Friday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. As people in US talk about the lifeguard who was fired because his employer (probably rightly) feared liability suits. This struck me as similar in some ways, culture/politics/law coming to the wrong conclusion.
  2. Academic freedom? Or just a complete lack of pedagogical sanity?
  3. Smelling another big war (read as global conflagration) in the next decade or so.
  4. Hope and prayer … found and needed.
  5. In which the left thinks that painting themselves as the Nazi Jew haters is a good move. I’m just a bit confused by that strategy.
  6. Some advice regarding the tax/Obamacare ruling. I have a question for those watching the “tax vs penalty” debate? Is the child rebate in the tax code a penalty or a tax on those without children?
  7. DADT and the chaplaincy.
  8. Lots of places are citing the large storms resulting in power outages over the Eastern US as signs of global warming, ’cause that storm was so unusual. Alas it wasn’t.
  9. This reminds me of William Safire’s grammar puns, for example “A preposition is something that you should never end a sentence with.”
  10. Recommended books.
  11. A health care “what if” considered.
  12. The culture war and demographic collapse.
  13. A lights show … what I noticed most was the lightning.
  14. ’cause in Florida they dislike shopping at Staples and Home Depot.
  15. And we’ll finish with a slight understatement.

12 Responses to Friday Highlights

  1. 1.As people in US talk about the lifeguard who was fired because his employer (probably rightly) feared liability suits.

    This strikes me as just the opposite, the lifeguard was hired by a company to watch an area but saw a drowning swimmer just out side that area so he ran over and saved him. The employer fired him and now the mayor of the town is considering firing the company. The employer wasn’t rightly afraid of liability suits, the employer was stupid. The liability would be huge if the lifeguard had stood by and watched a swimmer drown because his employer said don’t save anyone outside of the ropes.

    5.In which the left thinks that painting themselves as the Nazi Jew haters is a good move. I’m just a bit confused by that strategy.

    I didn’t know Nazi’s specialized in cheesy Jewish jokes. But I understand your confusion. The left, more often than not, is just as capable of laughing at itself and being critical of itself whereas the right is usually pathologically unable to do so. This, I suspect, is why the left so often dominates the ‘fiction industry’ (TV, plays, movies etc.). The right usually cannot look at others with understanding and cannot even look at themselves with an honest eye. Hence ‘leftwing Hollywood’ can make a great movie like Doubt that not only convincingly makes a sympathic conservative the hero but makes the villian the modern, leftwing progressive priest. What does the right produce? Cartoons like Left Behind.

    Anyway, the ‘joke’ in the piece is that all the old jokes about Jews were false but were true about Republicans. I’m not sure how that’s positioning onesself as a ‘Jew hater’, let alone a ‘Nazi Jew hater’.

    6.Some advice regarding the tax/Obamacare ruling. I have a question for those watching the “tax vs penalty” debate? Is the child rebate in the tax code a penalty or a tax on those without children?

    Sounds like it would be to me, more importantly why does it matter? Reading the opinion you linked too what strikes me is that this is the type of hair splitting argument that has absolutely nothing to do with liberty or freedom or justice. And I have no problem with that, hair splitting arguments are sometimes necessary, but I do object to such a petty tempest being painted as a fight for any of those three things.

    11.A health care “what if” considered.

    Considering that the subsidy for expanded Medicaid is something like 100% initially and then 90% I’m unclear how states refusing to expand Medicaid would blow up the Federal budget any more than it currently would. More importantly, given the amount of the subsidy I’d be surprised if a serious number of states don’t expand Medicaid ‘cept for ones ruled by the insane right. A politician in such a state could expand coverage while spending only $0.10 per $1.00….hard to think that either party wouldn’t want to exploit that opportunity.

    A more serious discussion would be to ask why states should be doing Medicaid to begin with? On the pro side you do have a diverse array of experiments with some states doing HMO type private insurance and others doing other ways of handling coverage. On the con side Social Security and Medicare are done on the Federal level and are much more popular. Could you imagine the choas and the sectionalism that would plague the US if, say, you were 65 and whereever you wanted to move you had to check to see what the local state legislator was doing in the way of Social Security and Medicare?

    12.The culture war and demographic collapse.

    Bristol Palin, IMO, has forever banned the right from ever again talking about ‘culture war’. But she does illustrate what seems to be a general truth, as prosperity per person increases, birth rates decline. ‘Demographic collapse’ is built on a false premise, IMO. Illiberal civilizations have been around for thousands of years, and have had high birth rates all that time. Yet England wasn’t colonized by much more populus India, it was the other way around. China didn’t invade Japan at the beginning of WWII but the other way around. IMO the only thing Muslim about Europe of the far future may be the family trees many of its residents have but that’s probably about it.

  2. Boonton,
    Re re #1 -> Depends on local (state?) good Samaritan protections. If the company felt that if they tried to save (or failed to notice/save) a person in a region outside their watch area and failed they’d be liable if they allowed an attempt in the past.

    I didn’t know Nazi’s specialized in cheesy Jewish jokes.

    You don’t think Nazi’s mocked Jews? Seriously?

    Anyway, the ‘joke’ in the piece is that all the old jokes about Jews were false but were true about Republicans.

    Now you’re really treading on thin ice. You’re seriously suggesting the problematic problem of Nazi hatred was that they were wrong about the Jews not that hatred of a people X qua X is wrong. The other problem there of course is just as the Nazis were wrong in their basis for their hatred of the Jews … so too is similar hatred of the GOP/Conservatives.

    Sounds like it would be to me, more importantly why does it matter?

    Hmm. I’m guessing that won’t work so well on the campaign trail.

    A more serious discussion would be to ask why states should be doing Medicaid to begin with?

    You’re right.

    Re 12. Jon Haidt is a pseudonym for Bristol Palin. Who knew? And on what do you base that claim?

    But she does illustrate what seems to be a general truth, as prosperity per person increases, birth rates decline.

    Which is why the US has a higher birth rate than Europe with our greater prosperity. Oops. Hint, perhaps culture like prosperity is an important factor.

  3. Re re #1 -> Depends on local (state?) good Samaritan protections. If the company felt that if they tried to save (or failed to notice/save) a person in a region outside their watch area and failed they’d be liable if they allowed an attempt in the past.

    Good Samaritan laws may protect an attempt to save someone outside the ropes that fails, I’m not sure any laws would protect from liability for failing to make an attempt. A lifeguard who sat by wating someone drown is almost certain to bring a lawsuit on his employer. The company here was being stupid. Stupidity does exist, not every inexplicably stupid act can be traced back to some hyper-rational response to regulation or liability.

    You don’t think Nazi’s mocked Jews? Seriously?

    I’m sure they did, they also ate cake. Neither eating cake nor telling Jewish jokes is sufficient, on its own, to make one a Nazi. (Although I suppose to be consistent you must consider Richard Nixon a Nazi Jew hater and by that logic liberals who hated Nixon are no worse than anyone who hates Nazis!)

    Now you’re really treading on thin ice. You’re seriously suggesting the problematic problem of Nazi hatred was that they were wrong about the Jews not that hatred of a people X qua X is wrong.

    Again what justifies your bringing Nazis into the mix? Or even hate for that matter? The jokes in the comic strip were all making fun of greed. That by itself is not the same thing as hating greedy people (whether as a class of people you think is greedy or just individuals who are greedy) or wishing to see them killed.

    More to the point you illustrate the difference between your mindset and the left’s mindset. The left can mock itself, can step ‘outside onesself’ and while still thinking they are right also see themselves as fallible humans. You cannot, as a result you can only see more fuel for self-righteousness as you do here where you think you’re doing Jewish victims of antisemitism an honor by trying to claim Republicans are victims too!

    Hmm. I’m guessing that won’t work so well on the campaign trail.

    Curious, there’s been no shortage of politicians from both parties populating the campaign trail with proposals for kiddie tax credits. I understand Mr. Romney himself is making noise about an ‘alternative’ health care proposal consisting of even bigger tax credits for buying your own insurance…..which would seem to be the same thing as Obamacare with just a much more ‘mandatey mandate’.

    Which is why the US has a higher birth rate than Europe with our greater prosperity. Oops. Hint, perhaps culture like prosperity is an important factor.

    Statistical noise, does the US have a higher or lower birthrate than it did 100 years ago? When people have the means and technology available, the general trend is to invest more in fewer kids. I suspect there are probably evoluationary factors behind that too. Kids themselves are, of course, in indirect competition with hypothetical kids. I think its a plausible hypothesis that babies look extra pink and have extra big eyes partially to beguile their parents into fawning more attention on them than in making more siblings. With prosperity it becomes possible to ‘sink’ more and more into a few kids thereby working against higher birth rates.

  4. Boonton,

    More to the point you illustrate the difference between your mindset and the left’s mindset. The left can mock itself, can step ‘outside onesself’ and while still thinking they are right also see themselves as fallible humans.

    ROFL. My humor typically bounces between self-mockery and bad grammar humor or puns. Making the claim that we on the right can’t mock ourselves is interesting. It’s also false. Remember, half of your classmates in grade school are conservatives now the other half liberal. We didn’t separate based on our notions of who can make fun of ourselves. I’d suggest it’s more likely those whose educational brainwashing took and those who resisted, but that’s just as silly as your notion about humor. Or perhaps there’s a charitable way to figure that intelligent people might come do different viewpoints via rational paths.

    Why Nazi? Hmm. I guess that might be from the context of the reading I’ve done lately. But Who else stands up in a nightclub and tells anti-Semitic jokes besides Nazis or neo-Nazis?

    Good Samaritan laws may protect an attempt to save someone outside the ropes that fails, I’m not sure any laws would protect from liability for failing to make an attempt. A lifeguard who sat by wating someone drown is almost certain to bring a lawsuit on his employer.

    Good Samaritan laws protect you from trying to save the life of a fellow traveller from medical problems. It does not protect from malpractice suits a doctor if he happens to come across that same pedestrian (and his employer/hospital provided insurance won’t protect him outside the hospital or office). It is quite Possible that the same exclusion holds, that a lifeguard is liable in the same way … his employers insurance might not protect him just like a doctors malpractice won’t protect him.

    Stupidity does exist yes, but its just as often (more often?) found today in our liability laws than in people.

    Statistical noise, does the US have a higher or lower birthrate than it did 100 years ago?

    Bullcrap. The US currently has almost a replacement birthrate of about 1.9. Italy is 1.2. That’s not statistical noise. The US is also more affluent.

  5. Boonton,
    At least you’ve decide that Bristol Palin is not a middle aged Jewish intellectual.

  6. Why Nazi? Hmm. I guess that might be from the context of the reading I’ve done lately. But Who else stands up in a nightclub and tells anti-Semitic jokes besides Nazis or neo-Nazis?

    Jewish comedians told plenty of Jewish jokes too. Who else? Indeed.

    We didn’t separate based on our notions of who can make fun of ourselves.

    No but its probably a side effect of the underlying separation. I think if I said liberals were more prone to relativism and conservatives more towards dogma you might agree. Laughing at yourself is the ultimate in postmodernism if you think about it. It’s absurd to be certain you could be wrong….yet we often feel that way.

    Good Samaritan laws protect you from trying to save the life of a fellow traveller from medical problems. It does not protect from malpractice suits a doctor if he happens to come across that same pedestrian (and his employer/hospital provided insurance won’t protect him outside the hospital or office).

    Malpractice applies to ‘guilded’ professionals. Doctors, lawyers, and CPAs for the most part. Even so the doctor doesn’t ‘protect himself’ by walking past the person bleeding in the street.

    Bullcrap. The US currently has almost a replacement birthrate of about 1.9. Italy is 1.2. That’s not statistical noise. The US is also more affluent.

    And is that equal to or lower than previous birth rates from less affluent times?

    At least you’ve decide that Bristol Palin is not a middle aged Jewish intellectual.

    Nope, she’s just a slut.

  7. A politician in such a state could expand coverage while spending only $0.10 per $1.00….hard to think that either party wouldn’t want to exploit that opportunity.

    Not to mention the increase in health care jobs that could create in a state like Texas, where millions are uninsured now. Greater demand for health care will mean greater demand for health care workers in our free market health care system, even when subsidized insurance produces the increase in demand.

  8. Boonton,

    Nope, she’s just a slut.

    You are obsessed with this lady. How/why you brought her up in this conversation is what somewhat perplexing. You referred to a link, not by her, and made remarks about her. Why are you talking about her? Thinking about her?

    Jewish comedians tell anti-semitic jokes? I think you’ll find the flavor of self-deprecation a little different in Jewish night clubs.

    No but its probably a side effect of the underlying separation.

    I think you are (like JA with his delusions about the higher intelligence on the left) deluding yourself. Professions and groups (like liberals in academia) can become highly aligned with one side or the other, the separation once it starts is self supporting and enhancing. That’s more likely what you’re seeing than any fundamental difference between the relationship between self-deprecating humor and right/left divides.

    Malpractice applies to ‘guilded’ professionals

    Untrue. A trained/certified electrician fixing a wiring error is more liable than you doing the same in an emergency. People with expertise take on different liability loads. A doctor who fails to “walk by” is not protected from malpractice if his care is incorrect. He is also not protected by the insurance he acquires from his hospital, which is why many doctors are counseled by their employer to not perform good Samaritan acts, they aren’t protected from liability like you would be.

    And is that equal to or lower than previous birth rates from less affluent times?

    And is that the only variable that changed? You confuse correlation with causality. In less affluent times infant mortality was far higher too. Apparently you don’t view that as relevant. I disagree.

  9. Jewish comedians tell anti-semitic jokes? I think you’ll find the flavor of self-deprecation a little different in Jewish night clubs.

    What’s a ‘Jewish night club’? You mean a night club with lots of Jewish commedians in the Catskills? Sorry my 1955 time portal hasn’t been working since I installed Windows 7 on it. Regardless the jokes told in the cartoon night club are hardly so offensive that only in Nazi Germany could they have worked. I wouldn’t be surprised if you found variations on those jokes said by a lot of famous and not-so famous Jewish comedians as well as non-Jewish ones.

    I think you are (like JA with his delusions about the higher intelligence on the left) deluding yourself.

    Being self-critical is not in itself a sign of higher intelligence. Consider a fictional character like House, he isn’t very self-critical, in fact he is more often full of himself…yet he is highly intelligent.

    If we want to talk about archtypes, consider your typical Woody Allen character versus your typical Bruce Willis character. Allen characters are what you might term ‘liberal’ with their constant self-doubt, their preference to build consensus and go with that while Willis characters are typically conservative with little self-doubt, little regard for other people’s opinions. It’s hardly clear that one type if always ‘better’ than the other to me. Nor is it clear that one type would be higher or lower in intelligence than the other. I could imagine either personality type being either very smart or very dumb.

    Untrue. A trained/certified electrician fixing a wiring error is more liable than you doing the same in an emergency.

    Electricians are also a ‘guilded professional’.

    And is that the only variable that changed? You confuse correlation with causality. In less affluent times infant mortality was far higher too.

    Birth rates aren’t usually adjusted downwards by infant mortality. If in 1890 the typical woman gave birth 5 times but lost 3 kids before they reached adulthood, she would still have a higher reported fertility rate than a 1990 woman who gave birth 2 times but her kids lived until adulthood.

  10. A doctor who fails to “walk by” is not protected from malpractice if his care is incorrect. He is also not protected by the insurance he acquires from his hospital, which is why many doctors are counseled by their employer to not perform good Samaritan acts, they aren’t protected from liability like you would be.

    If that was the case then liability would not be a justification for the employer to fire the lifeguard to saved a swimmer ‘outside the ropes’.

  11. Boonton,

    Electricians are also a ‘guilded professional’.

    Apparently you are unaware that lifeguards too get certifications (via Red Cross water safety/swimming certification programs).

    Birth rates aren’t usually adjusted downwards by infant mortality.

    Exactly. Apparently however, the reason the typical woman in 1890 was having 5 kids and 2 in 1990 is due to increased wealth and not anything to do with realizing rates of infant mortality.

    Being self-critical is not in itself a sign of higher intelligence.

    I agree. I never said it was.

  12. Apparently you are unaware that lifeguards too get certifications (via Red Cross water safety/swimming certification programs).

    So do people who set up Windows based networks. Unlike a doctor, though, you can set up Windows based networks without any certification. Licensed electricians are allowed to do things that technically a plain ‘handyman’ isn’t.

    Exactly. Apparently however, the reason the typical woman in 1890 was having 5 kids and 2 in 1990 is due to increased wealth and not anything to do with realizing rates of infant mortality.

    Over on the other thread didn’t Ed cause a big ruckus by pointing out the US’s infant mortality rate is rather high compared to some other nations? Before you make too much of the fact that the US has a higher fertility rate than, say, Italy, perhaps you should adjust for infant mortality? If you did so you might in fact discover that even with the US’s higher nominal birth rate, the correlation between increased welath and lower birth rates is even stronger!

    Re: self-criticality

    Agreed, but it might go a long way towards explaining so-called ‘liberal bias’ in media. Perhaps conservatives on average simply don’t have the mentality to do well in many types of media outlets. Serious journalism, for example, requires figuring out other people’s POV. Drama and fiction likewise require the same. Comedy requires being able to laugh at your self and affect that rather post-modern stance of being certain about your uncertainity. It’s interesitng to note that in areas of media that do not so much require these traits, conservatives do much better it seems (action movies, tabloid newspapers, radio talk shows with where dissenting opinion is minimized etc.)

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