control over our weight, and that obesity represents a personal failure because of ignorance or inadequate willpower."

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reid His Lips | National Review Online

Reid His Lips | National Review Online: "Of course, that wouldn’t happen. Why? Because we expect dogs to be dogs. Not all dogs are heroes, of course. Not all dogs follow commands. Some dogs even do bad things, like attack little kids in the driveway. But these are exceptions to our expectations. Every day some dog somewhere protects a member of his family. Every day a dog does amazing things when asked. Every day millions of dogs do less-than-amazing things like sitting or fetching or rolling over."

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Leftists Don’t Care about Bad Economic News | National Review Online

Leftists Don’t Care about Bad Economic News | National Review Online: "Take economic indicators. Most conservatives talk and act as if bad economic news disturbs the Left as much as it disturbs them. It doesn’t. Almost everywhere the Left is in control — in California, for example — the economic news is awful. But this has no effect on the ruling Democrats, the Los Angeles Times editorial page, New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman, or others on the left."

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Gas Prices Are Pinching Again, and You Can Thank U.S. Trade Policy For Some of the Pain | Cato @ Liberty

Gas Prices Are Pinching Again, and You Can Thank U.S. Trade Policy For Some of the Pain | Cato @ Liberty: "First, the Jones Act - a 94-year-old law that requires all domestic seaborne trade to be shipped on U.S.-crewed, -owned, flagged and manufactured vessels – prevents cost-effective intrastate shipping of crude oil or refined products.  According to Bloomberg, there are only 13 ships that can legally move oil between U.S. ports, and these ships are “booked solid.”  As a result, abundant oil supplies in the Gulf Coast region cannot be shipped to other U.S. states with spare refinery capacity.  And, even when such vessels are available, the Jones Act makes intrastate crude shipping artificially expensive.  According to a 2012 report by the Financial Times, shipping U.S. crude from Texas to Philadelphia cost more than three times as much as shipping the same product on a foreign-flagged vessel to a Canadian refinery, even though the latter route is longer."

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mormons Just Believe?

At a recent lunch where the topic of religion came up, my coworker made a joke about a religious believer "enjoying the sunshine of her blind faith." Similarly, the refrain from a song in the Book of Mormon musical says that "Mormons just believe" even as each point of doctrine recited in the song becomes more esoteric or absurd. Does religion require blind faith-- that is, belief without supporting evidence?

It dawned on me that religion may actually requires less faith of its adherents than most other belief systems. Religious people's moral beliefs are linked to certain factual events, e.g., the resurrection of Christ, Mohammad's revelations, Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Mormon. Believers can't independently verify these events occurred as reported, but they can review and evaluate the record and the credibility of the witnesses. Like jurors in a he-said she-said legal case, believers may never know for sure what really happened, but they can know enough to render an evidence-based verdict.

Mormonism lends itself particularly well to factual investigation. Besides Joseph Smith's say-so, we have a book that claims to be a record of the ancient Americas translated from golden plates, which can be evaluated. We also have numerous first- or second-hand accounts of many of the miracles from Mormonism's founding from corroborating witnesses. The three witnesses claimed to have had an angel show them the Book of Mormon.The eight witnesses claimed to have seen the golden plates, too. Oliver Cowdery was reportedly present when the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods were restored by angels. Sidney Rigdon was present for the restoration of the sealing power by Elijah and for the revelation in D&C 76. There are many, many ways to attack or bolster Mormonism's factual claims.

Of course, nonbelievers may reject a religion's factual underpinning. They may review the evidence and reject it--or more likely, reject it out of hand. But I don't think it's fair to say that religious people just believe. As Eugene Volokh points out in these posts, even nonreligious peoples' morality is based on a moral axiom that cannot be proved but requires belief. At least religious claims rest on factual assertions that can be evaluated, which is more than can be said for nonreligious belief systems.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Benghazi hearing puts Democrats in a tough spot - Yahoo News

Benghazi hearing puts Democrats in a tough spot - Yahoo News: "Democratic leaders have called the new committee “a political ploy,” a “stunt,” a “sham,” a “waste of taxpayer dollars” and, in the words of White House spokesman Jay Carney, “a blatantly political and partisan effort.” This week, two arms of the party, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, launched a coordinated messaging blitz to undermine the committee and cast Republicans as political opportunists who have established the select committee only because of their interest in raising money and exciting the GOP base before the 2014 midterm elections."

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Althouse: "I remember back then, how people would express outrage that people were reading Drudge. "He's not a journalist." The journalists had decided the story would not be told, and here is this man... who does he think he is? It's hard today to understand the notion that there was something wrong with writing on the internet without the certification of professional gatekeepers."

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