Wednesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Pick 10, what would be in your list of ten? 
  2. No no no no. Schools are accountable to parents, not the other way around.
  3. “Obama doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular” … doesn’t that define “pragmatism” as your overarching political meme?
  4. Marijuana and energy.
  5. A consequence of avoiding detention and denial … “just kill ‘em” becomes the only alternative. Ooops. Or was that intentional?
  6. More on that here (for you North-East Coasters, something to fill your time with on the weekend).
  7. Evil and the fairy tale.
  8. More on the Minsk bombing.
  9. Islam (moderate), reform or PR?
  10. What’s your graph look like? Mine’s not a bell curve. Or if you insist, the mean is at 0.
  11. Honesty and taxes … a correlation examined.
  12. Exactly! Heh.
  13. Wealth distributions.
  14. Surprised to agree with Mr Paul.

17 responses to “Wednesday Highlights

  1. Obama doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular” … doesn’t that define “pragmatism” as your overarching political meme?

    I refer you back to Chesterton’s Orthodoxy…..when you have something getting bashed for all angles maybe the problem isn’t with that something but with the bashers themselves. For example, if we are to hear that Obama is a socialist who wants to take over corporations and a corportist who can’t say no to big banks…..if he’s slashing Medicare and also letting it grow too fast…..well that says to me that the problem isn’t he isn’t standing for things but that his critics aren’t standing for anything.

    Here is the flaw in your ‘loyal opposition’. It isn’t all that loyal in the sense that you’re seeking the good, it’s only loyal in the sense of ‘dependable’….as in we can depend on the fact that there’s no anti-Obama argument so stupid you won’t give it at least one shot.

    No no no no. Schools are accountable to parents, not the other way around

    Missed the point. I refer you to my brilliant comments. Also we may need to reopen the Commentator contracts. Joe Carter might start a bidding war with you for my attention.

  2. Boonton,
    I’m afraid I’ll have to look that up. I know we had a conversation (and a disagreement) about school and parental responsibility. I don’t recall coming to any sort of common ground.

    I’m not bashing Mr Obama here, just pointing out that (a) Mr Krugman is losing touch with Mr Obama (for whatever that’s worth) and (b) I find ‘pragmatism’ as such dissatisfying, as it tends ultimately just a proxy for justification of actions (for which power in itself is the underlying principle).

    I’ll have to also note (semi-seriously only) that I’m a member of the “both/and” not “either/or” religion. That is to say, Eastern Orthodoxy (theologically speaking) relies on both/and in many situation in which the more logically bound Western churches treats questions as either/or type matters.

  3. Krugman has actually been a long time critic of Obama. Yes he supported him over McCain but he was actually pretty cool to him even back in the days of Hillary.v.Obama and has made a point of saying “I told you so” multiple time sover when Obama hasn’t adopted the policies he’s wanted (examples, bigger stimulus, nationalizing the dysfunctional banks and Wall Street firms, single payer not being ditched before the debate even began over health and then the ditching of the public option option).

    Pragmatism may be dissatisfying as a philosophy or theology but it’s pretty, well pragmatic in may cases and politics is oneof those cases (making dinner is another).

  4. Pick 10, what would be in your list of ten?

    Funny, her #1 is the only one that came to mind before I clicked, but it is tempered somewhat by my expectation that any attempt would be very disappointing.

    Obama doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular” … doesn’t that define “pragmatism” as your overarching political meme?

    Pragmatism is orthogonal to principle. Or, it’s a metaprinciple. It’s not whether you stand for something, it’s how you stand for it. If you stand for it in such a way that you’re willing to compromise to get some of what you stand for rather than being so inflexible as to get none of it, then you are pragmatic. If you stand for it in such a way that you refuse to compromise even at the expense of a worse outcome (for what you stand for) than you are not. (Orthogonal still to whether you are pragmatic is whether you are good at being pragmatic, and that’s a whole different story. E.g. does Obama compromise too much and get too little?)

    No no no no. Schools are accountable to parents, not the other way around.

    I think I’m with you in this instance, but in general, I would say that schools’ ultimate responsibility is to the children, not the parents. As an extreme but obvious example, if the parents are physically abusing their children, the school has a duty to report the matter. Parents do not own their children. They get a say, but not the only say.

    Funny that someone who is (coyly?) anti-choice on abortion is unclear on that concept.

  5. JA,

    Or, it’s a metaprinciple. It’s not whether you stand for something, it’s how you stand for it. If you stand for it in such a way that you’re willing to compromise to get some of what you stand for rather than being so inflexible as to get none of it, then you are pragmatic.

    I’d call that the difference between being a politician and an autocrat. All politicians are willing to compromise. It’s what they do. By your definition “pragmatic politician” is an oxymoron.

    Funny that someone who is (coyly?) anti-choice on abortion is unclear on that concept.

    I thought my position was clear. I’m personally pro-life but advocate local municipal freedom over how to handle most issues (including abortion). And no, I’d agree that the responsibility of a parent, while nominally final does not extend to permission to murder your kids if it is expedient or “they didn’t turn out right.”

    The first book/series that came to mind (from my long time sci-fi/fantasy reading background) was Glen Cook’s The Black Company (and the following two books). I wonder if justice could be done to the Simmons duology Ilium/Olympos or for that matter his Hyperion (4 books) or even his Summer of Night which certainly is movie-izeable.

  6. JA,
    Oh, you said you studied Literature in School (I don’t recall if that was your primary major or a minor). Do you know of any resources on Otello/Othello that you might suggest?

  7. I’d call that the difference between being a politician and an autocrat. All politicians are willing to compromise. It’s what they do.

    I agree, but it’s not an all-or-nothing thing. Some politicians are more pragmatic than others. Obama is more pragmatic than many presidents are, just as Clinton was. The Tea Partiers, for example, seem much less pragmatic and more all-or-nothing.

    I thought my position was clear. I’m personally pro-life but advocate local municipal freedom over how to handle most issues (including abortion).

    Ok, so the question then is what you want your local municipality’s rule on the subject to be. This is why I accused you of being coy. :-) Nowhere in that sentence did you say whether you would be pro- or anti-choice, just that you want it to be settled locally.

    The first book/series that came to mind (from my long time sci-fi/fantasy

    For some reason, I love sci-fi but hate fantasy. It makes things annoying sometimes, especially when a story suddenly switches between the two genres. Grr.

  8. Oh, you said you studied Literature in School (I don’t recall if that was your primary major or a minor). Do you know of any resources on Otello/Othello that you might suggest?

    It was a minor. Major was CS.

    I don’t remember any resources in particular. I did read Othello at least once, though, and I’d recommend reading the original. Nobody writes like Shakespeare.

    BTW, one of the things I find most interesting about Shakespeare is how little influence there seems to be from Christianity/Judaism.

  9. Well not for nothing but in the ‘debate’ over whether to have a $2.00035T budget or a $2.00023T budget you’re basically having a pragmatic debate. Depicting this as an earth shattering disagreements of fundamentals…a battle of black.v.white, good.v.evil is not so much about ‘standing for something’ as just being unhinged.

  10. JA,
    I’ll answer more later on other stuff … but to be quick (The Dan Simmon’s books I mentioned are not fantasy (one is horror -> Summer of Night). Glen Cook is a very uneven writer, some of his stuff is mailed in. I’d recommend trying either Glen Cook’s Black Company, it doesn’t read at all like most fantasy. Another author, Stephen Erickson (whose “big” series is now done … and recommended) described Glen Cook as a fantasy written like a Vietnam war novel. Less black and white, the soldiers seen have more modern (real medieval?) sensibilities.

  11. Boonton,
    (as above, “more later”) but this is why I’m nothing like a politician, for I think that actuarial matters should be Constitutionally forbidden for the government (insurance and retirement). Short term politicians are constitutionally (but not Constitutionally) incapable of doing actuary right. Too many special interests to feed “right now” overwhelm anything resembling principles.

  12. JA,
    Regarding my “coyness”, it’s not. As I said “personally I’m pro-life” and advocate a local municipal setting of policy. The particular policy I’d be in support of is dependent on locale (the community) and the particular policy in question.

    I agree, but it’s not an all-or-nothing thing … The Tea Partiers, for example, seem much less pragmatic and more all-or-nothing.

    OK. If the “less pragmatic” means less willing to bend/compromise your principals. What lies at the other extreme? Hmmm?

  13. I doubt you could really define actuarial in a way that would work, you are also riding in against, well just about all other developed countries.

  14. Boonton,
    In an age where “just about all the other developed countries” are facing catastrophic demographic/actuarial failure of government you’d think that riding against the same would be a plus.

    As to defining actuarial, I figure you know what I mean. I’d leave the legalese to lawyers. :D

  15. The talk of ‘catastrophic demographic’ failures are quite overblown and more importantly, gov’t must be in the ‘actuarial business’ because otherwise you’d get the ‘bailout’ without bothering to try to pay for it. In other words, don’t think for a moment millions of seniors will be sent off to poverty in a democratic economy with a GDP in the trillions. The seniors won’t and if the seniors won’t then the best policy is to pay for it in a straight forward way.

    As for legalese, probably not a single major entitlement would be covered by your hypothetical Constitutional ban.

  16. Boonton,

    As for legalese, probably not a single major entitlement would be covered by your hypothetical Constitutional ban.

    Only (apparently) if you wrote the legalese. SS would have to be means tested. Medicare (I think that’s the one … I keep confusing -aid and -care … one is for the poor … that’s the one that would stay) would vanish. Flood insurance would disappear.

  17. Boonton,
    I should point out that the ban could be written to cover today’s entitlements and insurance … but the underlying reason that you think the ban can’t be stated “legally” is not because it couldn’t be stated in legal terms, but that it is politically unfeasible (alas).

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