Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Layoffs are always the sign of a healthy company. Looks like the Grey Lady is tightening her corset.

Godly Eye for the Intelligent Guy

Given GodolHador's recent guest series of bizarre Genesis vignettes (here, here, and here), this piece from the New Yorker is a lovely bit of humor.
And the Lord God said, “Let there be light,” and lo, there was light. But then the Lord God said, “Wait, what if I make it a sort of rosy, sunset-at-the-beach, filtered half-light, so that everything else I design will look younger?” “I’m loving that,” said Buddha. “It’s new.

Those Dashing Newsmen

Eugene Robinson has a glowing piece about the warm ovation Brokaw, Rather, and Jennings received at the Emmy's. It's nice to see him usher in the new era of ...er, Television news? What century is this guy living in? He manages to talk about this golden era of the 24 hour news with nary a mention of blogs or the internet. Welcome to the wasteland, Eugene.

RIP, Simon Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal has died.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Krugman Must Run the Subscription Dept.

The NYT just priced me out of their market.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Getting Off the Dime

I've been meaning to post something about post-modernism for a while and since I still haven't been able to get my thought together, I figure I would just throw this out there.

Post-modernism provides useful tools of deconstructing human institutions, and gaining a better understanding of the evolution of those institutions, i.e., they are product of social norms and human evolution. I do think post-modernism is given a little too much credit in that department, since most of its conclusions are really just products of the scientific revolution that began way back in the Enlightenment and the science of the 20th century.

Many post-modern thinkers freely adopt scientific principles to deconstruct a concept, but are then reluctant to use scientific methodology to posit an alternative. My biggest frustration with post-modenrism is akin to GH's frustration with skeptics who "make no claim." But is it wrong to look to science for normative choices? If you recognize that there is no basis for promoting an individual value over the values of others, isn't welfare maximization the next logical step? Most of the post-modern though I have read refer to scientific literature to demonstrate the flaws in a policy choice and then revert to an appeal to emotion in formulating their alternative. Welfare maximization is the way of "getting off the dime" and the first step to choosing how a society should function.

Vioxx Juries

You know there is truth to be had when the Washington Post agrees with the WSJ on matters of jury payouts.

Unfortunately for Merck, scientific facts didn't play much of a role in the first Vioxx trial, which ended on Aug. 19. The Texas jury in that case awarded $253.4 million to the widow of a man who died of a heart attack triggered by arrhythmia, which is not a condition Vioxx has been proven to cause. The jury, declaring that it wished to "send a message" to Merck, decided to make an enormous symbolic award anyway. Besides, said one juror afterward, the medical evidence was confusing: "We didn't know what the heck they were talking about."
Yesterday, I had the opporunity to hear a law student with a nuclear engineer over whether objective, scientific facts are essential to adjudicating a dispute in the adversarial process. The engineer's point is that you can boil down every dispute among scientific experts to a difference in policy or a a reflection of policy choices in the methodology of a given scientific study. (If you are the critigal legal studies type think "normative" choices.) This point totally flew over the head of the student. It seems like a given that scientific experts make stuff up. But ultimately science does promulgate objective truth and we would be wise to understand that.

The Hitch vs. Galloway

This is so good it has to be fattening. I listened to this on Wednesday without the benefit of video and was actually caught laughing out loud several times. Here is the debate in all its video glory.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


If the emotion of the day seems to be passing you by, listen to these clips of FDNY radio communications at the World Trade Center. Far more potent than any kinah I have ever read.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Left's Latest Spokesman

I think Kayne West is exactly what today's youth needs. Here are his thoughts on higher education:
You keep it going man, you keep those books rolling,
You pick up those books your going to read
And not remember and you roll man.
You get that associate degree, okay,
Then you get your bachelors, then you get your masters
Then you get your master's masters,
Then you get your doctorate,
You go man, then when everybody says quit
You show them those degree man, when
Everybody says hey, your not working,
Your not making in money,
You say look at my degrees and you look at my life,
Yeah I'm 52, so what, hate all you want,
But I'm smart, I'm so smart, and i'm in school,
And these guys are out here making
Money all these ways, and I'm spended mine to be smart.
You know why?
Because when I die, buddy, you know
What going to keep me warm, that right, those degrees .

Clearly more articulate than the last flavor of the moment.

The Battle for New Orleans

According to the AP, the gunbattles for New Orleans have started. It seems that Army Corps of Engineers contractors were fired upon by "insurgents." Early reports suggest that the police returned fire, killing five gunmen.

Of course that doesn't stop the insane left from deciding that the police were the ones shooting at the contractors. Not that I hold the New Orleans PD in very high respect.

The Real Problem

The real problem that Katrina exposed is not the Bush Administration's zeal to kill black people. It's that municipal elections like those for New Orlean's office of the mayor select professional politicians, not leaders. The collective punditry seems to think it reasonable to expect the federal government have anticipated the disaster, while surely the local political leadership understood the gravity of New Orleans altitude and lack of resources to conduct an entire evcuation. Why didn't Nagin use the school buses and public transit buses to evacuate the poor. If he knew that the city did not have adequate resources for an evacuation, why didn't he get Blanco to declare a state of emergency ex ante?

Governor Blanco has still not called for a state of emergency, and the federal government is still only playing second fiddle to a state bureaucracy that has already failed to protect its constituents. This is what she had to say before Katrina made landfall:
"We know we're going to have high wind damage. We're hoping we're not going to lose a lot of lives."

There's leadership for you.

Apparently the WaPo got the story wrong, and Blanco did declare a state of emergency. That doesn't change the basic problem with her decisions before Katrina hit and her political jockeying afterwards.

Our Own Homegrown Insurgency

Combat operations have begun in New Orleans:
“This place is going to look like Little Somalia,” Brig. Gen. Gary Jones, commander of the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force told Army Times Friday as hundreds of armed troops under his charge prepared to launch a massive citywide security mission from a staging area outside the Louisiana Superdome. “We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.”

My question- who's to say these insurgents do not have a legitimate grievance? Did Jesus tell Bush to kill these innocent civilians too? I'm working on a brilliant little theroy of my own. What's in Louisiana? OIL! 'Nuff said.


Sorry all, real life has kept me busy these past weeks. I am trying to kick my new found Robitussin habit and get back on the blogging train.