The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Amtrak crash: Engineer has 'no recollection,' lawyer says -

(CNN)What was Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian doing and thinking when his speeding train careened off the rails in Philadelphia, killing eight people and sending over 200 more to the hospital?

He can't say.


He has a good lawyer.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unhappy Days for America by Nicholas Lemann | The New York Review of Books

But Putnam brings special abilities to the subject. His prominence has given him access to copious resources. Murray’s book was based mainly on other people’s published research and his largely suppositional evocations of two places he called Belmont and Fishtown. Putnam, who thanks thirteen “generous supporters” (mostly major foundations), six members of “the administrative side of our operations,” and dozens of field researchers, experts, colleagues, and local observers, was able to send interviewers to look firsthand at life in nine widely scattered sites in addition to Port Clinton. In Our Kids each of a series of chapters combines a summary of quantitative research findings with vivid ethnographic accounts of the lives of actual people, though, in accordance with social science rules, Putnam doesn’t give us their real names (indeed, he tells us, in most cases he doesn’t know their real names). And Putnam writes clear, impassioned, accessible prose that brings two generations’ worth of academic findings into range for people who don’t study these subjects for a living.


The author of Bowling Alone is no bargain, I'll tell you. Go ahead and read the book, but I don't advise talking to the guy. I heard him speak shortly after the first election of Prez O, and I'd have to score it as one of those painful experiences that took a while to recover from. He spoke of how he was glad that we had elected such an "elegant" man as president. Sort of like Adlai Stevenson, only black! What a deal. He ridiculed Bush as well. There was a stand outside where you could buy his book, even though the event was strenuously, otherwise, non-commercial. Bowling alone is bad. That will be $25 please.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

The Democrats’ Baffling Behavior - WSJ

The year isn’t half over, and already more than a few things in the Democratic political world have left me puzzled—and in some cases downright mystified.


I bet Bill has had bariatric surgery. He looks good. On the outside.

I'm not sure Hillary is crazy. Laying low now may be her best bet.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Google under fire from academics over 'right to be forgotten' transparency - Telegraph

Google’s process for dealing with EU ‘right to be forgotten’ requests looks likely to come under new scrutiny, after a group of 80 leading academics – including Prof Ellen Goodman from the Rutgers University School of Law and Julia Powles, researcher at University of Cambridge – wrote an open letter to the search giant demanding greater transparency.


May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The long drive to end a pregnancy | The Washington Post

Back in the clinic, when the surgical part of the abortion was over and she was again in the recovery room, Emily had decided to add her own entry to the diary of experiences. She wrote out a few lines from a T.S. Eliot poem that she liked, and another by Pablo Neruda. She wrote, “I loved my baby, Bo, dearly, and I hope in the coming years I will believe that this was the best decision for both of us. He will be in my heart and on my mind always.” Then she wrote another sentence, addressing the child she would not have. “I know you would’ve been a beautiful joy in my life, and I can only hope and strive one day to be the mother you deserve.”


A long ride for both of them.

May 14, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Chicken Embryos With Dinosaur Snouts Created in Lab

Chicks with dino-snouts? With a little molecular tinkering, for the first time scientists have created chicken embryos with broad, Velociraptor-like muzzles in the place of their beaks.

The bizarrely developing chickens shed new light on how the bird beak evolved, scientists added.


Let's make direwolves!

May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Animal cruelty is a reliable predictor of criminality — which is why the FBI is taking it more seriously

What do Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer and a host of other serial killers have in common, besides killing enough people to merit their own mortuaries? The answer, according to published reports, is that as children they tortured animals. Dahmer tortured frogs, cats, and dogs, decapitated them and mounted the heads on sticks. His own puppy suffered this fate. Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, kept pet rats and tortured them according to the recent book One of Us. It is the escalation from animal abuse to human abuse seen in the cases of Dahmer, Breivik and other criminals that have helped put a bigger legal spotlight on animal cruelty.


May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Christopher Awdry: why sour Lefties are wrong about Thomas the Tank Engine - Telegraph

When the Telegraph revealed that the classic British children’s character Thomas the Tank Engine was a figure of hate among some Left-wing parents and academics, readers registered their astonishment – and irritation.


Oi vay. There's nothing good they don't hate.

May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Republican Field, Mellow Edition - Peggy Noonan's Blog - WSJ

I find myself feeling mellow on the subject of 2016. I have nonspecific affection and sympathy for everyone. Actually when I think of the Republican field the picture that comes to mind is of Cloris Leachman in the movie “Spanglish.” Merrily: “I love you. I love everybody, that’s what killed me.” I am interested that wherever I go people say “Who’s going to win?” and when I say I have no idea they say, “No, really?” There are many Americans these days who think there are other Americans who have the lowdown inside scoop and should share it. I told a woman the other day that when I ask 20 Republicans who they like I get a lot of different answers including, often, “I don’t know.” She looked skeptical. Who do you like, I asked. She said, “I don’t know—any of them!” Republicans strike me right now as both chipper and dour. Chipper: Whoever we get, it will be better than the guy in the White House. Dour: But maybe America will just go for Hillary. They all follow the polls. They should take heart from the terrible pre-election polls in Britain. There may be a lot of shy Tories in America, too. Slay me, Nate Silver.


I want some of what she's smoking.

May 13, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How the religious makeup of the U.S. has changed | Deseret News National

A dramatic rise in the number of spiritually "unaffiliated" Americans, mirroring a decline in the number of American Christians, has occurred in the past seven years, signaling significant changes for mainline Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church, a new report reveals.

According to the "America's Changing Religious Landscape" survey released early Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of Americans claim a Christian label, down from 78 percent in 2007, while 23 percent identify as "religiously unaffiliated," which includes atheists, agnostics and those who are spiritual-but-not-religious," up from 16.1 percent seven years ago.


May 12, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (1)