Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Taxpayers to Subsidize 'Ministry of Truthiness'; Will Track 'Misleading Ideas', 'Hate Speech' - Liberty Unyielding
Americans are apprehensive about where they are and even more so about where they’re going. But they don’t see anything or anyone to lead them into the light. They’re sour on the president, on the Democratic Party and on Republicans most of all. They’re hungry for hope but don’t spot it on the menu. Where that tension leaves us is anybody’s guess.
This reads like the reflections of a middle aged man who, having led his young friend into a life of dissipation, now reflects on that friend's aimlessness, resentment and fatigue.
On Monday morning I woke to images of Beyoncé, striking a dramatic pose—dressed as the world’s most beautiful disco ball—in front of the word “FEMINIST” and felt like an excited kid all over again. Or rather, an excited kid in a far more thrilling pop culture universe than the one I was an actual kid in.
Beyonce link added, to those of you who don't know.
I guess we have to keep up with this. Except for this being posted on TNR, I would be, I'm afraid, completely unaware of it. Not keeping up with VMA, I've got to say (that's Video Music Awards, not Virginia Military Academy). Anyway, it seems Beyonce has made a musical statement on Feminism. Without making too much of a thing about it, I would like to go down as not a feminist, not because I don't regard women as equals. I do. Rather it is because feminism means, and I think it always has, such a lot of nonsense. The social construction of sexual differences, just to begin with. No big deal. Just sayin. Oh, and if we are all even rhetorically feminist, what's with all the dancing around in your underwear about? I mean, I sorta like it, but that's because I like women in their underwear and as I said, I'm not a feminist. It just doesn't seem consistent.
I expect this will lead to some sort of shattering of sexual norms, to the extent it has not already, rather than anything more organized than that.
Episcopal chaplain at Yale: Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism for not making peace with genocidal enemy (UPDATED with statement from Yale’s Center for Jewish Life) - The Washington Post
To the Editor:
Deborah E. Lipstadt makes far too little of the relationship between Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza and growing anti-Semitism in Europe and beyond.
The trend to which she alludes parallels the carnage in Gaza over the last five years, not to mention the perpetually stalled peace talks and the continuing occupation of the West Bank.
As hope for a two-state solution fades and Palestinian casualties continue to mount, the best antidote to anti-Semitism would be for Israel’s patrons abroad to press the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for final-status resolution to the Palestinian question.
(Rev.) BRUCE M. SHIPMAN
Groton, Conn., Aug. 21, 2014
The writer is the Episcopal chaplain at Yale.
Surely the *best* antidote to anti-Semitism would be for the anti-Semites to stop being anti-Semitic. Or am I missing something? Of course, I have my own issues with not liking it when Jews are anti-Israel; not sure whether that makes me anti-Semitic or not. But that's not an issue with the Rev. Bruce M. Shipwainwrightgotagreatpriceonthoseslaveswhatwhat. OK, that was uncalled for. I'm sorry.
As Hannah Arendt foresaw, we are once again up against the question of evil. An American photojournalist, James Foley, was presented to the camera and methodically decapitated. The instrument was not the ax reserved for royalty or the whooshing blade prompted by that reformer Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, but an ordinary looking knife. Death would be neither swift nor painless. This, somewhere in the bleached desert, was pure evil.
I used to not believe in evil. When Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union "the evil empire," I thought it was a dandy phrase but also a confession of ignorance. The word itself connotes something or someone diabolical -- bad for the sake of bad. The Soviet Union was bad, I conceded, but not for no reason. It was bad because it was insecure, occupying the flat, inviting, Eurasian plain, and because it had a different system of government that it dearly wanted to protect. Reagan had it right, though. The Soviet Union was evil.
Richard Cohen thought the Soviet Union wasn't evil? I thought they weren't evil, but I changed my mind within two years of graduating from college. I was young and foolish but figured it out. I'll spare you the story. Sounds like Cohen is admitting he was older. Anyway, liberal columnists seem to be racing to see who can provide the most outraged, Nazi-invoking and extreme denunciation of the decapitating Islamists. Where have these people been? Did they not notice the gap in the NYC skyline? Is ISIS really more evil than al Qaeda? I figure it's battle space preparation for Obama's forthcoming move to bomb Syria and thereby indirectly support President Assad. When the MSM begins to appear so predictably in the pocket of the regime, it's unseemly and bad for the republic.
The Supreme Court is likely to take up the issue and, if it follows the D.C. Circuit's Halbig v. Burwell decision, would end subsidies in the 36 states that chose not to set up exchanges -- a deathblow to Obamacare. A decent lawyer yelling "stop" would have prevented such a debacle.
Not a great column, but the central idea is true.
Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed to USA TODAY that there are approximately 600 British Muslim servicemembers in its armed forces of almost 200,000 people. Official government estimates put the number of British Islamic State fighters operating in Syria and Iraq at up to 800. The Foreign Office cautioned Thursday that it is difficult to provide precise numbers.
An internet factoid gone viral.
Speaking of Cal, two weeks ago this book arrived for freshman son with rather terse instructions, I thought, to read it. It was sent out to all humanities majors or something. Must be thousands of copies. Not that it's a short book; more like a door stop with more detail than you would ever want about the micro-politics of the free speech movement. All this so the kids can participate in something like a giant teach-in the point of which is, wouldn't it be great if you all could be like Mario Savio. I thought of writing a letter objecting to the President of the University, but really, what would be the point in California? Maybe I'll publish an open letter on this blog. Still, I got to find out who Mario Savio was -- I can't honestly say I had ever heard of him before.
Helicopter parents make their way into dorm rooms — at least in the decorating - The Washington Post
“She wanted something special,” says Karen Zuckerman. “She wanted a home away from home that reflected her style.” The mother and daughter cobbled together a cute-enough room, then did what any creative, enterprising family would do: Founded Dormify, an online dorm design business based in Rockville.
Uh, this is not what LWJ and I did with two sons at Cal. It was more like minimizing the downside, so to speak. But we're probably not the target audience.
The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing spotted a 12-14-foot great white shark approximately 100 yards off the coast in Duxbury on Monday. The beach was evacuated and remained closed for about an hour. (Photo/Video: YouTube/MAStatePolice)
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water.
Friday, August 22, 2014
It’s true that this is not the anti-Semitism of the 1930s, which came from the right and was rooted in longstanding Christian views that demonized the Jews. Traditionally, Islam did not treat Jews this way. But in the past century a distinct strain of Muslim anti-Semitism has emerged. Built on a foundation of antipathy toward non-Muslims, it mixes Christian anti-Semitism — imported to the Middle East by European missionaries — and a more leftist, secular form of anti-Semitism. It is evident in political cartoons, editorials, television shows and newspaper articles.
Effective immediately, the U.S. will start allowing faith-affiliated charities, colleges and hospitals to notify the government — rather than their insurers — that they object to birth control on religious grounds. A previous accommodation offered by the Obama administration allowed those nonprofits to opt out of paying for birth control by submitting a document called Form 700 to their insurers, but Roman Catholic bishops and other religious plaintiffs argued just submitting that form was like signing a permission slip to engage in evil.
GAZA CITY—Some 18 people accused of collaborating with Israel have been executed in the Gaza Strip, according to local Hamas-linked media, a move that follows Israel's targeted killing of three of Hamas' top military commanders.
NATO condemns Moscow’s aid convoy, says Russian artillery firing at Ukrainian army - The Washington Post
MOSCOW —NATO said Friday that Russian artillery pieces are firing at the Ukrainian military from Russian territory and within Ukraine, dramatically escalating a conflict that has taken a new turn with the unauthorized entry into eastern Ukraine of what the alliance described as a “Russian so-called humanitarian convoy.”
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist, a prominent atheist, and a moral fool.
I say that in part (but only in part) because a woman seeking advice from him via Twitter confessed that she wouldn’t know what to do if she were pregnant with a child with Down syndrome. “Real ethical dilemma,” she wrote. But not for Dr. Dawkins. He tweeted this back: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
Told ya so. And there are a lot of people like Dawkins still out there.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Playing golf AGAIN: Obama tees off just 24 hours after being criticized for hitting the course within minutes of solemnly pledging justice for beheaded journalist James Foley | Mail Online
Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters could hardly contain his anger Wednesday night on the Fox News Channel as he discussed Obama's reactions to the ISIS terror network's beheading of Foley, an American who had been missing since 2012.
'There is no way the president should be stupid enough to go play golf' after such a somber speech, Peters said.
'Not only did he insult the Foley family; he sent a message to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (the leader of ISIS) and all of the other jihadi terrorist militants – now soldiers of a jihadi army – that he doesn't take it all seriously.'
I admit, it's a cheap shot. Like taking a gimme on a 3-par or something.
What is informative about Japan is that it represents the front edge of where the entire developed world, including Europe and the US, is heading - into a dangerous cycle with too much debt, aging demographics, and gross overspending supported only by the sheer printing of money. No other major world economy has as much risk of a debt crisis and resulting inflation due to a falling currency as Japan. Despite years of deflation or falling prices, Japan is on an aggressive path to weaken the Yen and spur inflation as part of official policy. Pushed too far, this could spiral into a state of high inflation as investors wake up to the realities that Japan has reached what is referred to as the "Keynesian End Point". This is a point where non-discretionary spending exceeds tax revenues, leading to money printing as the last tool at the disposal of policy makers. According to Hinde Capital “if Japanese yields returned to levels of the mid-1990’s (i.e. 5 year bonds at 6%), the entire tax income of the Japanese Government would be spent on debt servicing”. Japan’s official debt already exceeds 200% of their annual production (gross domestic product). This has only been possible given their extremely low interest rates. Academic research has shown that most countries face funding issues when they approach 100% debt to GDP.
Obviously these people have not been reading their Krugman. Getting into the kind of fix Japan seems to be getting into is in fact impossible because Keynes or something. I don't really understand it myself, but the Herr Doktor Professor has a Nobel Prize, so there it is.
(Newser) – At least six newlywed brides in India have left their husbands because their new homes lacked a toilet, reports the Times of India. The six returned to their parents' homes in protest and vow not to go back until their in-laws get proper plumbing. The newspaper describes the women's actions as raising "the banner of revolt," because the issue is anything but trivial in India. The UN recently warned about the widespread problem of open defecation in poor areas, and India's prime minister vowed last week to tackle the issue, notes the BBC.
Wouldn't be trivial here, either, I bet.
First, the hot microclimates sustained by a paved-over city makes for an ideal environment for spiders to grow and thrive.
And second, thanks to the massive amount of artificial light in cities, they attract an abnormal amount of insects to the area. Translation: The spiders are never without a plentiful food source.
Now, this may seem like bad news all around for city dwellers. But as gross as spiders are, they're actually good to have around.
They eat insects we consider to be annoying pests, like flies and mosquitoes, and keep their populations down. And they're also an important food source for other creatures, including frogs and toads. Ah, the circle of life.
The spiders of Jamul are a fat lot too.
My wife and I have little battles over my forgetfulness. She asked me to fix the kink in the hose that runs from the humidifier in our basement to the French drain. A few days later, she gave up and fixed it herself. We had a grill delivered for our backyard, and the flame kept going out on it as soon as we lit it. I was supposed to call about it the next morning, but I’d more or less forgotten that we’d bought a grill in the first place when I heard my wife on the phone with the store. These aren’t terrifying signs in themselves — everyone is a little forgetful occasionally — but they make me pause enough to wonder if the worst is coming.
Yeah, probably. I'm the same way, only worse. At the university, they'll probably have to fire me for drooling instead of lecturing, if the cash crunch doesn't end things sooner. But it's harder on those you love than it is on you. Fortunately, I have sons not daughters. And I'm thinking of starting a branch of the Catholic Church that considers self-euthanasia a sacrament. No word yet from the Vatican.
Hundreds of Iraqi Chaldeans and other community members marched through the streets of El Cajon on Tuesday evening calling on the U.S. to grant asylum to tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians.
I think we should just open the doors and let them all in. They seem like the classic immigrant group fleeing from persecution. And they're mostly Catholic.
In fact, until recently, ISIS had a very different list of demands for Mr. Foley: The group pressed the United States to provide a multimillion-dollar ransom for his release, according to a representative of his family and a former hostage held alongside him.
Of course they did.
As smoke from the oak-burning barbecue pits swirled around his head, Nestor Laracuente lit a Marlboro Red, inhaled hard and puffed out his own cumulus cloud. A pitmaster at Hometown Bar-B-Que in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Mr. Laracuente says nicotine and heavy metal help him through the marathon graveyard shifts he spends monitoring the combination of heat, meat and smoke that it takes to produce extraordinary barbecued brisket.
I don't normally do cooking, but this article was just too yummy. Yummy's not really the word, but you know what I mean.
Consulting firm PwC recently published its outlook for work in 2022, based on interviews with 500 human resources experts and 10,000 others in the United States and several other countries. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that big companies could end up so powerful and influential they morph into “ministates” that fill the void when government is unable to provide essential services. Companies will also use sensors and other gizmos to monitor employees around the clock. And workers will mostly acquiesce to this digital leash, in exchange for job security, decent pay and important benefits.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
For dog lovers, comparative psychologists Friederike Range and Zsófia Virányi have an unsettling conclusion. Many researchers think that as humans domesticated wolves, they selected for a cooperative nature, resulting in animals keen to pitch in on tasks with humans. But when the two scientists at the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna studied lab-raised dog and wolf packs, they found that wolves were the tolerant, cooperative ones. The dogs, in contrast, formed strict, linear dominance hierarchies that demand obedience from subordinates, Range explained last week at the Animal Behavior Society meeting at Princeton University. As wolves became dogs, she thinks, they were bred for the ability to follow orders and to be dependent on human masters.
I am the alpha dog. Gandalf the bichon is the beta. That's just how it is. Now I have to let him out.
Psychiatrists split on whether to ditch DSM - Future Tense - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
However, critics charge that treating people according to their mental health symptoms makes as much sense as a physician prescribing the same medication to everyone with chest pain, regardless of whether that pain is the result of heartburn, a simple muscle spasm or the beginnings of a massive myocardial infarction.
Chau's proposal, AB 2306, would delete the reference to "visual or auditory enhancing" devices. Instead, an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit could be brought regardless of the device employed, as long as the three other standards already in the law are met: that the method used to collect the image or recording is "offensive to a reasonable person," that the subject had a "reasonable expectation of privacy," and that gathering the image or recording without the device would have required trespassing. Such a change would allow the law to remain relevant even as new technologies — such as drones — emerge, without extending privacy protections to places where they can't reasonably be claimed. That's a more sensible approach than trying to adapt the law to the latest techniques in celebrity hounding.
Why not let celebrities shoot them down?
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
WHY is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa? In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza. The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.
Ex-gymnast Kacy Catanzaro first shattered American Ninja Warrior’s plexiglass ceiling by becoming the first female competitor in six seasons to complete the show’s brutal preliminary obstacle course. Then she completed the show’s near-insane semi-finals course to secure a spot in the upcoming Las Vegas finals. The 24-year-old’s inspiring performance became an online sensation, racking up 8 million views on YouTube alone. (If you’re a woman, it makes you want to go the gym. If you’re a man, it makes you really want to go the gym).
In a first account of its kind, a caller to Radio America's "The Dana Show," who identified herself only as Josie, told listeners a detailed account of Officer Darren Wilson's side. A source with detailed knowledge of the investigation told CNN it accurately matched what the officer has told investigators.
In the hardest places to live – which include large areas of Kentucky, Arkansas, Maine, New Mexico and Oregon – health problems, weight-loss diets, guns, video games and religion are all common search topics. The dark side of religion is of special interest: Antichrist has the second-highest correlation with the hardest places, and searches containing “hell” and “rapture” also make the top 10.
To be clear, these aren’t the most common searches in our list of hardest places. They’re the searches with the highest correlation to our index. Searches on some topics, like Oprah Winfrey or the Super Bowl, are popular almost everywhere. The terms on these lists are relatively common subjects for web searches in one kind of place — and rarely a subject in the other.
In the easiest places to live, the Canon Elph and other digital cameras dominate the top of the correlation list. Apparently, people in places where life seems good, including Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming and much of the large metropolitan areas of the Northeast and West Coast, want to record their lives in images.
40 FBI agents search for 'civil rights' crime in Ferguson that could bring stiff sentence as Eric Holder plans to visit on Wednesday | Mail Online
The Department of Justice has 40 FBI agents canvassing Ferguson, Missouri to learn whether a white police officer should be charged with a 'civil rights' crime for shooting an unarmed black teen, the agency confirmed on Tuesday.
EDINBURGH—Campaigners for an independent Scotland are struggling to convince voters that their ancient nation will be better off if it leaves the U.K.
Freeeeeeedommmmm! Just thought I would add that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLCEUpIg8rE
Researchers are starting to unravel the mystery surrounding the yawn, one of the most common and often embarrassing behaviors. Yawning, they have discovered, is much more complicated than previously thought. Although all yawns look the same, they appear to have many different causes and to serve a variety of functions.
Yeah well one of the functions they serve is to notify the world I'm effing bored out of mind, as at a faculty meeting.
Sometimes, like the moments leading up to when a police officer decides to shoot someone, transparency is an unalloyed good. And especially lately, technology has progressed to a point that it makes this kind of transparency not just possible, but routine.
So it is in Rialto, Calif., where an entire police force is wearing so-called body-mounted cameras, no bigger than pagers, that record everything that transpires between officers and citizens. In the first year after the cameras' introduction, the use of force by officers declined 60%, and citizen complaints against police fell 88%.
So all police should wear cameras. Duh.
After Clay died in 2008, I was devastated. I put on Joni's version with strings from 2000 and heard a deeper voice full of sorrow and wine and cigarettes. Eventually I found my way out of that dark place and dared to love again.
Today, I connect with Joni's line, "Something's lost but something's gained in living every day." I'm looking forward to the next turn in my story line.
JM is only an average guitar player, but is a great songwriter and singer. Cute too.
TaxProf Blog: Obama's Use of Executive Authority: Could a Republican President Refuse to Enforce the Estate Tax?
New York Magazine: Obama's Immigration Plan Should Scare Liberals, Too, by Jonathan Chait:
The New Republic, The Liberal Fear of Obama's Executive Action Is Irrational, by Brian Beutler:
Bad news: deeply outrageous. Good news: lots of interesting law to discuss/think about.
Its effect on American urban culture is now taken for granted, to the point of being nearly invisible. We can conjure Arthur Miller’s world only as a jittery 16-millimeter newsreel. But in the mid-century decades, a number of American intellectuals greeted the new climate with cynicism. It was, they felt, a technology that flattened not just temperature differentials but the nuances of American life as well.
Henry Miller, returning to the States in 1941 for a road trip, recounted his caustic appraisal in a book he titled “The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.” “Nowhere else in the world is the divorce between man and nature so complete,” Miller wrote, “Nowhere have I encountered such a dull, monotonous fabric of life as here in America.”
In 1970, four years after Texas became the first state in which more than half the population used air conditioning at home, the New York Times editorial board echoed his sentiments. “Because the air conditioner, the airplane and television have smoothed out harsh differences in climate, nearly abolished distance and homogenized popular taste, Americans are become much less regionally diverse.”
The historian Raymond Arsenault, in a famous 1984 essay, threw the book at air conditioning for its culturally deleterious effects on the American South. ”Air conditioning has changed the southern way of life,” he wrote,
…influencing everything from architecture to sleeping habits. Most important, it has contributed to the erosion of several regional traditions: cultural isolation, agrarianism, poverty, romanticism, historical consciousness, an orientation towards non-technological folk culture, a preoccupation with kinship, neighborliness, a strong sense of place, and a relatively slow pace of life.
It a great thing that has absolutely no ill consequences, I suppose. I remember when we first got air conditioning in our modest three bedroom house in Boise, Idaho. I followed the men who installed it around. I remember their snaking what seemed like miles of copper tubing into the ducts and hooking up a monstrous thing in the back yard. Amazingly, the house became cool, which was fine, especially at night. No more sleeping in the living room with all the windows open. We still slept outside sometimes, but that was just for fun. But life became a little harder for the intellectuals,I guess. Air conditioning is less of thing in East County San Diego, as SDG&E prices everyone out of the market.
So Perry may have a point, but he also has a problem. Prosecutors have wide, almost unlimited, latitude to decide which cases to bring. The reason is obvious: there is simply no way that the government could prosecute every violation of law it sees. Think about tax evasion, marijuana use, speeding, jay-walking—we’d live in a police state if the government went after every one of these cases. (Indeed, virtually all plea bargaining, which is an ubiquitous practice, amounts to an exercise of prosecutorial discretion.) As a result, courts give prosecutors virtual carte blanche to bring some cases and ignore others. But, once they do bring them, courts respond to the argument that “everyone does it” more or less the same way that your mother did. It’s no excuse. So if Perry’s behavior fits within the technical definition of the two statutes under which he’s charged, which it well might, he’s probably out of luck.
This is lame. I thought maybe Jeffrey had something, but no. Has he always been this political?
If prosecutorial discretion includes the power to prosecute every veto you don't like, it swallows up the constitutional value of checks and balances. I doubt that is possible, even in Texas. It might have to get to the Texas Supreme Court if the Democrats want to push it that far. It's a dumb indictment.
And then he says all the sudden he just started to bum rush him. He just started coming at him full speed, and so he just started shooting, and he just kept coming. So he really thinks he was on something, because he just kept coming. It was unbelievable. And then so he finally ended up, the final shot was in the forehead, and then he fell about two to three feet in front of the officer.
Sounds plausible. Could also be made up.
Monday, August 18, 2014
As Jonathan recently noted, Ken White at Popehat has a post covering some of the ways in which Michael Brown’s robbery does and does not matter legally. While White’s analysis is interesting, I think he is far too skeptical about whether the evidence would ultimately be admitted in federal civil rights prosecution. In my view, the evidence almost surely would come in, along with any additional evidence about Michael Brown’s bad character (should such evidence exist).
Paul Cassell, known mainly as famous blogger yours truly's brother in law, is a former assistant US attorney and federal district court judge, and is now a professor at the University of Utah.
Police officers investigate cases and make arrests, but the decision to charge a person with a crime is totally within the discretion of the prosecutor. A prosecutor is never required to file criminal charges against a person, even if she is firmly convinced that she can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt (the legal standard for proving guilt in a criminal trial). Prosecutors frequently decline to bring charges, even when they are convinced of the person’s guilt. Perhaps it’s a minor offense and the suspect is a first offender. Maybe the victim is not interested in prosecution. Or maybe the prosecutor doesn’t believe she can secure a conviction. But the bottom line is that prosecutors are not required to justify their charging decisions to anyone, and there is much potential for abuse. Prosecutors have almost limitless discretion in making these decisions, and a series of Supreme Court decisions has made it almost impossible for anyone to challenge them. Some states have a grand jury process, but the grand jury is controlled entirely by the prosecutor. Neither the defendant nor his attorney is allowed to be present during grand jury hearings, and prosecutors almost always decide which witnesses to present.
Angela Davis (the authoress) is kind of an expert on murder.