April 30, 2013

Consciousness After Death

Fingernails and hair grow for a time after death. 

Apparently consciousness, too, continues for a time in a fashion which is currently not understood. (HT: Instapundit.)

While there are spiritual and theological implications, the first conclusions my mind jumped to did not survive afterthoughts.

There are also implications for humane ways of execution and suicide. Perhaps, if there indeed is an as-yet-not-understood mode of consciousness, there are implications for abortion.

April 29, 2013

Intrade is Down

After loving Intrade for years, Instapundit linked to Bryan Caplan's huffing about how the CFTC shut out American customers from the service.

Now Intrade is down because of financial irregularities, yet neither Reynolds nor Caplan has seen fit to mention it. To be wrong is one thing; not to acknowledge it is egregious.

(Prediction markets sound like a good idea to me, by which I mean that under conscientious  management the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, e.g. steps will be taken to ensure that people who commit an atrocity do not profit from betting on it. However, good ideas can attract fraudsters.)

So I was wrong about the CFTC's decision. I was also wrong when I supported the Three Wise Men's Stooges' (Greenspan, Rubin, Summers) when they squelching of the CFTC's warning about OTC derivatives.

April 24, 2013

Deficits Are Less Bad Than Had Been Believed?

Supposedly a Harvard paper on which the deficit hawks have relied contains serious errors. Supposedly deficits are not nearly as bad for growth as Reinhart and Rogoff had claimed.

Henry Blodget gloats that deficit doves like Krugman have been proven correct. Yes, this is the guy who is banned for life from the securities industry.

Jeez, don't economists check each others' work when they debate issues of national---no, global---importance? Tell me again why ruling-class elites deserve their lifestyle, status, and pay? Can't anybody here play this game?

Rogoff and Reinhart respond here.

I'm not jumping to conclusions, but the Harvard duo doesn't look good here.

Me & Derb on Immigration

Me in January:
My long-term nagging suspicion is that (one reason why) legal immigration does not get reformed (is) because government knows full well it is too incompetent to do a professional job of regulating immigration. Cases in point: FEMA, TSA.
Derb just now:
Even if this new law were to get passed, and even if this administration, and the next, and the next, made sincere efforts to enforce it, they could not.
The USCIS people—and don’t get me wrong: they are nice people, dealt with me courteously, and I have no doubt are doing their best—cannot handle their current workload. Give them ten or twenty years to master this new bureaucratic extravaganza that Schumer, Rubio & Co. have cooked up, they might just possibly re-attain their current unimpressive level of mastery; but to imagine that the Act, once passed, will swing smoothly into action, all the things in it happening and being done, is wild fantasy.

Even If I Say So Myself

At Sarah Hoyt's:
A Hillary Presidency would be the Tantrum Boomers’ last chance to exact revenge for their inadequacy to the Great Generation. (Maybe those Americans who are zealous to tear down the country are driven, in part, by the knowledge that they lack what it took to build it.)
Especially the first sentence.

April 23, 2013

Comandante Rubio on Abortion

I call him Comandante because of this sentence in his victory speech:
It is a road that understands that the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest country in the world.
Here's Rubio on abortion:
“The issue of life is not a political issue, nor is it a policy issue. It’s a definitional issue. It is a basic, core issue that every society needs to answer.”
He continued, “The answer ends up defining society. That’s how important the issue is.”
Rubio said while people push pro-lifers to focus on the national debt, jobs, the economy and other fiscal challenges, “Well, we can’t do that.”
He said, “This speaks to more than just our politics. It speaks to what we want to do in our life to serve and to glorify our Creator.”
Well, at least he's (sort of) honest. He comes right out and says that abortion is more important than all that wonky limited-government stuff.

(While googling the acceptance speech, I came across this: Marco Rubio's personal finances clash with call for fiscal discipline.)

Online Sales Tax

I've presumed all along it's an effort by established businesses to use government to preclude competition from agile upstarts that cannot afford to comply with the regulations. See, for example, de Rugy's post at The Corner.

The same process of centralization of wealth and power that gave rise to SOPA.

The system is corrupt and illegitimate: the system, not one party or the other.

(Similarly, afaic the billionaires who "demand" to be taxed more expect more back in the form of crony-capitalist favors than what they would pay.)

April 22, 2013

The Derbyshire Firing One Year Later

I'll make this criticism: the guy so enjoys being a contrary curmudgeon that in effect deliberately dilutes his effectiveness, after which he is all O tempora! O mores!

I'd say much the same about Daily Pundit's Bill Quick.

April 18, 2013

Anti-Abortion Absolutists

Wikipedia is not a definitive resource, but it looks like there is a substantial number of countries where abortion is regulated more strictly than in the USA, or even forbidden altogether.

Some Americans believe that all abortion is murder and that the 50+ million US abortions to date constitute genocide.

Well, why don't they move to one of the aforementioned countries or at least make the effort to do so? I can't think of a reason that reflects creditably on them, and some that do the opposite come readily to mind.

(Perhaps to be continued.)

April 16, 2013

Dismay! Shock! Horror!

1. Former Volleyball Star Gabrielle Reece Ignites Controversy With Marriage Advice: Being ‘Submissive’ Is a Sign of Strength. (HT: Instapundit)
Gabrielle Reece, the former volleyball star and model who filed for divorce less than five years after tying the knot to surfer husband Laird Hamilton roughly 17 years ago, recently wrote a book explaining how she got her marriage back on track.
The key? In “My Foot Is Too Big for the Glass Slipper,” Reece credits an “old fashioned dynamic” and abiding by more traditional gender roles — and has created a firestorm in the process.
“To truly be feminine means being soft, receptive, and –- look out, here it comes –- submissive,” she wrote.
OMG! OMG! shriek the usual suspects.

2. Dryden, as misquoted by Lord Chesterfield:
The prostrate lover, when he lowest lies,
But stoops to conquer, and but kneels to rise.
Iirc similar sentiments are expressed in the Tao Te Ching. I'll dig them out later if time and memory allow.

3. If Reece's husband has a clue, he will recognize what's going on and accept it gracefully and gratefully.

You're a lucky man, Hamilton. If you have a brain, don't push that luck.

4. I'm assessing Reece's solution as a pragmatic one, not arguing that it applies across the board.

April 15, 2013

The Boston Bombings

Right off the bat, the online Right attacked the online Left, and vice versa.

This was a very promising day for the enemies of America.

April 14, 2013

Belated Credit When (And If) Due

Obama signed an executive order requiring cost-benefit analysis of proposed federal regulations. See here and here, for example. Obama signed the order in January 2011---soon after the election of 2010 expressed emphatic dissatisfaction about his policies.

Even if the order might leave operating room for agenda-driven rulemaking, it's a move in the right direction and a nod to doing the right thing.

It's "surprising" that I didn't notice this in the conservative blogosphere at the time.

Conservatives Can't Compromise Capably

Commenter Valerie nailed it at Legal Insurrection:  
I think it’s overwhelmingly stupid to take insulting swipes at people with whom you agree. The whole point of politics is to work with other reasonable people, in order to accomplish something worthwhile. You can’t do that if you alienate potential allies that you need.
 I chimed in.

 Abortion is the most conspicuous example. This is part of the problem:
When professional extremists dominate a debate, the only thing they’d rather shoot at than each other is somebody who walks the middle ground. Compromise threatens their franchises.
It's not just the pros, it's also people with emotional investments.

Derb on Maggie

The eulogy is here. This caught my eye:
Thatcher’s changes were necessary, but they weren’t pretty. Necessary changes are rarely pretty. Politicians, however, must pick their fights and do what they can, in hopes that future generations will somehow sort out the new problems that always, inevitably, arise as old ones are solved. Things become their opposites; the chess game never ends.
Fine livings are made and absorbing hobbies are pursued by only focusing on the negative aspects of an adversary's policies.  The Left's babble about "fairness" is conspicuous in this regard but it's not the only example.

April 11, 2013

Even If I Say So Myself

When professional extremists dominate a debate, the only thing they’d rather shoot at than each other is somebody who walks the middle ground. Compromise threatens their franchises.

April 10, 2013

Arm the Copts!

The thought has been on my mind.

Instapundit asks if anyone is helping them defend themselves. Someone, especially their co-religionists, should.

And not just the Copts: facilitate self-defense for Christians and other religious minorities that are subjected to foreign-funded violence.

Hopefully US socons can take a break from losing elections via obnoxious magical thinking, and turn their energies to something that is actually important. But they should hire some good lawyers because the Saudis will not be happy. If the Saudis aren't happy, the Bush and Obama administrations aren't happy.

April 6, 2013

An Emerging Superpower and a Pitiful Giant

This is how a great power behaves:
Drug kingpin Naw Kham was accustomed to a comfortable life on the lam in the “Golden Triangle”—the remote mountains and river valleys where Burma, Thailand, and Laos meet. He had a small army to protect his meth and heroin business and a network of locals and politicians who would tip him off if the authorities were hot on his tail. But then he ordered the killing of eight Chinese nationals who apparently had not paid protection money when they sailed into Thai waters from China. It was the worst slaughter of Chinese citizens abroad in recent times, and it infuriated the Chinese public. It was enough to put the powerful Ministry of Public Security, China’s FBI, on his case.

The end of the story has already been told. Naw Kham was caught by Laotian police on the banks of the Mekong in April 2012 and extradited to China a few days later. In March 2013 he was executed by lethal injection.
The locals in some Southeast Asian countries have gotten used to slaughtering their Chinese minorities as an outlet for frustration. They're in for a surprise as the Chinese navy grows.

Meanwhile, the pitiful giant:
A senior U.S. defense official says the Pentagon has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test for next week at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California amid mounting tensions with North Korea.

The official says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delayed the long-planned Minuteman 3 test because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the current Korean crisis.
Remember: if NoKo attacks, even if they knock out much of our power grid with an EMP device, above all we must avoid a disproportionate response.

North Korea is just one of the world's punk regimes.

April 3, 2013

Mark Sanford Wins GOP Congressional Primary

National Review:
What was really smart about Sanford’s strategy was that he was able to turn it into a referendum on whether people had the capacity to forgive — the God of second chances — and whether people are capable of giving him another chance, and capable of Christian forgiveness. And that is an excellent strategy for him, and there was nobody in the race who successfully countered it to focus on his term on governor.
None of his opponents pointed out that Sanford got on a high horse about Christian forgiveness while being engaged to the woman he dumped his wife and four children for.

Will this make a difference wrt the women's vote in the general election? Sanford has a presentable female opponent.

(And if he wins, he'll be a political piƱata. It's almost a no-lose situation for the Democrats.)

You go, Stupid Party!