Monday, June 30, 2008
UPDATE 7/1: Obama has come out against the initiative.
UPDATE 7/2: And I'm sorry to report that McCain has announced he's for it.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
This is not compassionate conservatism (which flattered the mind of the compassionate donor), it’s hard-work conservatism, which uses government to increase the odds that self-discipline and effort will pay off.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
--A creepy yellow light (low-pressure sodium) in which everyone looks bad and (at least initially) feels uncomfortable; somehow it made me feel I was a Cylon.
--Dichroic glass hanging from a chandelier stand, casting differently colored shadows on the wall depending on the angles of the light and viewer.
--A cascade of water droplets set against strobe lights; not recommended for people with epilepsy or heart conditions.
--"Wall eclipse": a rotating mirror suspended from the ceiling, casting a shadow across the entirety of a rear wall once per minute.
The exhibit, called "Take Your Time," ends on June 30.
I think one Barr effect is the continuing decline of critical faculties at Reason. That this thoroughgoing social conservative and anti-immigration hard-liner (with a poor record on fiscal conservatism) should be getting an enthusiastic reception at the magazine of "free minds and free markets" suggests that McCain Derangement Syndrome has reached an advanced stage over there, and/or that they've concluded their own circulation numbers require pandering to their more illiberal readers.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It was August 17, 1982, and Dr. Doom had changed his mind.
Economist Henry Kaufman, then at Salomon Brothers, had come to be known by the comic-book moniker for his gloomy but influential forecasts of spiraling interest rates and inflation. But now he released a morning memo predicting that interest rates would decline over the coming year and “inflation expectations will erode gradually.”
That was about all that was needed to send both stocks and bonds into a rally that day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained a record 38.81 points to close at 831.24. The next day, for the first time ever, more than 100 million shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. And by the end of 1982, the Dow had surged past the 1,000 line and was not looking back.
The roaring eighties had begun.
Well, at least the all-caps button on Barr's keyboard is working. Here by the way is what the Libertarian Party supposedly stands for on immigration, as stated on its website:
We’re facing a “new” crisis: BORDER SECURITY.
But really, this is the same crisis we faced last year at this time, when Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy tried to push their “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” bill on us—supported by Senator Barack Obama!
The American people were able to STOP the McCain-Kennedy bill—but will we be able to stop PRESIDENT McCain (or PRESIDENT Obama) from pushing it through again?
We need to send a strong message to both the Republicans AND the Democrats, to let them know that WE MEAN BUSINESS when it comes to securing the border!
When large numbers of otherwise decent people routinely violate a law, the law itself is probably the problem. To argue that illegal immigration is bad merely because it is illegal avoids the threshold question of whether we should prohibit this kind of immigration in the first place.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Pawlenty may genuinely want to ease the strain on working people. But what he's selling them is a self-help manual, albeit in language they can relate to. It's not the party of Sam's Club per se--but of moving from Sam's Club to the country club in ten simple steps.So, trying to foster upward mobility is a bad thing? Better that "working people" should know their place, be angry about it, and vote Democratic, perhaps?
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
UPDATE: A few blog posts later, Nick Gillespie has the nerve to criticize somebody else for running a rotten editorial cartoon.
President Gerald Ford inherited a dilapidated economy and a demoralized nation. As he took office, inflation had moved into double digits, and economic growth was stalled. Early in his tenure, he held an economic summit, getting advice from various experts and asking the public to send him ideas on how to conserve energy and restrain prices....
In early 1975, the stock market started moving up, and by the second quarter the economy was growing again. Inflation, which had peaked in late 1974, was back in single digits, though still high by historical standards. In early 1976, the Dow pushed above the 900 line, and before long it was sporadically closing above the 1,000 level. Inflation continued to fall, dropping to the vicinity of 6 percent. The administration’s focus on restraining federal spending seemed to be doing some good.
Winston Churchill may well have been on the wrong side about India, about the gold standard, about the rights of labor and many other things, and he may have had a lust for war, but we may also be grateful that there was one politician in the 1930s who found it intolerable even to breathe the same air, or share the same continent or planet, as the Nazis. (Buchanan of course makes plain that he rather sympathizes with Churchill about the colonies, and quarrels only with his "finest hour." This is grotesque.) As he closes his argument, Buchanan again refuses to disguise his allegiance. "Though derided as isolationists," he writes, "the America First patriots kept the United States out of the war until six months after Hitler had invaded Russia." If you know anything at all about what happened to the population of those territories in those six months, it is rather hard to be proud that America was neutral. But this is a price that Buchanan is quite willing to pay.By the way, in case you're wondering why the Lew Rockwell types don't revere Churchill for reinstating the gold standard in Britain, it's because he set it at an incorrect level. Presumably, Ron Paul or some other such technocrat would do better.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Is there any similarity between "having an actual affair" and having sex with a prostitute while you're married? I think most people would answer yes. Then consider: Is there any similarity between having sex with a prostitute while you're married and paying to watch a prostitute perform sexual acts for your voyeuristic gratification? Again, I think a lot of people would say yes: There's a distinction, obviously, but I don't think all that many spouses would be inclined to forgive their husbands (or wives) if they explained that they only liked to watch the prostitute they'd hired. And hard-core porn, in turn, is nothing more than an indirect way of paying someone to fulfill the same sort of voyeuristic fantasies: It's prostitution in all but name, filtered through middlemen, magazine editors, and high-speed internet connections. Is it as grave a betrayal as cheating on your spouse with a co-worker? Not at all. But is it on a moral continuum with adultery? I don't think it's insane to say yes.Three comments:
(1) Each of the scenarios Douthat mentions is different from the others. These differences are cumulative. It's like saying that punching someone is similar to cutting them with a piece of glass, which is similar to stabbing them with a knife, which is similar to blowing their brains out. By the end, you've made a pretty big leap.
(2) Douthat apparently knows this, because he hedges his bets at the end by saying these things are on the same "moral continuum." But the original contention, which Julian Sanchez rightly labeled "obviously insane," was that porn and an affair are equivalent.
(3) Does Douthat's condemnation apply to cases where the spouse knows about the porn? What about if they look at it together -- is that equivalent to having group sex? Just asking!
UPDATE: I have another question: Is going to see a movie about a murder on the same "moral continuum" as murdering somebody?
One example of Nozick's sanctioning aggression against property rights is his concern with the private landowner who is surrounded by enemy landholders who won't let him leave. To the libertarian reply that any rational landowner would have first purchased access rights from surrounding owners, Nozick brings up the problem of being surrounded by such a set of numerous enemies that he still would not be able to go anywhere. But the point is that this is not simply a problem of landownership. Not only in the free society, but even now, suppose that one man is so hated by the whole world that no one will trade with him or allow him on their property. Well, then, the only reply is that this is his own proper assumption of risk. Any attempt to break that voluntary boycott by physical coercion is illegitimate aggression against the boycotters' rights. This fellow had better find some friends, or at least purchase allies, as quickly as possible.Rothbard's response strikes me as utterly lame. In the anarchocapitalist scenario, it wouldn't require the whole world to be against you -- just one or a handful of neighboring property owners. Thus, it would be vastly more likely that someone's freedom to, say, walk across town would be trampled under anarchocapitalism than under a system that has public streets. I'm not sure what an anarchocapitalist system would maximize, but it isn't freedom.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
UPDATE: More here, including a Brooklyn Bridge photo comparison.
Friday, June 13, 2008
But the really notable part is that Richard Hoagland, described as having "documented connections between ancient structures on the landscape of the planet mars and the ruins of ancient civilizations on Earth" recently addressed the Libertarian Party convention in Denver.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
At closest approach, Solar Probe+ will be 7 million km or 9 solar radii from the sun. There, the spacecraft's carbon-composite heat shield must withstand temperatures greater than 1400o C and survive blasts of radiation at levels not experienced by any previous spacecraft. Naturally, the probe is solar powered; it will get its electricity from liquid-cooled solar panels that can retract behind the heat-shield when sunlight becomes too intense. From these near distances, the Sun will appear 23 times wider than it does in the skies of Earth.(Via SciAm long-timer Michael Battaglia.)
It may be, as Thomas Madden argues in his interesting new book Empires of Trust: How Rome Built--and America Is Building--a New World, that the U.S. has consensual alliances reminiscent of the Roman Republic's alliances -- an "empire of trust" as opposed to an "empire of conquest" or an "empire of commerce." But there is no such nuance in Sullivan's overheated accusations.
Monday, June 9, 2008
More videos, with Barr's remarks after the debate, are here.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I stated in my presentation that Bob Barr had voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, and Barr called out "I wasn't even in Congress then. Do your research." I then asked if he'd ever supported the legislation and he was oddly silent. I'd first heard about Barr's stand on the issue from a post by Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO and I hadn't seen this follow-up:
Rep. Bob Barr and Entitlements [Ramesh Ponnuru]So again, I will point out to my libertarian purist friends that their nemesis, John McCain, voted against the Medicare expansion, and their new hero, Bob Barr, backed the idea.
Earlier, I noted that Rep. Barr had voted to create a prescription-drug entitlement in Medicare. Clark Stooksbury points out that Barr had left Congress before the bill passed in 2003. That's correct. But Barr was still in Congress in 2002, and he voted for the idea then. (I phrased the post a bit clumsily, so it sounded as though I were claiming that Barr had voted for the bill in 2003.)
Video of the event may be available soon. I'll keep you updated.
UPDATE: I'm told the video is of poor quality, and getting it online will take some time. But whenever it is ready, readers of this blog will be among the first to know.
UPDATE 6/9: Video here.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
UPDATE 6/9: Video here.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Mountain laurel in bloom:
I've posted more at Scientific American Community. (Photo credits: C.B.C.S.)
UPDATE: Scientific American has chosen to delete its "community" section, so the link above will not work.