Saturday, September 20, 2008

Libertarians for Obama?

Thus, seven reasons libertarians can hope for the best from Obama.

1. Sen. Obama has met at least one war he doesn't love.

"We hold these truths to be self evident,that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." is a universal libertarian principle. I still do not get why it is somehow non-libertarian to believe that it is acceptable to apply force to free men who are enslaved by their tyrannical oppressors. Applying force to free people in Iraq to me is morally the same as applying force to prevent the people of California from falling under the domain of a tyrannical oppressor.
2. The election of an African-American will end liberal racism as we know it.
Ending something as we know it is not the same as ending something. Still even if it does end it or make it better, it is not worth having a nanny state commander in chief dedicated to expanding the welfare state.
3. One word: Osmosis. You couldn't live in Hyde Park or teach at the University of Chicago with the intellectual curiosity of a Barack Obama without gaining at least some understanding of libertarian economics.

That osmosis has not kicked in yet (either in his tenure in the state legislature or the US Senate). Why is it suddenly going to kick in once he becomes president?
4. Obama is the best hope for keeping government out of your bedroom and away
from your body.

Can anybody name 1 person that has had the federal government invade the sanctity of their bedroom (I presume the author is euphemistically talking about sexual acts between consenting adults, hence I am only interested in examples that meet that criteria) during the last 8 years?

I am pro life because I believe that life begins at conception. That does not make me a non-libertarian, it just means that my definition of when the right to life begins is different than this author as well as some other libertarians.

5. The hidden hand did well this month punishing stupidity. But libertarians committed to free markets, not corporate oligarchs, must pause to consider the need for field-leveling regulation.

I make the argument here that the spark that turned the financial crisis from a manageable problem into an unmitigated disaster is this Federal Housing Reform Act of 2008. If I am correct it is hardly an endorsement of the Democratic party's methods of regulating markets.

6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Yes, we need to restore America's reputation around the world.

7. Finally, Barack Obama is smart enough to follow the aspirations of the Gen Y, Millenials, and Echo Boomers next up on the American political stage. They want choices in both their bank accounts and their bedrooms. I don't have much empirical evidence for that, though the college students I teach suggest that such libertarian leanings are on the rise.
I am glad that libertarian leanings are on the rise, but I do not see how voting for a Democrat who advocates an increase in the nanny/welfare state (beyond even the levels that John McCain advocates) is going to held bring about growth in libertarian policies.

Frederick Douglas and the Constitution
Frederick Douglass, the escaped former slave, self-taught author and editor, and leading abolitionist orator, thought not. "Take the Constitution according to its plain reading," he challenged the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. "I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it." In fact, Douglass told the crowd gathered to hear his Independence Day address, "Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document."

Proponents of reparations for descendants of slaves might want to consider Frederick Douglas' argument that slavery was always unconstitutional. Building a case around this argument would be a hard case to summarily dismiss. Also, if Antonin Scalia holds true to his philosophical beliefs, he would be obligated to side with the proponents of such an argument.

Civilization and Entropy

via Glenn Reynolds

Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls;

versus The Second Law of Thermodynamics:

Bridges and buildings will inevitably collapse, unless entropy is counteracted by the addition of new energy, such as money, energy, power or labor, to the system. If we do not paint the bridge, it will eventually, but inevitably, collapse.

I just found it interesting that someone would describe an effect of entropy while probably unaware of the underlying physical law that dictates that their perception is correct.

Free and You

Free for you. You are free. You are free to read all of my posts. Feel free to tell me what you think of me. You are probably wondering what this post is all about. I once read a marketing study that said a good way to attract and hold the customers attention was by using the words free and you as possible as often. So, I want you to know these posts are brought to you for free by me. Please feel free to read all the content you desire. Sorry, I have to a making a living somehow.

Misunderstanding the results?

...people are[n't] free thinkers.... according to a new study that probes past the rational mind in search of a biological basis for our political beliefs. The research... attempts to connect the dots between a person's sensitivity to threatening images—a large spider on someone's face, a bloodied person and maggot-filled wound—and the strength of their support for conservative or liberal policies.

The results seem to suggest that our ideas about the world are shaped by deep, involuntary reactions to the things we see. As evidence, the study found that greater sensitivity to the images was linked to more fervent support for a conservative agenda—including opposition to immigration, gun control, gay marriage, abortion rights and pacifism, and support for military spending, warrantless searches, the Iraq War, school prayer and the truth of the Bible. [L]iberals ...were less sensitive to the threatening images, and more likely to support open immigration policies, pacifism and gun control.

Are conservatives reactions to such photos a sign of feeling threatened or empathy? The photos mentioned actually present no threat to the individuals in the study. So, wouldn't a better analysis of the results claim that conservatives are more empathetic than liberals?

Without access to the study it is hard to make anything out of the results. Furthermore, there were only 46 people, all from Lincoln, NE, in the study. What if there was a correlation between liberals and professions such as health care, and biological scientific studies (Lincoln, NE is a college town)? Would there be any surprise that liberals in those such professions would show almost no reaction to a photo of a maggot filled wound, a bloody face and a spider on a face.

For the record, I actually do not think that conservatives are more empathetic than liberals. Take the illegal immigration debate for example, conservatives are empathetic to the poor Americans who they fell will lose their jobs to illegal immigrants, while liberals are empathetic to the poor immigrants who are coming to America for a better life. Both sides are equally empathetic, it is just each side is finding a different group to be empathetic towards.

Update: Ann Althouse's view

OODA and Chess

From the comments:

I came across this recently and it strikes me as relevant to chess and time scrambles in particular:OODA LOOP

I am not a chess expert, but this is how I would apply the lessons of OODA to chess. In time control games:
  • For players who are white, the first move should take no time to make (probably pretty obvious for regular chess players, but in case it is not).
  • Master the openings. Practice the openings so that they can be made as quickly as possible without contemplation.
  • Strive to build complex stalemating defenses as opposed to complex attacking offenses. Since most games are won by the player who has the most time left on the clock, the goal of each player should be to have time remaining on the clock when the game is over as opposed to attempting to checkmate the opponent. Consequently, players should strive to force their opponents to spend as much time as possible contemplating how to break the stalemate.
  • Once you have a time advantage, don't lose it (i.e., if your opponent has 5 minute left on the clock, and you have 6 minutes, come up with the best move you can in 59 seconds and make it).
  • Your opponent's time is your time as well. Do not waste it (probably pretty obvious for regular chess players, but in case it is not). While your opponent contemplates his next move, you should be doing the same.

Nikki's Dream by Candy Dulfer

Racist Democrats

It turns out I was being too hard on Democrats like Kathleen Sebelius. Contrary to my belief that Democrats are calling independent voters racist, Democrats are actually calling their own voters are racist.
Deep-seated racial misgivings could cost Barack Obama the White House if the election is close, according to an AP-Yahoo News poll that found one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

I still hold that it is counter productive to call people racist when you want them to vote for you. However, if Democrats want to call Democrats racist, I guess that is fine with me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not dead yet, but soon to be killed

End of Publishing As We Know It
...But what do you think?

The book publishing industry is not dead yet, but the Internet will almost certainly kill it. Some of the most famous works of literature were actually serials before they were turned into books. Before long, a smart entrepreneur will figure out how to create a Internet community for aspiring writers where writers will upload serials as inspiration hits them. Readers will be able to purchase access to the serials for a much lower price than an actual book costs. Once the right entrepreneur comes along and works out all of the details, the book publishing industry will be quickly killed off as an anachronism.

Nicolas Sarkozy on Africa

For anyone interested in the philosophizing about how Africa got where it is and how it could get elsewhere, have a read of the French President's first speech in Africa since his election:
What is tragic about Africa is that Africans haven't entered enough into the course of history.

Another liberal claiming some Americans are too ignorant to understand their own best interest

Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies?

More liberal elitism on display. He makes the assumption that the economic interest of working class and rural Americans are better served by Democratic policies, but never looks into it to see if his assumption is correct.

Update: I think his statement is false. There is a branch of Economics called Public Welfare Studies (i.e., the economic study of how government programs benefit society). That branch of Economic Theory provides studies and theories on what type of government programs promote the public benefit best. Those studies and theories generally say that the best way to promote the public welfare is through less regulation, free markets, and low taxes (specifically a consumption tax). Which political party does that sound more like?

when gut feelings are present, dispassionate reasoning is rare

Some liberals (like this author) feel they are right, so they never use dispassionate reasoning to see if they are actually right?

The Democrats could close much of the gap if they simply learned to see society
not just as a collection of individuals...

This author assumes that Democrats see society as a collection of individuals, but I do not believe that assessment holds up to dispassionate reasoning. It is true in some areas Democrats allow more personal freedom than the Republican party. However, the converse is also true (i.e., in some areas the Republican party allows more personal freedom than the Democratic party). So, a dispassionate assessment of the Democratic party is that it does not view society as a collection of individuals, but instead it views society as a hierarchical nanny state were the public benefit would be best served if the "ignorant" masses would bow their will to the dictates of the "elitist and intellectually superior" Democratic party so it that can pass "wise" regulations to protect the "ignorant" masses from their own stupidity.

Not the puritanical party it used to be

via shenanigans

Still Going to vote Republican
Finally, as economist Greg Mankiw points out in his blog, reacting to a similar calculation by Alan Blinder (both of them former chairs of the president's Council of Economic Advisers), correlation is not causation. Maybe economic statistics are better when the president is a Democrat for reasons having nothing to do with the president's skill in handling the economy. My own feeling about that is that as long as the pattern continues, who cares why? Correlation will do just fine.

Apparently, Michael Kinsley does not know what Correlation is. Just because something was correlated in the past does not mean that the relationship will hold in the future. The reason you care is because unless you know what the cause of the correlation is, you can not predict if the pattern will continue.

Furthermore, Michael Kinsley ignores:
  • Foreign Policy (the main area that the President has control over)
  • Congress has a much greater control over spending, taxes and the size of the federal deficit/surplus than the President does (the Democratic Party was in control of the House of Representatives for all but 12 years that he looked at).
  • Inflation, Unemployment and Economic growth are largely the product of monetary policy. Both parties have largely adopted the same views on monetary policy, but much of the economic problems that are seen in Kinsley's numbers were the result of Democratic Keynesian monetary policy that were not abandoned until Reagan returned America to a more Classical Monetarist monetary policy. The Democratic party has now adopted those policies. So what does that say about which party has a better understanding of Economic principles?

The Financial Crisis

Most of the current financial crisis revolves around banks having to write off bad loans in the housing market. So, I wonder if the current financial crisis was a direct result of the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008. This new law altered the way that banks could recoup the cost of their investment and might have inadvertently made bad loans much worse than they already were.

Update: More on the crisis

What we need more than anything is some clarity about what the polices are--both now and going forward.

Although the author is making his point about a different aspect of the crisis, this is kind of the point I was trying to make. The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 altered the clarity that financial institutions rely on to make wise investment decisions.

Update II: Accounting rules to blame

Among its many products, AIG offered insurance on derivatives built on other derivatives built on mortgages. It priced those according to computer models that no one person could have generated, not even the quantitative magicians who programmed them. And when default rates and home prices moved in ways that no model had predicted, the whole pricing structure was thrown out of whack.

The value of the underlying assets -- homes and mortgages -- declined, sometimes 10%, sometimes 20%, rarely more. That is a hit to the system, but on its own should never have led to the implosion of Wall Street. What has leveled Wall Street is that the value of the derivatives has declined to zero in some cases, at least according to what these companies are reporting.

The models might have failed because they failed to take in account the intervention of government into the market with the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008.

Howard Kurtz's Mea Culpa

Despite perceptions that Sen. John McCain has spent more time on the attack, Sen. Barack Obama aired more negative advertising last week than did the Arizona Republican, says a study released yesterday.
Considering that those perceptions were stoked by Howard Kurtz and other members of the media, I guess this article by Howard Kurtz is the closest that the Republicans will ever get to an apology from the media.

An Analysis of Donald Rumsfeld's DOD

A debate over the future of the military

Shelter by Ray Lamontagne

Joe Biden claims Founding Fathers were unpatriotic

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans.

What about the rest of Americans? Is it the patriotic for them to pay higher taxes?

Well, I say it is unpatriotic for Senators like Joe Biden to continuously find ways to spend over a trillion dollars a year yet give the vast majority of Americans no benefit in return for all of the wasteful spending the government does.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Google Navy

What’s interesting, then, is what Google’s proposal tells us about the kinds of pirates the company sees as posing the greatest threat to its profit. Apparently “political pirates” pose a greater threat to Google’s property than the seafaring kind do. If not, the company wouldn’t be willing to trade an increased chance of plunder by sea bandits for a reduced chance of plunder by government.

I still think that if Google looks to cross market this to disaffected libertarians that there is more profit potential in this than people think.

Men can be so evil


Near Death Experiences

Contrary to popular perception," Dr Parnia explains, "death is not a specific moment. It is a process that begins when the heart stops beating, the lungs stop working and the brain ceases functioning - a medical condition termed cardiac arrest, which from a biological viewpoint is synonymous with clinical death.
"During a cardiac arrest, all three criteria of death are present. There then follows a period of time, which may last from a few seconds to an hour or more, in which emergency medical efforts may succeed in restarting the heart and reversing the dying process. What people experience during this period of cardiac arrest provides a unique window of understanding into what we are all likely to experience during the dying process."

I have some radical thoughts on death that I posted here:

The National Anthem

[Josh] Howard approaches a camera and says: “‘The Star Spangled Banner’ is going on right now. I don’t even celebrate that (expletive). I’m black.”

It is a shame, but to be honest, I would like to see One Nation Under a Groove by Funkadelic become America's national anthem.

Dick Cheney

In the uncertain weeks following the 2000 election, you show Cheney focused on the process of building the new administration, with a particular attention to filling key cabinet posts. Who were the key figures that Cheney brought into the Bush Administration, and how did this build his influence as vice president?
Donald Rumsfeld has to be top of the list, because the Cheney-Rumsfeld axis dominated national security policy for the first six years of the Bush Administration. Bush knew he wanted Colin Powell, who at the time, according to Gallup polls, was the third most popular man in America. (Bonus points if you knew the first two were Bill Clinton and the pope.) Cheney wanted a counterweight.

Dan Coats had the job of Secretary of Defense sewn up, but he lost it when he blew his interview with George W. Bush. Donald Rumsfeld was not called in until after the Coats Debacle. From this interview, the author of this "anti-Cheney" book seems unaware of that fact. I am curious to see what he has to say about Cheney, but I am not going to waste my money on his book if he cannot get his basic facts right.

Most dishonest negative campaign ever?

via Tapped

Democratic Party view of Middle America

"I think that the notion that, 'By the way, have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African American?' I think that is for a number of people difficult," Sebelius said. "I think we need to talk about the fact that that is a real issue."
Are not arguments like this by Kathleen Sebelius (governor of Kansas), and other Democrats a way of saying that independent voters are racist (and anti-Muslim)? Why does the Democratic party have such a low opinion of independent voters? Why would independent voters be willing to put up with the Democratic party's constant questioning of their moral integrity?

Thanks Barack!

The one thing that I want to insist on is that, as I travel around the country, the American people are a decent people. Now they get confused sometimes. You know, they listen to the wrong talk radio shows or watch the wrong TV networks, um, but they’re, they’re basically decent, they’re basically sound.

Thanks Barack. You are decent to. Unfortunately, you get confused sometimes. You know, you listen to NPR, watch the wrong TV networks, read the wrong newspapers, listened to the wrong college professors (may I suggest the works of Milton Friedman). But you're basically decent, you're basically sound.

via Ace of Spades

Way to man up,108018

But knowing now that Hochuli feels so bad about it, it sort of takes some of the venom out of me. It's hard to hate a guy who knows he screwed up and feels bad about it.

Immigration fight

"We expect to see almost all of the original McCain-Kennedy bill become law during the first six months of a McCain Presidency."
The last time a Republican President tried to get the McCain-Kennedy Bill through a Democratic congress, it was defeated. What makes Mickey Kaus think that President McCain will have any more luck than President Bush did?

If precedent holds, it will be defeated and only serve to weaken the Republican brand in the eyes of pro immigration moderates and new legal immigrants who would otherwise be willing to support the Republican party.

Iraq and Iran

...the situation in the Gulf will have changed from one in which Iraq had to be contained to one in which it will become a major element in the containment of Iran. Compare this prospective situation not only to that obtaining in the late 1990s, when the US had to maintain a “no fly zone” and maintain a carrier force in the Gulf, but to the situation that would have occurred if Barack Obama’s strategy not to attempt the Surge had been followed, and any fair-minded person would concede that it is an improvement.

It is insights like this that lead me to believe that history will be far kinder to George W. Bush than his contemporaries think.

Monopsonist and Monopoly

Google’s power in advertising. The man who runs complained to the Justice Department after Google found that his site didn’t live up to its standards and raised the rates on him (Google’s way of shooing away sites it doesn’t approve of). The implication is that Google can wield too much power as a monopoly.

Google is both a Monopoly and also a Monopsonist.

It is the sole (or close to sole) seller of advertising placement on the web (i.e., a monopoly). It has gained that advantage through economy of scales. If Google's monopoly power is restricted, advertisers are not going to gain lower prices. Instead, they are going to lose the price advantages that come with dealing with a company that has an advantage over its competitors due to economies of scale.

It is also the sole (or close to sole) purchaser of advertising hosting placement on the web (i.e., a monopsonist). Generally, monopsonist have an incentive to pay a rate that causes dead weight loss. However, in Google's case, because the marginal revenue produced from each ad placement is essentially flat, and because the marginal cost of an extra ad placement is zero or close to it, Google should actually pay a rate that would result out of perfect competition.

Google may have non competitive market advantages, but the market that Google is dealing in should force it to pay for its products and buy its products at a competitive rate.

What to do about AIG?

As a conservative, I would prefer that the government had not felt the need to bail out AIG. However, I am guessing that many individuals who were involved in implementing the bailout, also would have preferred not to bail out AIG, but felt it was the only option left. So, I think that the most productive course for conservatives is to go forward trying to figure the quickest easiest and least costly way to rid the government of owning AIG, and Fannie May and Freddie Mac rather than getting indignant over the bailouts.

Socialism in reverse

The transformation of the USA into the USSRA United Socialist State Republic of America continues at full speed with the nationalization of AIG(via Glenn Reynolds and Fabius Maximus)

Last week we argued that, with the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie, comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke had started transforming the USA into the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America). This transformation of the USA into a country where there is socialism for the rich, the well connected and Wall Street (i.e. where profits are privatized and losses are socialized) continues today with the nationalization of AIG.

Generally, nations nationalize companies because they are extremely valuable. In America, we nationalize companies because they have no value.

..."hard is not hopeless"

David Ignatius pretty much nails it on the head:

...there's a lively debate within the military about just what accomplished the turnaround [in Iraq]. Was it numbers -- the five additional combat brigades? Was it the new counterinsurgency tactics Petraeus instilled among his troops? Or was it the brutally efficient new intelligence tools used by U.S. Special Operations forces to hunt and kill al-Qaeda in Iraq?

The answer, surely, is that it was a combination of all of the above. But the virtuous cycle that developed in Iraq would have been impossible without the signal of American resolve that President Bush sent in backing Petraeus and his strategy. Iraq was hurtling toward civil war in 2006 in part because Iraqis thought we were about to bail out; Petraeus and the surge changed that psychology.


"What did I learn at Harvard Law School or at my practice in Ohio or in the federal government that qualifies me to determine whether there ought to be - and therefore is - a right to abortion or to homosexual sodomy or a right to suicide?" Scalia said. "I don't know any more about that than Joe Six-pack."

Maybe the next president should nominate a Joe Six-pack to the supreme court. Seems, Scalia would endorse his qualifications. I kind of fit the demographic, so I would say I am more than willing to serve if called upon.

The Rosenbergs,0,490961.story
Nevertheless, after Sobell's confession of guilt, all other conspiracy theories about the Rosenberg case should come to an end. A pillar of the left-wing culture of grievance has been finally shattered. The Rosenbergs were actual and dangerous Soviet spies. It is time the ranks of the left acknowledge that the United States had (and has) real enemies and that finding and prosecuting them is not evidence of repression.

I wonder when some Rosenberg apologists will come forward and admit they were wrong. If this study is correct, some might actually have their convictions (i.e., their beliefs that the Rosenbergs were framed) strengthened.

Silver Lining by Rilo Kiley

Doing the dishes

Something tells me that he is not going to procrastinate anymore when it comes time to clean the dishes.

A Video that affirms my Pro Life convictions

Racist Imagery?

The cover of the September 2008 Literary Review of Canada (via the Oxblog)


Obama Waffles (via Crooks and Liars)

The makers of Obama Waffles were accused of using a cartoon with a racial stereotype. I wonder if anyone is going to accuse the Literary Review of Canada of the same?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Walt Disney Presents the Sarah Palin Story

I love stories with happy endings!


Update: Reader Steve Carrell writes: "That's what she said!"

What a great husband
Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin's husband, Todd Palin -- a member of the United Steelworkers (USW) union -- is funding efforts to defeat and even smear his wife.

I know quite a few husbands who would being doing same thing if they were in Todd's position.

Vaclav Klaus on Global Warming

“I am frustrated by the fact that many people, including some leading politicians who privately express similar views to my own, are publicly silent,” Klaus began. He believes the global warming issue “is not being debated in a rational way, but is being thrust into the public consciousness as one-sided propaganda.” He invokes the term “silent majority” to describe rationally thinking people who do not speak out against global warming propagandists.


"Most people make the mistake of thinking that Mr. Putin is their enemy. They are wrong. Their real enemy -- who would steal their money and personal freedoms -- is Mr. Al Gore.”


“Less developed countries have been taken hostage by this debate. Environmentalists have placed the growth ability of lesser-developed countries in jeopardy by limiting progress via increasing controls and restrictions. The ultimate victims of green ideology will be the world’s poorest people.”

A Flawed Study?

Nearly all these efforts rest on the assumption that good information is the antidote to misinformation. But a series of new experiments show that misinformation can exercise a ghostly influence on people's minds after it has been debunked -- even among people who recognize it as misinformation. In some cases, correcting misinformation serves to increase the power of bad information.

It is shame that the Washington Post published this article before the study has even been published. If the experiments were poorly designed the results may not actually show what the Washington Post and the authors of this study actually think they show.

via Jonah Lerher and Marc Ambinder

Age Appropriate Sex Education for Kindergartners

Unbelievable. Many people owe John McCain an apology. I am going to hold my breath until he gets those apologies.

Via and Ace of Spades.

Math and Instincts

“What’s interesting and surprising in our results is that the same system we spend years trying to acquire in school, and that we use to send a man to the moon, and that has inspired the likes of Plato, Einstein and Stephen Hawking, has something in common with what a rat is doing when it’s out hunting for food,” he said. “I find that deeply moving.”

Someone call the ACLU

If Obama wins the election, I think many conservatives are going to need to become card carrying members of the ACLU for their own protection.

Virginia borders Pennsylvania?

I just got an email from Barack Obama's campaign urging me to drive to Pennsylvania. The thing is... I live in Virginia. Virginia is supposed to be a swing state. They would rather have me knock on doors in Pennsylvania than Virginia? That sounds like they are abandoning Virginia.

Here's the email:

... you live right next door to a state that is once again shaping up to be a crucial general election battleground -- Pennsylvania....

Considering that Virginia does not border Pennsylvania, at least not on any map I can find, the e-mail may be more of a snafu (i.e., the e-mail was intended for someone living in Maryland or West Virginia) rather than a strategic choice by the Obama campaign to abandon Virginia.

via Glenn Reynolds

The Boob Vote

Obama is winning the college boob vote in a landslide.

Update: It is safe to view at work, but could cause potential embarrassment.

Mozambique by Bob Dylan

John McCain created the Blackberry

A Talmudic dictum

...[a] Talmudic dictum: "Those who are merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Large Hardon Collider, Theory of Everything and 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

One day I asked George Smoot, a Nobel laureate physicist, if he thinks our most basic questions will ever be answered.
"It depends on how I'm feeling on any particular day," he said. "But every day I go to work I'm making a bet that the universe is simple, symmetric, and aesthetically pleasing—a universe that we humans, with our limited perspective, will someday understand."

I am going to go very far out on a limb and say the answer is no. By attempting to answer the most basic questions regarding the universe, physicists are attempting to bring order out of chaos. However, the second law of thermodynamics dictates that entropy (disorder, or chaos) must always increase. So by attempting to make the universe seem more understandable (i.e., simple, symmetric, and aesthetically pleasing) they are actually making it more seem more complicated (i.e., random and chaotic).

Related thoughts here:

I Gotta Get Get Drunk by The Little Willies

I was shocked to learn that Norah Jones was the lead singer of the Little Willies. It is quite a departure, but she pulls it off.

An Obama loss
What if the impossible happens and Obama loses the election? Among Democrats, expect a rash of rage, depression, angst and finger-pointing at the media.
Someone has to lose. I hope it is Obama. However, in spite of my hopes, I am empathetic to what a Obama defeat may mean for his supporters. If Obama should lose, I hope they quickly find an inner peace with the outcome.

Spelling and Grammar

Spelling and grammar are the means to an end (i.e., to effectively express an idea in writing). They are important. However, given the choice between reading a good idea laced with poor spelling and grammar versus a bad idea with perfect spelling and grammar, I would prefer to read the good idea almost every time.

One might ask, what makes Obama think he can get away with this nonsense, when the facts are the precise opposite of his claims? But you know the answer to that question.

Media Bias? Some people deny that it exists. I wonder how they would answer the question.


I wonder if all the liberals who were outraged by the "dishonesty" of the McCain campaign are outraged by this dishonesty by Christopher Tarsa, chairman of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee, and possibly by the Obama campaign.

Via Glenn Reynolds

Universal Morality

If morality were truly universal, would most moral dilemmas exist?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Obama and Ayers

As a campaign, we’ve chosen not to make this relationship a big case in the campaign.

For those who are upset that the media is not doing more to investigate the Obama/Ayers relationship. If the McCain campaign does not care, neither will the media.

Putting the Economy in Perspective

McCain campaign adviser and former U.S. senator Phil Gramm was right in July when he said that our current state "is a mental recession." Maybe he was out of line when he added that the United States has become "a nation of whiners." But when it comes to the economy, we have surely become a nation of exaggerators.

America is neither a "nation of whiners" nor a "nation of exaggerators". Instead, America is a nation that has been badly served by the propaganda wing of the Democratic party (PWDP). The Republican party has yet to figure out a way to counter the false claims of the PWDP without being accused of being out of touch and lacking compassion. The truth will only prevail when the Republican party figures out how to do so.

Vista, Gates and Seinfeld

They've concluded that the best way to sell Windows Vista is by leaving it out of ads entirely.

As a Vista user, I would say that is probably a very good marketing strategy.

Money to Burn

Why does it seem that celebrities are so easy to dupe into spending large sums of money on a pointless fad?


As a libertarian leaning Republican should I be concerned and befuddled as how Republicans have lost Iowa? Or, should I be happy because it will be easier for Republicans to jettison any devotion they have to Ethanol and other farm subsidies?

Obama campaign admits to being most dishonest ever?

Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor, echoing Obama campaign language from Saturday, quickly blasted out a statement saying: “In case anyone was still wondering whether John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest campaign in history, today Karl Rove — the man who held the previous record — said McCain’s ads have gone too far.”
In response, Rove said: “Of course, they fail to say anything about the fact I said they were even more misleading.”

The Obama campaign claims that the McCain campaign is the most dishonest ever. In defense of this, they point to a Rove quote that says McCain's ad have gone too far. However, Rove also says that the Obama campaign has been more misleading than the McCain campaign. By quoting Rove, isn't the Obama campaign implicitly making the argument that the Obama campaign is the most dishonest ever?


I think it is a good thing that this person still has his sense of humor given the circumstances.

Given Palin her due

Amy Alexander has framed the issue the way more liberals should:

Progressives and feminists who sneer at women unwilling to separate that stimulus-response "I heart ballsy women!" from the business at hand--"Does she have the intellect and experience to be vice president?"--are spinning their wheels. They also conveniently overlook the possibility that Palin's raw ambition is very close to the self-confidence we want to encourage in our daughters. Sarah Palin is a strong woman, and that is good. Her politics, and what they may lead her to create for our democracy... not so much.

Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome attacking Palin, many Democrats and liberal commentators are mocking her faith, worldview, and life experiences. In that sense, a great unmasking is taking place. A wide swath of liberals are revealing their arrogance, their cultural elitism, and even their ugliness. It may be therapeutic. And it may also cost them the election.

It is ironic. Many conservatives have noticed how self destructive the attacks of the Democratic party and their liberal allies have been. Strategically, the best thing would be for conservatives to keep this opinion to themselves and let the Democratic party and their liberal allies self destruct in an orgy of hate and personal attacks against Palin. However, conservatives have too much honor, and feel obliged to point out how self destructive the behavior is in the hopes that it will cease and desist.

On the Bill Maher show, John Fund made the point as clearly as possible. Even though Bill Maher acknowledges that it is true, he can not stop himself from trying to destroy Palin.

The Propaganda Wing of the Democratic Party

As Andrew Breitbart said on PJTV the other night, you can hardly overstate the extent to which Big Media and the Democratic Party are one and the same these days.

Maybe conservatives should start referring to the mainstream media as the Propaganda Wing of the Democratic Party. I am sure journalist would love that.

The Obama Panic

If things are so bad for the Obama campaign, why haven't the markets shown it yet? I think McCain is going to win, but at the price they are trading at, I would have a hard time convincing myself that McCain is a good investment.

Palin and Daddy Roommate

Daddy's Roommate is one of the books that Palin supposedly wanted removed from the library.

Are there so many gay father's in Wasilla that this book is appropriate for the Wasilla Public Library? For some parents, having this book in the children's section is akin to having a Hustler magazine there. If the public library is striving to be a family friendly place, shouldn't it reflect that most citizens do not want their children having unsupervised access to this type of book? For those families that want public access to such a book, what is the harm in either buying the book for themselves or allowing the public library to set up a section that prevents children from having unsupervised access to such a book?

Related thoughts here:

Banning Books?

Why are conservatives conceding the moral high ground in the Palin book "banning" debate? First, according to Palin and all the evidence presented so far, Palin did not try to remove any books from the library. But, if she had, so what? It is not banning books to have them removed from the library. Any resident of Wasilla who wants to read the removed book can easily get on line and purchase a copy.

The library is a public entity belonging to the city of Wasilla. Why shouldn't the city of Wasilla have the right to determine what books are best suited to the needs of the community of Wasilla? Who is in a better position to make that decision, the unelected city librarian or the elected mayor and the city council?

Related thoughts here:

Conventional wisdom may be wrong

Conventional wisdom says that most Hillary supporters are going to vote for Obama because his politics are more in line with Hillary's than McCain's are. However, considering that Eleanor Clift is writing a puff piece on John McCain at this point in the election (she is even kind to evangelicals), conventional wisdom may be vastly underestimating the number of Hillary supporters who are going to vote for John McCain.

The McCain Surge

David Paul Kuhn provides 5 reasons that McCain and Republicans have surged in the polls. I think his reasons are actually a bi product of the root cause, which is that Bush Derangement Syndrome is a spent force and what is left of it has been unwisely redirected into Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Ever since Bush was elected, a small portion of the population has viscerally hated him and wanted him destroyed politically. For the first several years of Bush terms, these Bush haters were constantly thwarted. However, starting around 2005, events started mounting making the Bush Derangement Syndrome more palatable to the general public. In response to this, Bush did nothing (he provided no leadership, and provided no counter arguments that his supporters could rally behind).

Some of his supporters tried to rally to his defense. However, anyone who rallied to his defense would be subjected to insults questioning their intelligence and mocked for being brain washed kool aid drinkers. It takes an immense amount of fortitude to withstand these constant insults for having the audacity to support Bush. Considering that not even Bush was engaged in the "battle" for hearts and minds in America, most of his supporters decided standing up for Bush was not worth it.

Consequently, the Bush haters won. The battle is over. The Bush haters had nearly 2 years to gloat over that victory. However, that battle finally came to and end at the Republican National Convention. Bush is destroyed politically, and everyone has accepted it. The fight now is for the future, and McCain is providing the good leadership for the Republican troops, who are rallying around him and showing independents and Democrats that they can support a Republican without needing the fortitude it takes to defend Bush.

The Bush haters can continue to try to destroy Bush politically, but at this point, to most Americans it just come across at gloating over a victory that has already been won and is not worth talking about anymore. Some are redirecting their fury to Palin, but those efforts are back firing and giving Republicans another strong figure to rally around who seems very willing to again provide leadership in "battle" for the hearts and minds of the American people.

Update: This Onion video mocks the phenomenon of which I speak.

This isn't Cambodia being seared into her memory

Attacks like this make the Obama campaign seem desperate.