Dogmatism tends to be a conservative value

09/03/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Politicks


In the study, Liu and Ditto report, conservatives tilted their views of the facts to favor their moral convictions more than liberals did, on every single issue. And that was true whether it was a topic that liberals oppose (the death penalty) or that conservatives oppose (embryonic stem cell research). “Conservatives are doing this to a larger degree across four different issues,” Liu explained in an interview. “Including two that are leaning to the liberal side, not the conservative side.”

Prostate Cancer

08/30/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General


“Imagine you are one of 100 men in a room,” he says. “Seventeen of you will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and three are destined to die from it. But nobody knows which ones.” Now imagine there is a man wearing a white coat on the other side of the door. In his hand are 17 pills, one of which will save the life of one of the men with prostate cancer. “You’d probably want to invite him into the room to deliver the pill, wouldn’t you?” Newman says.

Statistics for the effects of P.S.A. testing are often represented this way — only in terms of possible benefit. But Newman says that to completely convey the P.S.A. screening story, you have to extend the metaphor. After handing out the pills, the man in the white coat randomly shoots one of the 17 men dead. Then he shoots 10 more in the groin, leaving them impotent or incontinent.

Newman pauses. “Now would you open that door?” He argues that the only way to measure any screening test or treatment accurately is to examine overall mortality. That means researchers must look not just at the number of deaths from the disease but also at the number of deaths caused by treatment.


An Affront to Love, French-Style

08/21/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General

There is no safe, everlasting love. The idea that you can lock two people’s love once and for all, and toss the key, is a puerile fantasy. For Mr. Badiou, love is inherently hazardous, always on the brink of failure and above all vulnerable. Embrace its fragility, wish your beloved to be free and you might just, only just, have a chance to retain his or her undying gratitude, and love. But don’t ever dream of locks and throwing keys overboard, especially not in Paris.

America's aversion to taxes.

08/16/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Politicks

This is one of those articles that allows you to step back and ask what's going on with the American political system, and why.

Some fun facts:

America has highest infant mortality and poverty of all developed nations, the least generous unemployment benefits, and is losing ground at the most educated country.

Another fun fact:

1965 total American tax rate: 24.7%

2010 total American tax rate: 24.8%

This compares with every other industrialized nation:  Since 1965, tax revenue raised by governments in the developed world have risen to 34 percent of their gross domestic product from 25 percent, on average.

Taxes kill prosperity and jobs? Sadly, there isn't any evidence to back that claim up.

American policy makers justify our choice for low taxes with the claim that they foster economic growth. But the evidence is, at best, mixed. Since 1980, income per person has grown roughly the same across developed nations, about 300 percent, according to the International Monetary Fund. It has grown a little faster in the United States than in the European Union and Canada, but slower than in higher tax countries like Japan, Norway and Sweden.

What's this all mean?

If the goal is the welfare of the people, then it's clear that the United States is failing (as evidenced by mortality, etc) , and it's clear that it's due to the taxing structure.


Ryan the Rand Lover

08/16/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: Politicks

Except she wouldn't love him back.


Mr. Ryan’s rise is a telling index of how far conservatism has evolved from its founding principles. The creators of the movement embraced the free market, but shied from Rand’s promotion of capitalism as a moral system. They emphasized the practical benefits of capitalism, not its ethics. Their fidelity to Christianity grew into a staunch social conservatism that Rand fought against in vain.

Mr. Ryan has attempted a similar pirouette, but it is too late: driven by the fever of the Tea Party and drawing upon a wellspring of enthusiasm for Rand, politicians like Mr. Ryan have set the philosophy of “Atlas Shrugged” at the core of modern Republicanism.

In so doing, modern conservatives ignore the fundamental principles that animated Rand: personal as well as economic freedom. Her philosophy sprang from her deep belief in the autonomy and independence of each individual. This meant that individuals could not depend on government for retirement savings or medical care. But it also meant that individuals must be free from government interference in their personal lives.

Years before Roe v. Wade, Rand called abortion “a moral right which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved.” She condemned the military draft and American involvement in Vietnam. She warned against recreational drugs but thought government had no right to ban them. These aspects of Rand do not fit with a political view that weds fiscal and social conservatism.


Welcome to my Spaceship

08/13/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: song of the day


It's beautiful forever.


Bobby Hughes Combination - Microneseren

07/20/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: song of the day


This sounds like something out of an evening newscast. There is a piece of music this is derivative from -- need to find that.

John Galt

07/20/12 | by david2 [mail] | Categories: General, Bread

I just stumbled on this. It appears that the world stumbled upon it in Jan 2012, yet Scalzi wrote it in 2010. The issue with this (and any other political argument) is that the chances of changing a political viewpoint with argument is pretty much proven impossible. When faced with information counter to a particular mindset, partisans tend to double down, rather than waver in their viewpoints.

That said, it’s a totally ridiculous book which can be summed up as Sociopathic idealized 
nerds collapse society because they don’t get enough hugs.
(This is, incidentally, where you can start your popcorn munching.)
Indeed, the enduring popularity of Atlas Shrugged lies in the fact
that it is nerd revenge porn — if you’re an nerd of an engineering-ish
stripe who remembers all too well being slammed into your locker by a
bunch of football dickheads, then the idea that people like you could make
all those dickheads suffer by “going Galt” has a direct line to the pleasure
centers of your brain. I’ll show you! the nerds imagine themselves crying.
I’ll show you all! And then they disappear into a crevasse that Google Maps
will not show because the Google people are our kind of people, and a year
later they come out and everyone who was ever mean to them will have starved.
 Then these nerds can begin again, presumably with the help of robots, because
any child in the post-Atlas Shrugged world who can’t figure out how to run a
smelter within ten minutes of being pushed through the birth canal will be left
 out for the coyotes. Which if nothing else solves the problem of day care.

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