Monday, January 31, 2011

Also, you can't get pizza at Subway

A federal court in Maryland has struck down a law that would have required pregnancy-resource centers to post signs advertising their opposition to abortion.

The court ruled that the requirements proposed by the City of Baltimore, which would have imposed special rules on pro-life facilities, constituted illegal “viewpoint discrimination.”

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Latest dispatch from South America

Saw this from one of my college friends on Facebook:

last night, while wearing nothing but pants made from saran wrap and toilet paper, I argued with a coke dealer about UNIX. This is South America.

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Nothing quite like the state killing an innocent man

And if there's no evidence against you, that's just evidence that you're clearly a psychopath!

Hurst was also struck by Vasquez’s claim that the Willingham blaze had “burned fast and hot” because of a liquid accelerant. The notion that a flammable or combustible liquid caused flames to reach higher temperatures had been repeated in court by arson sleuths for decades. Yet the theory was nonsense: experiments have proved that wood and gasoline-fuelled fires burn at essentially the same temperature.

Oops. No need to confuse the case with facts, I suppose, it makes a better story in court if you just make things up that sorta kinda feel right.

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Bloody Sunday

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Best article title of 2011 thus far

Albany’s Urban Weasels

First I thought it was about politicians. But then I saw the picture, and I figured it was about the animals. But then I read the first paragraph.

This winter I’m on the track of an urban weasel in Albany — the fisher. These six-to-13-pound members of the weasel family started moving into urban areas 10 years ago, and have been quietly hunting their squirrel and rabbit dinners here ever since.

Multiply those weights by 20 or so and I think it could go either way.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Court rules that data is software

Orange County claimed that information stored in GIS format is exempt from disclosure under the "software exception" of the CPRA. While the CPRA does exempt government entities from disclosing "computer software developed by a state or local agency," public information processed or formatted for that software is not exempt. Coupled with the County’s obligation to provide public records in the format requested, it seems clear that Orange County is illegally withholding its GIS basemap from the Sierra Club.

Unfortunately, the trial court sided with Orange County and inexplicably held that the GIS basemap constituted software that was exempt from disclosure.

Also, courts rule that e is a rational number, causing calculus to explode.

For the less technically savvy, this is roughly the equivalent of ruling that a Microsoft Word document is software developed by the state, so you can only get state-produced documents carved on stone tablets.

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Limitz on federel powerz

I seez none.

On your theory, why can't the government order me to exercise more and eat less? After all, being overweight increases the likelihood that I'll need medical services, which implicates economic activity.

I no can has cheezburger?


Latin spam


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Monday, January 17, 2011


Or, the Times doesn't think for three seconds before publishing.

Now Judge Lamberth has ruled that Dickey-Wicker prohibits funding of all research in which a human embryo is destroyed, even if the destruction occurs before the research begins. He claims that the Dickey-Wicker language “unambiguously” prohibits work on stem cells derived from embryos.

How can that be true if the federal government has interpreted it the other way for 11 years and Congress has not disputed that interpretation? If there is any ambiguity, the courts typically give deference to agency interpretations.

Abortion, sodomy, contraception, evolving standards, etc, etc. Complaining about the text of a law is so outdated, when judges flip-flop on a regular basis.

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Definition of terms

First, let’s be clear about what celibacy is: It’s the property of not being married. Anyone who is not married is, by definition, celibate. People often confuse this with two other concepts—continence (which in a sexual context means not having sex) and chastity (which means behaving in an appropriate manner sexually, based on your state of life). If a person is celibate (unmarried) and they wish to be chaste (act in a moral manner, sexually) then they will be continent (not have sex), because sex outside of marriage is immoral. By contrast, if you are not celibate (i.e., you are married) then you can be chaste (act in a sexually moral manner) even though you presumably are not continent (i.e., are having sex).

So useful and precise. In one line - if you don't have a ring on your finger, you're celibate, even if you're shagging the city of Chicago and half of the barn animals on a regular basis.

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Law and teaching

Some people I have spoken to have told me that we needn't worry that the mere fact of the legality of an action would encourage people to hold it morally right. In other words, they oppose the idea that the law is didactic.

In opposition:

Then complaints started from owners of expensive houses around the reservoir. “They supposedly discovered these chemicals, and then they ruined the reservoir by putting black pimples all over it,” said Laurie Pepper, whose home overlooks the manmade lake. “If the water is so dangerous, why can’t they tell us what laws it’s violated?”

I leave the extension to the imagination.

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Is college necessary?

The relentless claims of the Obama administration and others that having more college graduates is necessary for continued economic leadership is incompatible with this view. Putting issues of student abilities aside, the growing disconnect between labor market realities and the propaganda of higher-education apologists is causing more and more people to graduate and take menial jobs or no job at all. This is even true at the doctoral and professional level—there are 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.

Thinking broadly is a good thing, but I really think that more craft, not more high-end science, is necessary for economic competitiveness. We already have more scientists than we know what to do with, whence the postdoctoral servility and lack of tenure.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Heard that one before

LGF is a bit up in arms that More Than a Quarter of Republicans Believe Anti-Govt Violence Can Be Justified, and how
the percentage of Republicans who believe anti-government violence can be justified is about the same as the percentage of Pakistani, Indonesian and Turkish Muslims who support terrorist acts against civilians.

Indeed. But it's still lower than the percentage of subjects of the 13 colonies who thought that anti-government violence was justified, which was about 33%. So we're not quite bad enough off yet that we're in danger of starting our country again.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Greeks and bonds

In a society that has endured something like total moral collapse, its monks had somehow become the single universally acceptable target of moral outrage. Every right-thinking Greek citizen is still furious with them and those who helped them, and yet no one knows exactly what they did, or why.

Impressive. I'm really not sure how anyone ever made a loan to Greece, Eurozone or no. So much for the efficient allocation of capital.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Quote of the year

Ladies, when you look in the mirror, don't say "I look fat", say "I'm a prophet!"

--A CFR at midnight mass for the Octave day of Christmas.

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