Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Where shall I eat now?

Papaya Dog was the spot of spots.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Guns, but which ones

Silly silly silly.
Handguns are by far the most common weapon used in homicides, including mass murders. In 2012 Sen. Dianne Feinstein claimed guns covered by her proposed "assault weapon" ban were involved in 385 murders from 2004 through 2011, a period when there were more than 76,000 gun homicides. Taking Feinstein at her word, "assault weapons" were used in 0.5 percent of gun homicides during that period. Feinstein also attributed 455 injuries to "assault weapons," or an average of about 57 per year—a negligible share of aggravated assaults, which totaled more than 750,000 in 2011. Just as it is not clear why the Sandy Hook plaintiffs think AR-15-style rifles have no legitimate civilian uses, it is not clear why they think such guns are especially lethal. The lawsuit cites three characteristics, none of which is unique to so-called assault weapons:
Just because something looks scary, doesn't mean it is scary.

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Throw the bums out

Apparently in some countries there are rules in Parliament.
Yesterday (or “yisterday,” as they say there), New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key got ejected from Parliament for not following the rules during Question Time (or “Quistion Taime,” as they say there). Specifically, he did not shut up fast enough when the Speaker stood up and called for order. Saying he had warned the PM about this previously, Speaker David Carter enforced the rules by ordering Key to get out.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Does Jesus smoke weed?

So much.

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Monday, March 07, 2016

Don't waste time over-policing charity programs

It makes everyone worse off and no one better off.
Even the financial costs of any detection and enforcement mechanism serious enough to even try to get these false negatives (people who aren’t caught and thrown out of SNAP) down to 0 will be high; it wouldn’t surprise me for those costs alone to exceed $14 million (and I don’t for a second believe there will be $14 million in savings). As conservatives know when it comes to business, environmental, and health regulation, trying to turn one-in-20,000 events to 0-in-20,000 events is hard and expensive and complicated. Moreover (and as they also know) it generates errors in the other direction. “Zero-tolerance” policies are a plague on the American political and legal climate right now. The effort to make sure that no American child ever brings a narcotic or firearm to school is doomed to fail to begin with, and also results in stupid expulsions of children carrying aspirin or squirt guns. What we have here isn’t a new substantive rule (big-money lottery winners are already income-inelgiible for SNAP) but a zero-tolerance mindset applied to the existing rule, an effort to move from trivially-few to zero offenses; and innocent people will get caught in the net. (Something everyone could stand to remember: the lower frequency an offense is, the worse the ratio is likely to be between the false negatives you’re trying to prevent and the false positives you’re going to create.)

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Campus monoculture

JONATHAN HAIDT: I didn’t even know about that. The president was supposed to be the grown-up in the room. He was supposed to show some wisdom, some balance, and some strength. And so we’ve seen, basically what can really only be called Maoist moral bullying – am we saw it very clearly at Claremont McKenna. The video is really chilling–the students surrounding this nice woman who was trying to help them, and reducing her to tears. As we’ve seen more and more of this, I’ve begun calling it, “the Yale problem,” referring to the way that left-leaning institutions are now cut off from any moral vocabulary that they could use to resist the forces of illiberalism. As far as I’m concerned, “Next Yale” can go find its own “Next Alumni.” I don’t plan to give to Yale ever again, unless it reverses course.
Time to stand up for reality.

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Monday, February 29, 2016

Catholic and Enjoying It signs off

Mark Shea shall be missed. He was the first blogger I read on a regular basis.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Some tips for Lent

To my mind there are two ways of approaching Lent that actually produce substantial fruit. The first is to use the season as an opportunity to make permanent changes. Instead of giving up smoking for Lent, cut down on the amount that you smoke to a level that you intend to maintain. Instead of giving up credit cards for forty days, use those forty days to pay off one of your credit cards and then cancel that card for good. Instead of avoiding all social media, choose whichever social media account provides you with the least real benefit or community and put it to death.

That’s the boring way. It’s good, for sure, and it’s probably what I’m going to be doing this year because I just had a baby, I still haven’t recovered and I don’t have much energy to add new, cool, major changes to my life. However, for those of you who have the means and the opportunity, practicing radical renunciation is far and away the most fun way to get ready for Easter.
Radical renunciation. That's looking good.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Compare and contrast wealth

Should we ban being rich?
Reducing a person's assets from, say, $10 billion to $20 million, and limiting annual income to $1 million might sound outrageous. Perhaps cruel! But is it really all that terrible? How would it change the life of that person? Obviously it would not affect security, or health, or the ability to lead a comfortable, even luxurious, life. The only use for additional millions of dollars would be the ability to exercise more power, or to indulge in outlandish luxuries, such as owning several lavish homes in diverse places, or owning a jet airplane. The monetary loss might be perceived as a loss of prestige. But the last point would perhaps be softened by the fact that the same treatment would be inflicted on all other super-rich people, so there would generally not be much of a loss in standing. There are, very roughly, about 160,000 American families with assets over $20 million
Or understand that everyone can do it?
But while there are a lot of people who get rich through rent-seeking of various forms, and a lot who get rich by playing games that though not crooked are zero-sum, there are also a significant number who get rich by creating wealth. And creating wealth, as a source of economic inequality, is different from taking it—not just morally, but also practically, in the sense that it is harder to eradicate. One reason is that variation in productivity is accelerating. The rate at which individuals can create wealth depends on the technology available to them, and that grows exponentially. The other reason creating wealth is such a tenacious source of inequality is that it can expand to accommodate a lot of people.
If you ban people from making money, they may stop creating wealth, no? PG also reminds us that the problem is poverty, not that people have different levels of wealth, so why don't we attack that problem?
There are lots of things wrong with the US that have economic inequality as a symptom. We should fix those things. In the process we may decrease economic inequality. But we can't start from the symptom and hope to fix the underlying causes.

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