The Northern Irish also have some grammatical peculiarities, for example using the past participle instead of the passive infinitive (I hope I’ve got that right): eg That light bulb needs changed, for that light bulb needs to be changed.
Curiously, replacing the past participle with the passive infinitive (which I believe you got right) is not unique to Northern Ireland. It is also quite common in Pittsburgh.
When the post office threatened to cut off Saturday delivery, Marco pointed out that most of his mail is unwanted catalogs. As he wrote, “The world would be a better place if we didn’t waste time, money, and natural resources to create, deliver, and throw away all of this junk.”
Or, as Edward Nickens writes in Audubon Magazine, “Retailers, betting that a direct-mail deluge more reliable than snow on Christmas will badger us into buying more stuff, annually clog our collective mailboxes with some 20 billion catalogs. Where does all that paper come from? The ugly truth: Much of it is pulped from Canada’s boreal forest, an emerald halo of woodlands, wetlands, and rivers that mantles North America.”
Catalog Choice is a way you can cut out some of your unwanted catalogs. Sign up. It’s free. (Or, rather, it’s supported by donations.) When the junk catalog shows up, type in the customer number on the mailing label and Catalog Choice will contact the company to tell them to stop sending you catalogs. Generally, the merchants honor the request—particularly the larger ones who are responsible for the bulk of the catalogs. After using the service for about a year and a half, a few catalogs still slip through from companies I have never heard of, but they’re almost entirely eliminated.
This is the best`criticism of the stimulus I have read.
Strip out the permanent government programs. Many of them are worthy, but we can have that debate another day. Make the short-term stimulus bigger. Many liberal economists have been complaining it is too small, so replace the permanent programs with something like a big payroll tax cut, which would help the working class.
Add in a fiscal exit strategy so the whole thing is budget neutral over the medium term. Finally, coordinate the stimulus package with plans to shore up the housing and financial markets. Until those come to life, no amount of stimulus will do any good.
This is rather amazing. The utility company showed customers how their utility usage compared to neighbors with similar homes. Those who did well got one or two smiley faces. Those who did poorly initially got a frowny face, but people got up set about the frowny faces, so they were discontinued. Apparently the program worked. Apparently we are so competitive by nature that a desire to beat the neighbors outweighs both financial savings and a desire to preserve the planet for our children.
The exlusionary rule is the one that says that evidence obtained through police misconduct cannot be used at trial. This is a huge check against police misconduct. It also means that seriously guilty people (like Bill Ayers) may go free over relatively minor misconduct.
This case, Herring v. United States, holds that the exclusionary rule does not apply in cases of “isolated negligence.” A guy was arrested and searched based on a warrant that had been withdrawn months ago but not removed from a database. He had some meth on him.
This is 5-4 decision. Kennedy and the usual suspects (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts) are the five. While I see credible arguments for either side, I think Ginsburg has a stronger point in the defense. Is the exclusionary rule a tool to prevent individual police officers or is it a fundamental limit on the power of the state? Ginsburg takes the latter view—and I think she is right. This is not a technical error in getting a search warrant. This is a man who should not have been arrested. It is not okay for the police to arrest random people—and a negligent mistake suggesting that it was okay to arrest this person should not alter the underlying unconstititionality of the search.
“Is it “new” to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn’t just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to “restore” the “same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago.”
Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years — the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world — America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved — and resulted in — the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.”—
To put Krauthammer’s point about how much we respect the Muslim world differently:
Come on, baby, you know I respect you. That’s why I do it. But when you act like this, I get so angry—I respect you so much. And I get all torn up inside when you treat me bad. I know you can be so much better. That’s why I get violent, baby. Sometimes I do things I don’t mean to do, I respect you so much and I hate myself when I get invadey like that. Don’t look at me like that! You know I didn’t mean to liberate you that hard. You just made me lose control. I’m going to change. We’re going to change together, I promise, baby.
I worry that we’re sometimes less the world’s policeman and more the world’s abusive boyfriend. In seriousness, our primary motives in Iraq and Afghanistan were not liberation.
“If you somehow take that bonus out of the economy, it really will create unemployment. It means less spending in restaurants, less spending in department stores, so everything has an impact”—
Rudy Giuliani, who seems to have just defended exorbitant Wall Street bonuses as a welfare for the super rich. Afterall, if the super rich run out of money, they’ll have a hard time being super rich—which means that businesses that cater exclusively to the expensive whims super rich will be in trouble.
Mr. Giuliani apparently subscribes to the toilet flush theory of economics. Dump in water at the top. The wealth doesn’t exactly trickle down—it just goes around in circles, keeping some rich turds afloat, until it builds up enough force to send everything down the tubes and into the sewer. Also, it stinks.
I keep reading articles on how the trial lawyers are the source of all our problems. Clearly, the justice system should be faster and more efficent, though its unclear what changes would make it so without compromising other things. And there are good arguments to make about how incentives are aligned in class-action cases. But arguing that there are too many lawsuits filed by trial attorneys is like arguing that there are too many problems.
Most of the truly frivilous law suits are filed by pro se litigants who lack either the legal knowledge or the perspective to understand what a worthwhile case is. But trial lawyers tend to like winning, which means not taking on a case unless there is a real harm and a reasonable chance of prevailing. The companies that are screaming, “Let’s have tort reform so we don’t get sued all the time,” should consider not doing the things that get them sued all the time.
“How is it an impeachable offense to protect low-income parents from losing their healthcare? How is it an impeachable offense to keep those families in a position to be able to see their doctors?”—
Rod Blagojevich has been impeached by unanimous vote, just days after I learned how to spell his name. He spent an hour defending himself, in which he invoked. Here is a video of the Senators voting on his fate:
My favorite moment is in the middle when the heavy-set guy pauses before voting as if he wanted to make it suspenseful.
A number of smaller banks that did not invest heavily in risky assets are turning down millions in bailout money. The bailout money comes with a set of strings—and the banks (reasonably) concluded that the money isn’t worth it if they don’t need it. I think this is a reasonable thing.
Rush Limbaugh wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on the stimulus bill. I think he’s wrong on the facts of the recession, the cure for the recession, and the utility of cutting taxes. As much as I think Limbaugh’s full of hot air (and as much as this sentence is going to hurt my readership), his central point is worth discussing.
Fifty-three percent of American voters voted for Barack Obama; 46% voted for John McCain, and 1% voted for wackos. Give that 1% to President Obama. Let’s say the vote was 54% to 46%. As a way to bring the country together and at the same time determine the most effective way to deal with recessions, under the Obama-Limbaugh Stimulus Plan of 2009: 54% of the $900 billion — $486 billion — will be spent on infrastructure and pork as defined by Mr. Obama and the Democrats; 46% — $414 billion — will be directed toward tax cuts, as determined by me.
Let’s get the obvious objections out of the way.
As determined by me. No. Because Rush Limbaugh did not get 46% of the vote. In fact, candidates Limbaugh backed in the primary did not even win the primary. But it’s true that a large percentage of the country would prefer some sort of tax cut to an increase in spending.
Pork. There are many things government can spend money on that are not “pork” and most of the stuff the conservatives are calling pork are things like education and cleaning up giant toxic messes. But I’ll go easy on Mr. Limbaugh here. Robot-heart had done a great job discussing this, so I won’t repeat it.
54% to 46%. This is the wrong number. So is the electoral congress makeup. Congress is putting together the stimulus bill so the actual split should be something closer to 60-40. Maybe 59-41.
But could Congress come up with a bill that consists of about 40% tax cuts or credits and has strong bipartisan support? A good $83 billion is already going to increase the EIC—which pretty much everybody agrees works well. Could another 30% or so of the money be in the form of tax cuts, credits, or incentives? If we’re throwing around this kind of money, why not cover as many bases as possible? Sure, I think a lot of it is wasted money—but a good portion of the country thinks the way I want to spend money would be wasteful.
Of course, if the original plan is not big enough, diluting it with a bunch of dubiously effective tax cuts would make it even less likely to succeed.
AZSpot has linked to 10 Reasons Eating Raw is Healthier For You and the Planet. With all due respect to Mr. Spot (who does not always agree with everything he links to,) a raw foods diet is not better for you and the planet. It will lead to weight loss because you can’t eat anything—and the stuff you can eat is generally pretty good for you. Let’s look at the claims.
1. Live foods. … Cooking food also diminishes the natural life energy.
Unfortunately, consuming raw foods will kill the raw foods, leading to harmful increase in death energy inside your body. Except that “death energy” is something I just made up. It has a lot in common with “natural life energy.”
2. Enzymes. Cooking food destroys much of the natural enzymes (your body can also create enzymes, but can only do so much) in your food that are needed to break down nutrients….
3. Insane energy. You won’t know this unless you try it for yourself, but eating raw gives you an amazing boost in energy. I used to get tired around 2 or 3pm during the day. Now I simply don’t have that problem. When I do get tired, it doesn’t last nearly as long and an orange or apple will recharge me within a few minutes.
It turns out that eating an apple or orange is actually quite good for you. It has a lot of energy packed into it—and since it takes a while to digest, it gets released slowly. Banannas are also great.
4. Better sleep and less sleep needed. I’ve slept better than ever while eating raw. But most importantly, I don’t wake up feeling tired or groggy anymore. On most days, I wake up feeling full of energy.
I may be seeing a pattern here. Did the author drop caffeine when he started the raw food diet? Because that would explain these last to.
5. Increased mental clarity. Eating raw has helped me focus on the things that are important and made me more emotionally in tune with others. I feel like a wall of fog has been removed in my mind. It’s easier to think clearly and focus for long periods of time.
This one isn’t particularly scientifically rigorous—but it makes a certain amount of sense if a raw foods diet is coupled with things like eating breakfast and generally paying attention to what you eat. But if this is dietary, it has nothing to do with the rawness of the foods.
6. Eat as much as you want…. I can eat as much as I want, and while I will feel full, I don’t feel weighed down or tired.
7. Less cleanup. Simply put, there aren’t many dishes to wash when you eat fruit and vegetables. Although if you do compost (like I do), you’ll probably have to do it more often.
These are legitimate benefits. If you cut most foods out of your diets, you sure have a lot fewer dishes to do, and it’s a lot harder to fill yourself up.
8. No packaging. Eating raw means less packaging all around.
This is true—but so does buying bulk food or eating less processed food.
9. More “regularity.” …
Fiber is a good thing.
10. Connection with the earth. Eating food that’s been freshly picked just feels different. You feel more connected to the earth and more grounded. Eating lots of processed foods — frozen or from a box — makes creates more of a gap and leaves you feeling disconnected from the earth that sustains you.
This may be what it comes down to. I fully recommend eating locally grown food as much as possible for exaclty this reason—but feel free to cook it. In fact, the lower carbon footprint and increased freshness of local foods has significant benefits. (If you haven’t, grab a locally grown tomato, which is more likely to be selected for taste than for ability to stay fresh while shipped thousands of miles.) Knowing some of your foods history is likely to lead to a much healthier diet. And there are significant environmental advantages to an organic or vegetarian diet.
I shouldn’t be too harsh on the raw fooders. If you really want to lose a lot of weight in a fairly healthy way, there are worse ways to go than raw foods. It has clearly delineated boundaries—and it’s virtually impossible to absorb too many calories on a raw foods diet. You will avoid a lot of stuff that’s bad for you, and probably learn to prepare a bunch of interesting dishes. But there is no scientific or dietary reason why raw foods are better than cooked foods. If you really want some kind of crazy dietary practice, I suggest eating exclusively food grown within fifty miles of where you live.
Test your sense of time: this game challenges you to hold a button for 0.2 seconds, then 0.4, then 0.6, 0.8, and so on. You’re allowed 100 milliseconds of leeway either way of the target. 0.2 and 0.4 are easy, but how do you time 1.8 and 2.0? I got to 2.2, but no further. (via kottke)
This is really quite cool. I failed epically the first few times, then made it to 4.6 seconds. And now I have a method to reasonably accurately time something down to the tenth of a second without a watch.
The Presbyterian Church, USA, like most mainstream Protestant churches, is trying to figure out how to fully include people of all sexual orientations—and like many churches, is having a rough time with it. They got off to a bad start in 1997 when the added this language to the Book of Order:
Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.
I’ve highlighted the two problems. First, that whole “marriage between a man an a woman” thing is new—and excludes a lot of faithful people called to service. Now, somebody will undoubtedly say that homosexual people “welcome” to serve, so long as they repress all sexual desires. This places an unfair (and unwelcoming) burden on a certain group of believers that 1) is not scriptural, and 2) (for those who are into “natural law” arguments) is against nature.
The second problem is that bit about the sins mentioned in “the confessions.” This refers to the Book of Confessions, which is a collection of a number of important church documents, at least one of which was written by Puritans. As you can imagine, it calls a lot of things sins. Like dancing and card playing. In other words, the Presbyterians should not be ordaining anybody. Additionally, the Book of Confessions contains an error.
If you happen to be on the fence on this one, I should point out that this applies not only to pastors but to elders and deacons. The deacons are the people charged with things like visiting the sick or setting up cookies for coffee hour or other purely service-oriented things. The idea that accepting one’s sexual orientation should disqualify somebody from this sort of service is absurd.
Here is the new language proposed in Amendment 08-B:
Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate’s sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.
There are a few advantages to this one. It doesn’t have any explicitly discriminatory language. It would allow somebody to be constitutionally ordained. It allows churches and Presbyteries to choose their own leaders.
So it’s an important amendment. If you have Presbyterian friends, please bring this to their attention. The Presbyteries are voting now—and it’s likely to be close. And I would really like the Presbyterians to come out on the side of inclusiveness.
There are some interesting intellectual property cases involving “sound alikes.” Ford wanted to use a Bette Midler song in a commercial and secured a license for the song but not the recording. Midler, unwilling to turn her art to profit, turned them down. So the company got a Bette Midler impersonator. Midler could not win on copyright grounds, but won on a common law right of publicity. (Ford v. Midler)
There is a similar case where The Romantics are suing over a sound alike version of one of their songs in Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero gets to use a song that’s hard to distinguish from the original but doesn’t have to pay all the royalties.
But Bart Simpson might have a harder time suing on his right of publicity because he’s fictional and thus has no rights of publicity.
Somebody screwed up here. I don’t know who. The end result is that the regardless of what happens over the next few months, the Republicans will insist that the stimulus is a disaster while the Democrats will insist it is working. There will be ample evidence to support either position. Unfortunately, it will be very hard to find somebody without a vested interest one way or another.
Hopefully some compromise will get worked out in the Senate that gets about half the Republicans on board.
It will pass. The votes are there. Hopefully it won’t be the largest pork barrel ever. Since the democrats are supporting it and they have a large enough majority, there shouldn’t be too much need to cram in specific bits of pork to win votes.
The “why didn’t it work?” articles will start about a week after it goes into effect. This will be incredibly premature—because success isn’t even defined. Does that mean reverse the down turn? Stop it? Slow it? How do we measure this? I suspect historians will be arguing over the merits of the plan fifty years from now.
Southpol asks what strategy Republicans should follow regarding the stimulus. They don’t want to look like a rubber stamp. They also don’t want get caught on the wrong side of Obama’s immense popularity. I would think the answer should be obvious.
Republican legislators should vote for what they think is best for the country. This bill is not a piece of political circus. The consequences one way or another could be immense. This is not one to play politics with. Some Republicans may view this as the most disasterous bill ever to come before Congress. If that’s the case, they should vote against it. Some might see it as necessary but undesirable. They should vote for it. Neither side should be looking to gain political points for this one. Both should offer their best arguments and suggestions in good faith and vote for or against the bill depending on what they think is best for the country.
Sds links to this article that argues that Obama’s approach to the Middle East does not differ materially from Bush’s. It points out that 1) Bush said many of the same things Obama has said, 2) Bush gave interviews to some of the same people Obama did, and 3) Obama wants to shift focus to Afghanistan. I’ll set Afghanistan aside for a bit and talk about why Obama’s tone actually is different from Bush’s.
Firstly, there is a question of emphasis. Obama’s first interview was with Al-Arabiya. He is doing a serious diplomatic push. Now, it may or may not last—but thus far, Obama has signalled a willingness to spend a lot more energy on outreach than Bush did.
Secondly, Bush was hampered by the Republicans. There are people in both parties, who say dumb things. But the Republicans had the Conservapedia people and this guy who wanted to “chase [the Muslims] back to their caves.” When he was surrounded by hawks, it was very difficult of Bush to extend an olive branch.
Thirdly, Bush and Obama communicate differently. Bush gets a bad rap for being unwilling to listen to dissenting views. I don’t think it’s entirely fair, but he comes off more decisive than thoughtful. Obama comes across as a better listener. He seems willing to try to find common ground.
Fourthly, Obama defeated Bush. Whatever credability Bush had in the Middle East, he blew when he invaded Iraq. Then there was Guantanamo and a series of other disasters. Obama has not invaded Iraq. Thus, countries (such as Iran) where many people like Americans but hate the United States, were quite happy when Obama won. Obama has credability both for beating Bush and for not being Bush.
Fifthly, I believe Obama. When Bush talked about the Axis of Evil it didn’t make him a lot of friends. Did he really exhaust diplomatic measures before invading Iraq? Clearly not. When Iran signalled a willingness to engage with us shortly after we invaded Iraq, did Bush follow it up? No. Then the hard-liners took control. A few scripted words don’t make up for actions that directly contradict them. On the other hand, Obama has closed Guantanamo, outlawed torture, and even took political risks during the campaign by saying he would personally speak with the leaders of Iran.
Ultimately, Presidential speeches are all very scripted and very similar. Love the world. Be tough on terrorists. American workers are awesome. So are the troops. Education is good. When we talk about a new tone and a new direction, the smaller things are important.
“None of the funds provided by this Act may be made available to the State of Illinois, or any agency of the State, unless (1) the use of such funds by the State is approved in legislation enacted by the State after the date of the enactment of this Act, or (2) Rod R. Blagojevich no longer holds the office of Governor of the State of Illinois.”—The Stimulus Bill
He’s like the gift that keeps on giving. Except he’s more of a catastrophe than a gift. He’s like the train that keeps on crashing—even as you think the flaming pile of metal can’t get any larger, more train cars coming around the bend and flying off the rails.
Under pressure, he’s agreed to personally repay the cost of the renovation. But seriously—aren’t these guys supposed to be smart people? Didn’t he pause for a moment to think that just maybe this wasn’t going to go over well?
From lowlife, who once again brings us the latest in military technology. The article explains:
"The antelope have been stationed in the zone between the security fence and the international border to clear problematic foliage that distorts views of the Lebanese side and within which Hezbollah guerillas could hide."
Jeff Miller, responding to Olivia regarding the relative costs of healthcare and morgages, wrote,
[U]niversal healthcare has less of an internal check to keep down costs. People can alter their lifestyle to minimize risks—by quitting smoking, say—in exchange for lower rates. But people can’t alter their lifestyle to rid themselves of all risks. When Olivia says that health is fundamentally different than housing, she’s right, but she’s right in a way that ought to concern us, because it suggests that Government healthcare could be vastly more expensive than this housing mess.
The reasoning is flawed. I have minimal control over my health and a poor ability to foresee future costs. Hence, health insurance is a good idea. However, it is very easy to have a very good idea of expected future costs. It is hard to predict if I will have a heart-attack in the next few years, but we can predict with reasonable accuracy how many people will have heart-attacks. Overall health spending is relatively foreseeable because people have so little control. Diseases aren’t likely to become trendy.
Buying a house, on the other hand, is something people do on purpose—so many people are likely to respond to the same broad conditions. Shifts could be fast, drastic, and unpredictable.
The exception, of couse, would be a major epidemic. A genuine plague could seriously screw up healthcare models. But that would be a case where we would really want a universal system already in place, even if it caused a fiscal nightmare. Recession beats Black Death.
Rod Blajogevich, who alleges his innocence, insists that the various incriminating things he was recorded as saying will look much less incriminating when the full context is seen. This leads to a delightful new game. Put these (and other!) alleged quotes from Rod Blagojevich in context to show the man is innocent.
The complaint alleges Blagojevich will put a certain Canddiate in the Senate “before I just give f-cking [Senate Candidate, Valerie Jarrett] a f-cking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.”
The complaint alleges he said he would appoint “[Senate Candiate 1, Valerie Jarrett] … but if they feel like they can do this and not f-cking give me anything … then I’ll f-cking go [Senate Candidate 5, likely Jessie Jackson, Jr.].”
Can anybody put these and other quotes in their proper, exonerating context? It’s also possible that some of the words were improperly transcribed. For example, he may have said, “[I should make sure my wife is not in the room] Before I just give [a] f-cking [to Valerie in] a f-cking Senate seat. And I don’t get anything [about why this seat is such a big deal. It’s just a chair. Obama sat in it and I’m going to make sweet love in it.]”
Or perhaps he said, in the context of a pickup kickball game, “[They want to order a pizza,] but if they feel like they can do this and not f-cking give me anything [to eat,] then I’ll f-cking go [home with my ball].”
jeffmiller links to this article, which argues that “health care reformers should look to the banking collapse as a cautionary tale.” Mr. Miller claims it gets the analogy all wrong and offers this analogy instead:
Our government was upset that banks wouldn’t lend money to people who were bad credit risks, so it established policies and institutions that incentivized banks to lend to people that they couldn’t have rationally lent to otherwise. This led to our current woes.
Similarly, our government (Obama) is upset that insurance companies won’t insure (cheaply, anyway) people who are bad insurance risks, so it wants to set up policies and institutions that incentivize insurance companies to insure people that they couldn’t rationally insure otherwise. This will lead to our future woes.
With respect, this analogy does not work. First, it overlooks that many of the people who received mortgages were perfectly reasonable credit risks—but not so long ago there was a lot of racism in every step of the process. But this is a sid issue. More critically, a lot of things happened between the incentives and the current woes. Specifically, a lot of people in private industry tried to capture all of the rewards of these risky mortgages and shovel all of the risks onto the government. Others engaged in outright illegal activity when selling these absurd mortgages to a vulnerable population. Then others tried to make more money off of the people already making money until you had a whole industry of people selling safety and dumping the risk on the government. Saying that this came from government incentives to give mortgages poor people is like saying that walking to a bar led to waking up in a ditch with a killer hangover. It was probably more relevant what you did at the bar than how you got to the bar.
The lesson I would draw from the banking crisis is that when private industry thinks can make money at public expense, it will. Offering medical care to people who need it but can’t afford it is not supposed to turn a profit for the government. But we need to ensure that the money is spent as intended. Nobody should make obscene amounts of money off of it.
“This was compassionate assistance. It was to help him move forward, not a settlement to keep him quiet.”—
Rev. Brady Boyd, of Ted Haggard’s New Life Church, regarding enough money for “college tuition, moving expenses, and counseling” paid by the church’s insurance company to a man who had a relationship with Ted Haggard in exchange for keeping the relationsihp quiet. Other gems include:
Haggard said in interviews that he received a massage from Jones, but denied having sex with him. He also said he bought methamphetamine, but threw it away instead of using it.
I don’t understand something about this. If you’re the one designing this whole Guantanamo Bay fiasco, you have to know you’re compromising some important values. I can see why somebody might think this was justified due to some overwhelming danger. But I think that person would want to do everything possible to ensure that as few people as possible were improperly held. And that includes getting all the necessary information ready for some sort of central review.
I’ve seen a lot of discussion about this line in Obama’s inaugural address:
The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works—whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.
Some argue, persuasively, that efficacy is not a governing philosophy. While I will concede that this doesn’t suggest much regarding what new programs are likely to appear, it says a lot about how existing ones should be evaluated. Do they do what they are supposed to do? If the answer is no, most people would agree with Obama that they should be eliminated or restructured. Unfortunately, most people aren’t in Congress. Similarly, if a small program is particularly successfull, it seems reasonable to expand it. Once again, partisan opposition makes this difficult.
Using success as a litmus test can keep some of the partisan rankle out of this. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac wanted, among other things, to ensure home loans to minorities. The Democrats were more excited about this than the Republicans. So when the Republicans wanted more oversight, or whatever they wanted a while back, the Democrats circled the wagons. In a hyperpartisan Washington, I’m not certain that either party is dedicated to the success of the other party’s pet programs.
Our best economists don’t know whether one variety of gigantic stimulus or another will work. They cannot properly value all the high-risk assets that caused some of the initial problems. I think this is a legitimate criticism of stimulus spending. We don’t know enough to know what will happen. We may not know enough to even assign reasonable probabilities to various possible outcomes.
The same criticism applies to unbridled free markets. All the scholarship showing that capitalism should maximize value assumes that people know the likely outcome of their exchanges. It generally works when people are buying apples. But it does not work for some of the more bizarre financial instruments.
Looking over debate about the stimulus plan, two things are abundantly clear.
Almost everybody agrees that something is necessary before things get worse.
Nobody really knows what will work. In fact, nobody seems that clear on what it would even mean for something to work.
Bearing those two in mind, it looks like we’ll almost certainly have a very large, very expensive stimulus bill that might or might not work. To me, this suggests that most of it should go to things we ought to do anyway. Upgrade transportation. Repair buildings. Invest in renewable energy. We should also spread the spending out over a number of areas in hopes that something works. Increasing food stamps would give something to agriculture. And we might as well do that whole digitization of hospital records thing that everybody thinks is a good idea.
Jhnbrssndn and I disagree on Hamas. Just as I don’t see Israel as being credibly able to justify its actions in the name of self-defense, I don’t think Hamas can justify launching rockets at Israel.
This article argues that Israel should not have a monopoly on violence. In other words, Hamas should not have to admit defeat in its war in Israel as a precondition to negotiating an end to that war.
This makes some amount of sense. If Israel and Hamas are on opposite sides of a war, both fighting to control land they believe is rightfully theirs, there is something inconsistent in demanding Hamas disarm without making a parallel demand of Israel. If we view this as an ongoing war.
But if Hamas and Israel are locked in a continuing war, how can we condemn Israels actions in Gaza? If a thousand people die—isn’t that what happens during war? If one side’s actions directly targetting civilians is okay, certainly the other side’s negligent attacks on civilians is not more reprehensible. We can condemn Israel’s actions if they are essentially a police action or an anti-terrorist action—but if Hamas wants a war, how can it complain when the war turns out to be hellish?
(Edit re this. In my view, the full-scale war ended years ago. Israel won when it demonstrated that nobody would, by force of arms, destroy Israel. Now Israel is using scarcely-bridled military action against what is (mostly) a civilian population. Hamas seems intent on reopening and refighting that war—regardless of the realities of the situation. How can we at demand that Israel stop killing Palestinians while insisting that Hamas is free to continue trying to kill Israelis?)
You can have a war or a peace—but you can’t complain about the tragedies of war while continuing a hopeless military struggle.
“Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration’s focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.”—
As sad as this is, the article explains some of the reasons the Bush administration was so hostile toward habeas corpus. It’s easier to let people sit in prison without trial than it is to track down information on why they are in that prison in the first place.
Carolyn and I have had remarkably similar conversations, except we use "adulterate" instead of "ruin." Carolyn, for a while, wanted not just milk and sugar, but a great quantity of it. The first time I tried to adulterate it for her, apparently adding too much milk and sugar--and she called it a parody of the way she liked her coffee.
Can we make a rule that nothing Joe Biden says should be taken too seriously? The poor man has no internal monologue. When Biden talks publicly, it’s like Obama’s shoulder angel and shoulder demon are giving a joint press conference. Selecting Biden was like a guarantee of transparency. The stream-of-conscious candor is refreshing—but I can’t shake the feeling that this might go terribly wrong.
Chris Matthews needs to set aside his crush on Obama and do his job. Or at least pretend to try. Palin may have had some inarticulate moments. She may have some confusion about how various government elements interract with eachother. But she’s not illiterate.
I like Obama. I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. I’ve served it to others. But even I get nervous when prominent members of the press openly fawn over an elected official.
Or maybe I just think Chris Matthews is a tool. As evidence, I offer this interview where Jon Stewart accuses Matthews of writing “a self-hurt book.”