Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Mirth Day «

Happy Mirth Day «: "On this Earth Day I share with you one of my favorite illustrations of the mirthiness that an uncritical and political assessment of environmental economic conditions has become. It’s from a few years ago but it ages well. Here the Mackinac Center finds, by simply adding up all of the subsidies that GM gets directly for producing the Volt and for he subsidies that its suppliers get, and so on. The numbers indicated that each Volt sold (I suppose with economies of scale this would fall) came equipped with a quarter million dollar of benefits from the taxpayers. Nice!"



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Monday, April 20, 2015

Instapundit

Instapundit: "Today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is holding long-awaited oral arguments to decide whether the secret prosecutions should be halted under Wisconsin law.  The arguments are not open to the public, to protect the identities of the targets.  Frankly, it’s shocking that it’s taken over 5 years to get a hearing from the Wisconsin Supreme Court–5 years of abuse of free speech and association rights is too much."



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With this prosecution and the lawsuit by Abraham, Wisconsin's "justice" system has become a laughing stock.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Kirsten Powers: Gay marriage debate's sore winners

Kirsten Powers: Gay marriage debate's sore winners: "Here's the thing: I didn't support the original Indiana law. I am both a Christian who doesn't believe the Bible prohibits serving a same-sex wedding and a vocal LGBT rights supporter who has blasted laws similar to Indiana's for fear that they could provide legal protection to those who discriminate against gay people.



But I'm starting to wonder: who needs the protection here?



 What happened in Indiana is reminiscent of the bullying that led to the ouster of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich exactly this time last year. Eich was harangued for a six-year-old donation supporting an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative, but ultimately purged for refusing to recant his beliefs about marriage."



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I Switched to a Standing Desk, So Now You Should, Too - The New Yorker

I Switched to a Standing Desk, So Now You Should, Too - The New Yorker: "Still need convincing? Consider this: in the nineteenth century, everyone used standing desks. In case you don’t know your history, the nineteenth century was a great century that didn’t have any problems. It wasn’t until the modern era that the tyranny of sitting was imposed upon us by nefarious corporate forces. That’s right, I’m talking about Big Office Chair. Day in, day out, chair factories pump pollution into the air and water, just to manufacture sedentary death machines. With a standing desk, you don’t even need a chair. That’s better for the environment, which is another thing you can be smug about."



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I Switched to a Standing Desk, So Now You Should, Too - The New Yorker

I Switched to a Standing Desk, So Now You Should, Too - The New Yorker: "Indeed, sitting has been called the new smoking. The only difference is that smoking looks cool and is a great way to meet people and isn’t actually that bad for you. (I smoke.) Sitting, on the other hand, looks ridiculous and shameful—like you’re afraid to admit exactly how tall you are—and is terrible for you. The human body simply wasn’t meant to be folded up for long stretches, like a sad pretzel. It was meant to be held ramrod-straight at all times, like a noble pretzel stick."



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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Althouse

Althouse: "My criticism of the article is that it didn't do what the headline made me think it would do and get into a topic I've been concerned with for years. What if, over time, with perfect reproductive freedom, the choice to avoid childbirth is far more popular than we'd ever imagined? One solution would be to back off from women's freedom and equality, and I don't like that. So the thought experiment is: Assume women will continue to have the power to avoid childbirth and complete freedom to exercise that power. Assume we agree that the birthrate must be increased. What can we do?
"



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The Runaway Prosecutor Who Almost Lost Iraq

The Runaway Prosecutor Who Almost Lost Iraq: "Yet every part of that testimony was false, and Fitzgerald knew it. He had withheld from Miller a crucial fact: that Plame had once worked undercover as an employee of the State Department, which, unlike the CIA, is divided into bureaus. Fitzgerald also withheld that same vital information from Libby’s lawyers — an unforgivable breach of ethics as well as the law."



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I wonder what Tina Fey has to say about this? (Context here.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Why Law Professor Douglas Laycock Supports Same-Sex Marriage and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law | Religion & Politics

Why Law Professor Douglas Laycock Supports Same-Sex Marriage and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law | Religion & Politics: "So I would exempt the very small businesses in the wedding industry, provided that some other reasonably convenient business nearby is available to provide the same goods and services. The gay rights side is unwilling to even think about that. They don’t see that weddings are a religious context; they don’t distinguish declining to do a wedding from simply refusing to serve gays."



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Why Law Professor Douglas Laycock Supports Same-Sex Marriage and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law | Religion & Politics

Why Law Professor Douglas Laycock Supports Same-Sex Marriage and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law | Religion & Politics: "I would exempt counselors from doing marriage counseling or relationship counseling for same-sex couples. It is in no one’s interest to force a counselor to work with a couple, or subject the couple to working with a counselor, if the counselor thinks the couple’s relationship is fundamentally wrong in its very existence. But the gay rights side will not concede even that; important forces want to drive all these conservative religious folks from the helping professions. The principal battleground has been efforts to force graduate students out of their degree programs."



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Why Law Professor Douglas Laycock Supports Same-Sex Marriage and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law | Religion & Politics

Why Law Professor Douglas Laycock Supports Same-Sex Marriage and Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law | Religion & Politics: "Churches and religious organizations, which generally understand marriage to be an inherently religious relationship, should be allowed to retain their religious definitions of marriage. And for purposes of conducting the work of the church, they should not be required to recognize same-sex civil marriages that are simply not marriages on their religious understanding. This is the most important thing from the religious liberty perspective: inside the religious organization should be an enclave where religious rules control. The gay rights side has been unwilling to concede even that."



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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Some Thoughts on Indiana

Some Thoughts on Indiana: "1. Why is it okay for Apple to refuse to facilitate, or associate with, a view of marriage that it rejects but not okay for a local florist (or photographer or baker) to do so?"



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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The War on the Private Mind

The War on the Private Mind: "here are two easy ways to get a Republican to roll over and put his paws up in the air: The first is to write him a check, which is the political version of scratching his belly, and the second is to call him a bigot. In both cases, it helps if you have a great deal of money behind you."



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Just found this.

Stigma Works

It's shocking how fast public opinion has changed on the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. I have two takeaways from this that might actually be original or insightful.

First is the power of stigma, and particularly the stigma of calling someone a bigot. Traditional beliefs about the immorality of homosexuality is now bigotry. Of course, the word bigotry doesn't do much analysis. It's just a way of saying my view of morality is right and yours is wrong. It seems to me defenders of traditional morality, in their efforts to seem tolerant and open minded, have consistently been on the defense and have lost the debate as a result. Supporters of traditional marriage don't want to be rude and tell others that their sexual practices are immoral. In contrast, supporters of homosexuality vocally and forcefully denounce traditional views about the morality of homosexuality as bigotry.

My other takeaway is that while it sometimes seem on the rise, libertarianism is still very much out the mainstream and may be on the decline. On traditional morality questions, I have no doubt Americans are moving towards what you could call the "libertarian" position, i.e., the government has no business legislating questions of sexual morality. But this shift is not happening because Americans are rejecting big government, but be cause they reject traditional sexual morality. Thus, the RFRA, which would simply exempts individuals (and maybe businesses) from laws that would otherwise require them to violate their religious beliefs unless there is a compelling state interest, is unacceptable. Apparently, people shouldn't be free to act in accordance with their consciences when government has decide what is moral. In contrast, support of the RFRA (or similar laws) is an easy call for a libertarian. So it's not support for government legislating morality generally that's on the decline, just support for a particular brand of morality.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dear Prudence: Feminists are upset that I don’t have much sexism to complain about in my STEM career.

Dear Prudence: Feminists are upset that I don’t have much sexism to complain about in my STEM career.: "A: How strange that people who say they are fighting for equality are dismayed when they encounter it. How sad that they don’t want to hear the good news that you have been welcomed into this traditionally male field, that your male peers and bosses treat you wonderfully, and that you are thriving. It’s exciting this has been your experience—what a great ambassador you can be for younger women seeking to enter your field. There is an unfortunate strain of obsessive grievance-mongering in feminism today. It’s a kind of sport for these self-proclaimed guardians to venomously attack those they feel don’t precisely toe their line. You’re a scientist who lives in the world of facts. You are finding that ideologues aren’t interested in facts, thus they go after you when your reality trumps their ideology. My general advice is that it’s best not to engage with unpleasant people, especially those who seek to lecture you about your own experiences. Feel free to extract yourself and say, “You’ll have to excuse me, but I’ve got to get back to the lab.” But if you feel like it, you can also counterpunch by saying something like, “It’s funny, but the only people who try to bully me are women who aren’t in my profession.”"



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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Modest Proposal For Amendments to the Constitution | Power Line

A Modest Proposal For Amendments to the Constitution | Power Line: "First, President Obama has asserted the power to issue decrees or executive orders that have the force of law. This seems plainly at odds with the framework of the Constitution, but pundits and politicians have not been able to reach a consensus that such rule by executive order is improper. So, to resolve the issue once and for all, I propose that the following language be added to the Constitution:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. 
 That would make it crystal clear that only Congress can enact legislation."



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The post continues in this vein.