Sunday, September 30

One way Obama is better than Romney

Conor Friedersdorf wants someone to ask Romney, "Would your administration take prisoners, strap them to a board, obstruct their nasal cavity, and force water down their throats till it fills their lungs and terrifies them with the sensation of drowning?"

Guess what he'd say.

Is a driver's license a "privilege"?

From California voters support path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, say no to driver's licenses By Kevin Yamamura; according to a poll of registered voters:
56 percent of registered voters believe that illegal immigrants in California should not be able to get a driver's license, compared with 40 percent who said they should.
The article also cites Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who says
roadways would be safer if undocumented workers obtain licenses because they would have to demonstrate driving skills and buy insurance.
That seems obvious to me. I just can't understand the opposition. But one opponent is cited as saying
If you're an illegal immigrant and can't go through the process of becoming legal, paying taxes and doing everything you're supposed to be doing, why should you get these privileges?
I guess the assumption is that if they don't get a license, illegal immigrants won't drive. Just making something illegal isn't going to stop it. Of course if that's the case, there's not much point in the idea of suspending someone's license as a punishment, either.

Reporters who don't know what they're talking about

In a response to the new york times article on data center efficiency diego's weblog takes apart this New York Times article on data centers and power use. It looks as if the reporter James Glanz doesn't know what he's talking about. Even if he didn't start out wanting to make an "exposé" (however misleading or outright false), he ended up doing so.

What I find disturbing is that the tenor of Glanz's article is that the experts don't know what's best, and strongly suggests that someone knows better. It's an implicit, ignorant call for government regulation.

Friday, September 28

The US engaging in terrorism

New Stanford/NYU study documents the civilian terror from Obama's drones by Glenn Greenwald:
In the hierarchy of war crimes, deliberately targeting rescuers and funerals - so that aid workers are petrified to treat the wounded and family members are intimidated out of mourning their loved ones - ranks rather high, to put that mildly. Indeed, the US itself has long maintained that such "secondary strikes" are a prime hallmark of some of the world's most despised terrorist groups.
And as he notes, even though Gore decried Bush's "mere eavesdropping on Americans and his detention of them without judicial review", Obama is claiming the power to decide who should be killed without a shred of transparency, oversight, or due process - a power that is being continuously used to kill civilians, including children - and many of these same progressives now actually cheer for that.

Democrats spent several days at their convention two weeks ago wildly cheering and chanting whenever President Obama's use of violence and force was heralded. They're celebrating a leader who is terrorizing several parts of the Muslim world, repeatedly killing children, targeting rescuers and mourners, and entrenching the authority to exert the most extreme powers in full secrecy and without any accountability -- all while he increases, not decreases, the likelihood of future attacks.

Thursday, September 27

Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin: "The world is a funny place."
Hobbes: "Yes."
Calvin: "But it's not a hilarious place."
Hobbes: "Unless you got a sick sense of humor."
Calvin: "It's probably funnier to people who don't live here."

Saturday, September 22

I'd like my behavior subsidized, too

Writing on Sandra Fluke, Jacob Sullum wondered,
If the right to arms does not entail a right to gun subsidies, why would a right to abortion entail a right to abortion subsidies?

Friday, September 21

Do we get the policitians we deserve?

How Obama Came to Be the Biggest Defender of Indefinite Detention by J.D. Tuccille |
From pretending horror over the power to detain people without charges or trials, Obama has moved on to embracing that power, defending that power, and arguing that the executive branch had that power long before the current law was passed. ...[Obama] came to this supposedly newfound disdain for due process with bipartisan connivance in Congress, and with his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, me-too-ing his support for the NDAA....

Likely voters not egalitarian

From a Reason-Rupe poll of likely voters (details here):
  • 67 percent of likely voters say it is not the government’s responsibility to reduce income differences between Americans, while 29 percent say it is the government’s responsibility.
  • 61 percent of likely voters say that today’s levels of income inequality are an acceptable part of America’s economic system, while 35 percent say income inequalities need to be fixed.
  • 59 percent of voters believe all Americans have equal opportunities to succeed, while 39 percent do not believe everyone has equal opportunities.
I wonder how likely non-voters feel.

Is the Camaro a vehicle redolent of crustaceans? Of cockroaches?

Does the Camaro automobile remind those who speak Spanish of shrimp or perhaps lobsters?
Or does the stress (á) make Camaro look so different from camarón that no one but me sees the similarity?

According to the Diccionario de la lengua española, camarón (shrimp) is the augmentative of cámaro, from the Latin cammărus (a sea-crab, lobster). Note that shrimp swim backward (not the best connotation for a car), but mantis shrimp are credited with "the swiftest kick, and perhaps most brutal attack, of any predator." As for the speed of lobsters:
Generally, lobsters move slowly by walking on the bottom. However, when they are in danger and have to flee, they can swim backwards quickly by curling and uncurling their abdomen. A speed of 5 metres/second has already been recorded.
Five metres/second is about eleven miles per hour. Not very impressive.

I'm guessing the name of the car has no connection to those scuttling ragged claws of T.S. Eliot's objective correlative. Anyway, Eliot was already dead when the Camaro came out, so he didn't get to drive one.

And as for cockroaches, as Professor Joseph G. Kunkel explains, lobsters are called "roaches of the sea" for good reason. The next question would be "How fast are cockroaches?"

Does Jeff Wheelwright dislike hearing Japanese people speak English?

In The Gray Tsunami, speaking of Haruna Fukui (a Japanese graduate student working on her Ph.D. in sociology at Arizona State University), Wheelwright says
Fukui speaks near-perfect American English, even incorporating a questioning inflection at the end of her sentences.
Oooh, a Japanese who can actually speak English! As if her English fluency has anything to do with his article.

Sunday, September 16

We've got to pay for what Jerry Brown wants

Jerry Brown claims, "We've got to pay for what we want." No, we've got to pay for what Jerry Brown wants. For instance, he keeps insisting on the high-speed rail, even though polls are against it.

Then "the former Jesuit seminarian" goes on to say, "I'm ready for austerity, OK?.... I took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. I am ready, OK?" He loves talking about those vows, even though he went on to date Linda Ronstadt, Natalie Wood, and Liv Ullmann, and perhaps others. So much for chastity.

It looks like he thinks poverty, chastity and obedience are good for other people.

Sequestration cuts are 3%, but it's the end of the world

According to Federal Budget Cuts Detailed, the White House claims a "roughly 10% reduction in spending on military and other programs would impact government operations". Given that the total budget is $3.8 trillion, and the proposed cuts of $109 billion are only about 3%, I wonder which programs are not being cut.

Wednesday, September 12

It's as though there are two types of crimes

It's as though there are two types of crimes: killing, and then the killing of Americans.

Of course, it's not just Americans who respond that way, but it's still pretty awful.

Tuesday, September 11

The heteronomous ethic demands that someone else control us

Like other medical scapegoats, and especially like involuntary mental patients who do not want to be patients at all, the "obese" also often reject--if not in word then in deed--the patient role. Their actions communicate a desire to be or remain fat or, perhaps more accurately, to weigh more than others think they should.
We must, after all, never be alone and never be self-controlled (however peculiarly so). The heteronomous ethic demands that someone else control us: a sexual partner our orgasms; a surgeon our obesity.
Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of Drugs, Addicts, and Pushers, by Thomas Stephen Szasz

Saturday, September 8

Who wants to bomb more

One of Five Parting Shots From Charlotte by Garrett Quinn
For decades Democrats have trailed Republicans in the “who wants to bomb other countries into the Stone Age more” category. No more. The Democrats have caught up and they’re proud of it too.
If this were Bush, there would no doubt be great outcry. But the US media certainly seem to love Obama. Hence:

Organic Food Superstition

In Organic Food Superstition Receives Yet Another Blow From Science Ronald Bailey points out that "organic" food is no more nutritious than its conventional counterparts and just as likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E. coli. The pesticide residue levels found in conventionally grown food were well below regulatory standards.

And yet, many of the people so fond of organic food sneer at religious believers.

Friday, September 7

A clear choice?

In A Choice Between Two Different Futures? Or a Choice Between Two Different Parties? Peter Suderman writes,
A major part of the Democrats’ message this week is the argument that a Romney presidency would return us to the era of President George W. Bush. But what happened during the Bush years? Record spending, record debt, a slew of civil liberties abuses, a failed and expensive war on drugs, an impossibly complex immigration system and shameful treatment of immigrants, and a new health care entitlement in the form of Medicare Part D. And what did a change in White House power bring? Record spending, record debt, a slew of civil liberties abuses, a failed and expensive war on drugs, an impossibly complex immigration system and shameful treatment of immigrants, and a new health care entitlement in the form of ObamaCare.

Wednesday, September 5

“Market failure” = “choices made by other people that we don’t like

From A. Barton Hinkle's The Worst Welfare Benefits the Best-Off: Corporations

People in government do not possess special wisdom that allows them to see better and farther than people in private business. Yet they often act as though they do.

Monday, September 3

Perhaps Enron's collapse was not a case of unregulated markets gone wild

In Enron: The Perils of Interventionism, Robert L. Bradley Jr. writes:
As it turns out, Enron was a political colossus with a unique range of rent-seeking and subsidy-receiving operations. Ken Lay's announced visions for the company—to become the world's first natural-gas major, then the world's leading energy company, and, finally, the world's leading company—relied on more than free-market entrepreneurship. They were premised on employing political means to catch up with, and outdistance, far larger and more-established corporations.

Not even remotely realistic

In An Open Letter to Conservatives Who Care About the Deficit: Wake Up!, Conor Friedersdorf points out the Republican Romney-Ryan budget is not even remotely realistic.