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."

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Thursday, August 28, 2014


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

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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."

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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.


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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."

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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."

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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.”"

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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. "

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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."

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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."

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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 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."

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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. "

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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