Remarks for Monday

What’s gnu?

  1. So. Some possibly ISIS inspired Islamic fellows decided freedom of speech isn’t for them and attacked a group who purposely insulted their religion (which reminds me, if you can’t depict Mohammed with pictures why it both a common name and people with that name have pictures taken and published). Be that as it may, the usual suspects some out with remarks.
    1. A liberal commentator invites the attacked groups leader and declares her interview to be filled with hate. Except alas, said hate is nowhere to be seen. Methinks the accuser self-labels himself as that which he accuses.
    2. A cartoon in response.
    3. And a column on freedom of speech (in which said cartoon was first seen).
    4. more here.
    5. The liberal response in a nutshell. (apparently … you can recall their not-similar reaction to, say, “piss Christ”)
    6. Is this related or not?
  2. Grist for the Indiana bakery discussion.
  3. An interesting division by sex in the motives of serial killers.
  4. A suggestion of a famous art piece’s interpretation.
  5. Loss of credibility has consequences.
  6. Journalistic malpractice on display.
  7. The fine print on Obama/Kerry’s Iran centrifuge deal.
  8. A very cool time-lapse sequence.

 

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27 comments

  1. buddyglass says:

    Went to the CNN video piece w/ the mugshots and they looked normal. Video is here:

    http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2015/05/01/erin-mug-shots-baltimore-officers-released.cnn

    Unless it was changed after-the-fact the whitening thing is a hoax.

  2. Mark says:

    Mr Howard

    Could be either way. Alas the trust in the media is at such a low that it’s a coin flip which either way.

  3. Boonton says:

    Could be someone snapped a picture of their TV with the result that the mugshots got ‘whited’ as a result of the flash. That would explain why the last two photos supposedly from CNN not only look lighter but look almost bleeched out. That picture gets passed around and the meme gets picked up with no one going to CNN itself to see if the video/pic was actually what was broadcasted.

    But Mark’s response is, as always, priceless. It essentially boils down to “when I attack people/things for having no credibility, it is because those entities lack all credibility. therefore it doesn’t really matter if I get my facts right. If I’m wrong then I’m sure there are other things they did that are equally as bad or worse which I didn’t catch so it really doesn’t matter.”

    Credibility, though, isn’t tracking well for some here. I recall the following assertions/judgements/predictions Mark put forth:

    George Zimmerman – law abiding, well-balanced good citizen.
    Herman Cain – probably not a sexual harasser
    Sarah Palin – $100K in campaign funds spend on person cloths and reported to the IRS as income, will soon auction all those clothes off to fund a charity.
    BP Oil – Rig exploded because the gov’t made them follow procedures they didn’t want to follow.

  4. Boonton says:

    Re #1, the ‘hate’ is pretty obvious. The goal of the event was to mock and denegrate. I’m not sure why your blogger would ask ‘where was the hate’ when the original encounter with Pamela Geller entailed her opposing the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ on the grounds that it was Islamic. How that squares with your neocon blogger’s view of Geller as a ‘libertarian’ is also beyond me (in what libertarian world is a group not allowed to open a religious center in a building that is their private property?)

    But thought experiment here. If a gay person shot and killed a member of the Westerboro Baptist group (the ‘God hates fags’ people), I don’t think anyone would approve of that yet no one would feel the need to carry signs saying ‘God hates fags’ in order to promote free speech. Likewise if a Jewish person kills a neonazi, I don’t think many of us will walk around with swastikas in order to show our respect for free speech.

    Free speech simply means free of gov’t restraint, not public judgement of speech. I have no problem with people who want to mock religion but quite a bit of this mockery is one sided, esp. from the right…the Piss Christ and Last Temptation of Christ are apt examples where their devotion to free speech is really only a matter of whose ox is being gored.

  5. Boonton says:

    7.The fine print on Obama/Kerry’s Iran centrifuge deal.

    Still perplexing. X is the # of centrifuges Iran has now. Y is the number post deal. Any case where X>Y is a ‘good deal’ in the sense that fewer centrifuges are better than more and absent a deal what reason would Iran have to give up any centrifuges or not run them? The response seems to be along the lines of “If I was President, I would get a deal where Y is a much lower number” Yea that’s great, except you’re not and such armchair quarterbacking has to be taken with a big grain of salt. So that being said unless you can show me that the deal actually gives centrifuges to Iran, its by definition a good deal.

    Let me cut off Mark’s expected counter…with reduced sanctions Iran can afford the electric bill to run/buy centrifuges. North Korea and Pakistan both demonstrate even a vastly diminished economy can muster the resources to build nuclear weapons if they really want too. Iran is not a diminished economy given its size, diverse workforce, and oil wealth. Unlike North Korea, Iran has large borders with countries that traditionally do a very poor job controlling their borders. There’s a limit to what can ever be done with sanctions in this context and what can’t be done with sanctions is stop a determined nuclear program.

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    On #7, my “expected” counter is … read the post linked. Respond to that and not a straw argument and I’ll respond. (hint: replace X and Y instead of numbers of centrifuges with quantity of Uranium processed and retry).

    Re #1. “Hate is not obvious”. The “hate” was alleged in the actual interview. The hate was missing. Ms Geller (according to the post) was entirely reasonable and rational. NO hate found by any non-hating viewer (which excludes the interviewer). The “hate” to be found, note, was not in any prior action or statements.

    I have no problem with people who want to mock religion but quite a bit of this mockery is one sided, esp. from the right…the Piss Christ and Last Temptation of Christ are apt examples where their devotion to free speech is really only a matter of whose ox is being gored.

    I think the point is that nobody actually attacked the artists. There have been thousands of equivalently hateful (measured in insult and malevolent intent) against Christians in the last decades. No shots fired, however. No ISIS in the wings.

    George Zimmerman – law abiding, well-balanced good citizen.
    Herman Cain – probably not a sexual harasser
    Sarah Palin – $100K in campaign funds spend on person cloths and reported to the IRS as income, will soon auction all those clothes off to fund a charity.
    BP Oil – Rig exploded because the gov’t made them follow procedures they didn’t want to follow.

    For the record. Ms Palin?! Her flaw was not taking lessons in graft from the Clinton’s apparently. $100k in campaign funds spent on … stuff used on the campaign. BP Oil … didn’t say the didn’t “want” to follow those procedures. However I did see claims the flow arestore was probably effective at that depth. I saw no claims that same said device was not required to be that model and that type by the regulator. The regulators specify almost everything that is done. If something goes wrong, it should be (with this and with drug/FDA claims) that you only have to prove that you followed the required regulatory demands and that should indemnify you when you operate in a very highly regulated arena. Cain. I don’t remember sorry. And I don’t know what point you are making about Zimmerman.

  7. Boonton says:

    On #7, my “expected” counter is … read the post linked. Respond to that and not a straw argument and I’ll respond. (hint: replace X and Y instead of numbers of centrifuges with quantity of Uranium processed and retry).

    Again replace X and Y with anything you want. Fact is right now there are no real restrictions.

    I think the point is that nobody actually attacked the artists.

    In the case of Last Temptation of Christ the artist got numerous death threats and many theaters didn’t show the movie after receiving many threats. In the case of the French magazine you yourself attacked the artists when you criticized their ‘Trinity’ cartoon (‘attack’ here means both verbal criticisms as well as physicall assaults).

    My point here is there seems to be an idea on the right that if an anti-Muslim artist/writer/pundit is attacked physically then intellectual criticism is off the table….in fact the victim’s ‘art’ should be embraced in a show of solidarity for free speech. This standard is not applied elsewhere. No one would clothe themselves in hoods if a Klu Klux Klan rally was shot at by an African-American nor feel obligated to celebrate a ‘White Power’ Cartoon festivle.

    For the record. Ms Palin?! Her flaw was not taking lessons in graft from the Clinton’s apparently. $100k in campaign funds spent on … stuff used on the campaign.

    We’re talking about your credibility here, not Ms. Palin’s anymore. You asserted she was going to donate her $100K of clothes to charity so no need to take it as taxable income. You didn’t tell us back then that its ‘campaign stuff’ so if you just happen to keep the $5K suit you wore during the convention it’s no big deal.

    BP Oil … didn’t say the didn’t “want” to follow those procedures. However I did see claims the flow arestore was probably effective at that depth. I saw no claims that same said device was not required to be that model and that type by the regulator.

    Your assertion was originally that BP was told to do something by regulators and that since that something was unsafe, regulation effectively caused the accident. Numerous lawsuits have come and gone since with various companies laying the blame on other companies for doing this or that wrong but no assertion has been made identifying any regulation that required the conditions that caused the accident. I’m not sure what your new claim is here, it sounds like you are now saying there was no regulation requiring BP to do anything different from what they did, but if that is your argument then that is the exact opposite of the original one you made.

    And I don’t know what point you are making about Zimmerman

    Zimmerman has demonstrated himself to be pretty unhinged. You recall you mostly based your defense of Zimmerman on reputations. Marvin was supposedly a troublemaker, Zimmerman wasn’t so we should believe Zimmerman’s account. Post that case, however, we have seen Zimmerman get into multiple ‘disputes’ which all seem to end with him waving his gun around but veering just short of actually getting charges that stick on him. Ultimately the evidence is showing you were wrong in your judgement. That might not mean the verdict itself was wrong, criminal guilt is a high standard of proof after all, but your moral judgement now appears to be fatally flawed.

  8. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    I don’t get it. You quote me “However I did see claims the flow arrestor was probably effective at that depth. I saw no claims that same said device was not required to be that model and that type by the regulator” and then wonder “Your assertion was originally that BP was told to do something by regulators and that since that something was unsafe, regulation effectively caused the accident.” Uhm. Being required to use a particular arrestor which isn’t sufficient is kind of the same as saying regulation cause the accident isn’t it? I’m unclear on how you think my claim is changed. My BP claim is the same as the issue I have with many drug company/medical company malpractice claims. I feel if you follow FDA regulations (testing and production) then that should indemnify you against claims unless it is shown that you didn’t actually follow regulations. But in most cases if a drug or test turns out to be harmful after the fact the company is not protected by their doing best practice and following the agreed upon regulations.

    In the case of Last Temptation of Christ the artist got numerous death threats and many theaters didn’t show the movie after receiving many threats.

    I don’t recall the “less theaters” thing, I saw it. It wasn’t all that great. And verbal attacks are not to be equated with physical. I walked through picket lines to see “Hail Mary” by Godard. Picketting is fine. I was not attacked. The theater was not bombed. That is the difference. If this was a film about Mohammed that attacks Islamic conceptions of their founding prophet … do you think the same would be true or not?

    My point here is there seems to be an idea on the right that if an anti-Muslim artist/writer/pundit is attacked physically then intellectual criticism is off the table

    No. The point is that if you a person is attacked physically then that is different. Intellectual/verbal criticisms are (and should be) put on abeyance because criticism of physical violence trumps that. Nothwithstanding that you don’t seem to realize that you can’t have an interview with a person who during that interview is completely reasonable and rational and then claim that “gosh that interviewee was completely unhinged and hateful”. That only discredits the interviewer.

    Again replace X and Y with anything you want. Fact is right now there are no real restrictions.

    So what? Right now if nothing is changed in 9 months they’ll have a bomb. If you put in the “restrictions” their production can increase from now and they’ll have it in less. What is the point of the restrictions if it allows them to purify more than they presently do? Or is it kinda like Assad and the red-line “no poison gases” thing, i.e., meaningless.

  9. Boonton says:

    I’m not following what your saying. You are saying the flow arrestor was ‘probably effective at that depth’…then you say you see ‘no claims that said device was not required to be of that model’?

    What does this mess mean? Are you saying the accident was caused by an improper flow arrestor (in which case you would mean to write ‘probably ineffective at that depth’). Then you seem to be saying that you see ‘no claims that…(it)…was not required.?

    Kind of like saying an accident was caused by someone going 100 mph on the road, and you saw no claims by the driver that the law doesn’t require you to drive 100 mph on that road, therefore you will conclude there was a regulation requiring people to drive 100 mph therefore that’s the cause!

    Reality check here. If BP was ordered to do X by the gov’t and X caused the accident, BP would be very loud about that. Most of the time regulations specify a min., not a max. Such as “supports shall spaced no more than 5 inches apart”. Unless it says otherwise, no one reads that as prohibiting putting more supports in and spacing them 2.5 inches apart.

    And verbal attacks are not to be equated with physical

    Depends, a bomb or death threat is a criminal act. Granted penalties are higher for actual phsyical action but a line has been crossed if someone verbally threatens to shoot a theater for showing a movie but doesn’t actually follow through.

    No. The point is that if you a person is attacked physically then that is different. Intellectual/verbal criticisms are (and should be) put on abeyance because criticism of physical violence trumps that.

    I’ll grant you politness would implore a suspension of criticism immediately after an attack but that’s about it. And that applies to the actual person attacked, not the entire group.

    So what? Right now if nothing is changed in 9 months they’ll have a bomb. If you put in the “restrictions” their production can increase from now and they’ll have it in less.

    This is incoherent. If there are no restrictions on them now then they could increase production now…in which case they’d have a bomb in less than 9 months. So then why are you saying ‘in 9 months’? You really mean some lower figure. In which case if they agree to restrictions that lower figure becomes larger.

    Here is where you are messing up. They don’t get a bomb in 9 months. The 9 month figure is like saying I can run a marathon in 9 months. Yes if today I began intense training in about 9 months I might be able to run a marathon. That doesn’t mean book your DVR to view me running it 9 months from now as whether I actually begin that intense training today is another question.

    Suppose, however, it was important to you that I don’t run a marathon ever. Well if we are negotiating you might offer me something if I agree not to begin training for the next 6 months. Your critic might throw up his arms and say how does that help, he’ll run a marthon in 15 months! Not quite. Such a deal would give you 6 months to negotiate an extension and if enough time passes it very well could play out that the risk of me running a marathon might pass away forever (at some point as I put off that training period the requirements for me to be able to actually run a marathon will go up as I get older and older and at some point I’ll never be able to run one no matter what type of training I begin).

  10. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Ok. I apologize. I didn’t get the sense right but you partially figured it out. The problem (after the accident … the problem was the flow couldn’t be stopped) was cause by a failed flow arrestor. I’d heard that the flow arrestor probably was likely to fail at that depth and there were also mentions of issues with the subterranean geology around the area of the well. The problem here is that BP needed government license to operate there, they were required by regulation to use that arrestor, they were required use government provided geological survey map.

    Kind of like saying an accident was caused by someone going 100 mph on the road, and you saw no claims by the driver that the law doesn’t require you to drive 100 mph on that road, therefore you will conclude there was a regulation requiring people to drive 100 mph therefore that’s the cause!

    Allow me to correct your analogy … because although you didn’t find a “regulation” to drive that speed it was approved prior to driving.

    So It’s more like getting a licensed permission to drive 100 mph on a road but the government specifies in addition which road, which car, and how much weight in the car. You follow these intructions and … the car goes off the road … but magically you pretend the government is in the clear. And furthermore a government inspection team afterwards clears “the government” of any responsibility. Imagine that! Replace “government” with “Jack” in those sentences you’d be crazy to trust Jack to do the investigation right? Hmm.

    “Reality check” right back at you. First off, in the current legal environment that you are required to do a thing by a certain method and that method causes damage does not indemnify you from suit (like I think it should). So it would do no good for BP to complain and it would harm their relationship with the same regulators whom approve everythingand it failed. The government didn’t take responsibility because they never do. They are weasels.

    Depends, a bomb or death threat is a criminal act.

    So what?

    I’ll grant you politeness would implore a suspension of criticism immediately after an attack but that’s about it.

    As I’ve noted before, attacks generate sympathy in reasonable people in the attacked not for the attacker.

    Here is where you are messing up. They don’t get a bomb in 9 months

    Sorry. The expectation by “experts” is that they will.

    Yes if today I began intense training in about 9 months I might be able to run a marathon.

    And Iran is doing that training now.

    Well if we are negotiating you might offer me something if I agree not to begin training for the next 6 months.

    Bad analogy. Let’s say you need 1500 miles of training to prepare. What you’ve suggested would be “smart for me” to suggest is that I restrict your access to running shoes. Normally runners like to run 400-500 miles per pair of shoes to avoid injury (this part is actually true). You’ve been using crappy shoes that only last 100 miles. You think it’s smart for me to limit you to 2 pairs of shoes every 6 months. However you know and I know that you are planning to buy “German” Nifty brand running shoes which wear out after 700 miles, not 400. Now I might be able sell my family that “I’ve made a good deal” but only if my family trusts me telling them it’s a good deal and actually looks at the deal. Now your argument (on my behalf to my family) is that “gosh” before we had no deal. Now we have “a deal”. But for yourself, you realize the deal actually restricts you not at all. You’ll make your race with 1500 miles on good shoes if you want it.

  11. Boonton says:

    I’d heard that the flow arrestor probably was likely to fail at that depth and there were also mentions of issues with the subterranean geology around the area of the well. The problem here is that BP needed government license to operate there, they were required by regulation to use that arrestor, they were required use government provided geological survey map.

    Not seeing this anywhere
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_explosion If anything I’m seeing the gov’t did not require a detailed plan from BP.

    Allow me to correct your analogy … because although you didn’t find a “regulation” to drive that speed it was approved prior to driving.

    Actually this is very different from what you said previously. Your argument now essentially says BP provided a plan saying they were going to use X and the gov’t approved it. You twist that into the gov’t mandating them using X.

    Unlike driving, many of these tasks have no set rulebook but instead are driven by context. Hence the regulatory process is the creation of a plan by the company that wants to do it and the gov’t approves or demands changes. So if BP submitted a plan with an arrester that wasn’t effective at that depth, you can argue the gov’t shouldn’t have approved it but ultimately BP is responsible. It is, after all, their job to figure out how you drill in deep waters safely, not the gov’ts.

    I’ll give you a smaller example. I recently had to look into having a new septic field made. To do this I had to have a survey done of my property. An engineer then had to come out and take soil samples and combine the results with the survey to draw up a plan for the town. The town health dept. either approves or disapproves.

    Ultimately the plan abides by lots of regulations (i.e. the water line can’t cross the field, the field can’t be more than 18 inches below the surface, the bottom of the field has to be so much higher than the highest level of the water table etc.) but the actual plan is the engineer’s responsibility. He has to navigate all the stuff that makes this project unique (like navigating around a huge cherry tree, figuring out if it will go downhill with gravity or uphill with a pump). If you wanted regulation to dictate the entire plan and take on all liability risks of it, then you’d have to massively increase gov’t regulation since all this work by private surveyors and engineers would have to be done by the gov’t.

    And whether or not this works is not dictated by regulation. At a min. regulation requires me to put in a field designed for a 3 bedroom house since that is what I have. I could, however, do a 4 bedroom field and some people do this since it allows the house to be expanded in the future and generally adds to its value. Generally the gov’t is putting a cap on how many corners I can cut to save money and time. It usually does not stop me from going the opposite direction and adding extra capacity or safety.

    Interestingly the plan does sometimes mention specific products or brands. There is verbiage like “compartments shall be Durex Plastic Shells, substitutions are permitted with approval from Engineer”.

    As I’ve noted before, attacks generate sympathy in reasonable people in the attacked not for the attacker.

    Generally, but this isn’t an entitlement. If someone did shoot an anti-gay protestor from the Westboro group I don’t think many people would feel obligated to avoid criticism for them.

    And Iran is doing that training now.

    Actually the intelligence is right now Iran is not ‘doing the training’ even though it has the capacity to do so (or it isn’t training as hard as it could). Iran’s gov’t is not monolithic but complex with different factions and power bases. Likewise Iran probably sees their nuclear program less as a means to get nuclear bombs and more as a negotiating tool. Nuclear weapons have strategic use in deterring nuclear attack, possibly deterring invasion but beyond that their tactical usefullness is very limited.

    However you know and I know that you are planning to buy “German” Nifty brand running shoes which wear out after 700 miles, not 400.

    Limiting myself to two pairs every 6 months would still prevent me from running the marathon in 6 months since 700 miles * 2 = 1400, still short. Absent a deal I’m free to do my 1500 miles in 3 months using as many shoes as I need, new or old. Either way a deal would be in your interest of decreasing the probability that I’d run in a marathon.

    More importantly, the reason you’d want such a ‘test deal’ isn’t so much because the running shoe limit in itself will stop me from getting to the marathon, if I’m very determined. It would be because if the deal is successful it would lay the framework for more deals in the future that would essentially delay the 9 month (or 6 month or 18 month, not really important) window indefinitely.

    On the flip side, if the deal doesn’t work then everyone returns to their previous position. Nothing has been lost from either side.

  12. Boonton says:

    It’s interesting tracking down the source document at http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-president-daydreams-on-iran-1429914121

    Yet on Monday Mr. Moniz told reporters at Bloomberg a different story: “They are right now spinning. I mean enriching with 9,400 centrifuges out of their roughly 19,000,” he said. “It’s very little time to go forward. That’s two to three months.” How long has the administration held this view? “Oh, quite some time,” Mr. Moniz replied. The Bloomberg report suggests “several years.”

    Compare that with
    • Centrifuges: Iran has about 19,000 centrifuges, and the U.S. initially called for cutting that to between 500 and 1,500. The agreement now allows 6,104. Not only that, Iran’s foreign minister has said that advanced IR-8 centrifuges, which enrich uranium 20 times faster than the current IR-1 models, will be put into operation as soon as the nuclear deal takes effect—contrary to what the U.S. has asserted.

    Sounds like pretty standard game theory here. If an arms agreement allows each side only 500 missiles, which missiles would you expect each side to keep? The ones that carry one warhead or the ones that carry ten? If an agreement slashes the number of centrifuges, I’d expect the first ones the Iranian Director of Nuclear Stuff would offer to toss in the trash heap would be the least efficient ones.

    But this is actually a stunning admission on your part. If My goal was to make the marathon and beat you, I’d be training every day no? Here it looks like I’m training just 3 days a week. Why not run the super efficient centrifuges that 20 times as good as the older models today? Why haven’t they been running today? Why are more than half of the centrifuges not even running at all?

  13. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    On the centrifuges … besides any doubts as to the accuracy of our intelligence (remember these are they guys who were surprised by every new development in the Middle East and Eastern Europe over the past 20 years) this data is probably already out of data. I just read reports Saudi Arabia (with our (?) backing is angling with Pakistan for nuclear weapons. This will act as a further spur to Iran to get their own. The Saudi’s of course, are themselves doing this because they see how close Iran is getting.

    Soooo, Mr Obama in the run in and prior to going to office had plans for moving to a nuclear weapon free zone. Not going so well in practice it seems.

    Reminds me of something noted in a book on the first World War I’m reading now. In it they observed that “mustering forces” after the Archduke was assassinated by some countries was viewed a meh event, a not-very significant diplomatic posturing while other nations viewed mustering as basically an act of war. This difference in interpretation of signals was seen as a crucial part of what led to the war itself.

  14. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    Your argument now essentially says BP provided a plan saying they were going to use X and the gov’t approved it. You twist that into the gov’t mandating them using X.

    No. I am not. I am asserting that they were required to use “X” (the well shutoff failsafe). I specifically recall reading remarks indicating that the failsafe probably was not as reliable as needed at those depths. I also recall reading that the local geological structures around the well rock/mud and so on was not as expected and hampered containment efforts. The maps and surveys that everyone is/was required to use were US Gov products.

    Look at drug companies. They are mandated to do X amount of testing to release a drug. However if the drug is found to be harmful, the company remains liable? It seems to me they should only be liable if it is shown that they didn’t do the testing required but cheated.

    We had a customer once who asked us how our software was designed to deal with unanticipated problems. We were quite confused by that request. We can only design for problems we anticipate. However, BP (in this case) is likely and drug companies (and doctors) are often financially liable for unanticipated problems. Like, “Your operation has 70% chance of success … but you sue and win when it fails.” This sort of thing is wrong.

  15. Boonton says:

    1. Saudi Arabia angling to get nukes from Pakistan? History provides a small sample size but what it is a fact that no nation has ever given another a nuclear weapon, not matter how close allies they were. The USSR wouldn’t give one to Mao (in fact they frustrated his program). The US didn’t give them to the UK or France. It seems the policy is every country has to get nukes on their own if they really want them. So I’d be very surprised if Saudi Arabia gets Pakistan to give them a nuke. But then there’s a first time for anything. Perhaps it wasn’t a good idea for the Bush administration to be so ‘meh’ about the country that hosted Bin Laden for almost a decade after 9/11 having nukes.

    Soooo, Mr Obama in the run in and prior to going to office had plans for moving to a nuclear weapon free zone. Not going so well in practice it seems.

    Perfect enemy of the good here? NYC’s mayor has this “project zero” whose goal is to eliminate all auto related deaths in NYC. Might be more achievable than a pure nuclear free world but then it’s mostly an aspirational goal. If it causes a significant drop in fatal car accidents I’d call it successful even if there is never a year with absolutely zero deaths. I think it is generally better that fewer rather than more countries be part of the nuclear club and those that are have fewer rather than more weapons. Do you have an argument otherwise or just snickering?

    2. “On the centrifuges … besides any doubts as to the accuracy of our intelligence ”

    Ok so I’m still not seeing an argument here. Suppose they agree to use no more than 500 centrifuges and put 1500 in mothballs. Inspectors then check a warehouse every year to make sure 1500 are in fact still mothballed and only 500 are running. Might there be a super secret underground lair hundreds of miles away running another 1000 centrifuges no one knows about except Iran? OK maybe. That still doesn’t change the fact that fewer centrifuges running are better than more so having to set aside so many to be inspected means less material for weapons versus no deal where presumably Iran is free to run everything they have (known and unknown to us) at 100%.

  16. Boonton says:

    Question: One day you’re driving home. Everything is ok but for a moment the sun hits your eye as you’re coming to a stop by a stop sign. You tap the car stopped in front of you and put a dent in his bumper. Damage is, say, $500 or so. In your opinion are you morally and legally obligated to make him whole either with your own funds or your insurance?

  17. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    RE #1, you’ve forgotten that Pakistan already has tried to sell nuclear technology. Saudia Arabia has both money and apparently our support in this venture.

    And no, this isn’t about “the perfect the enemy of the good.” This is the stupid being exposed. “Nuclear free world” may be an interesting aspiration, but to be more than just a fantasy there has to be a strategy. And there isn’t one. If the NYC mayor has an aspiration goal of “no auto accidents” and his actions have doubled them. You’d be critical.

    Look on the centrifuges thing, you’ve admitted that you think that an agreement which doesn’t actually curtail their capability at all is good because it is an agreement when before there was none is your position. I think that is nonsense.

  18. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    You didn’t answer my question.

    The answer to your question is that in most states (at least mine) “no fault” is the law which determines without considering of who is to blame the agreements of payment. Are you saying “no fault” laws are in place w.r.t. oil exploration? This brings an additional question to bear of course. Right now, bumpers are designed to maximally protect the driver by destroying themselves on any contact (crush) to soften the momentum exchange. Little consideration is given to cost, in part because of no-fault insurance and its prevalence. It may very well be that bumpers could be designed to both protect the drive and be less likely to require a $500-1500 charge for a minor tap. But since there is no demand for that … because of insurance, nobody’s doing that.

    Question: Your doctor says the operation has a 70% chance of success. It fails. You sue. Is that right? Is he morally and legally obligated to pay restitution for your condition not being fixed? Why do you think so?

    Question (this happened): I was having a cavity drilled and filled. The tooth broke during drilling requiring a more costly cap. Who should bear the extra cost?

    Question: (recall this happened) Your doctor tells you to follow his advice (take meds) and you don’t. Bad things happen and now you are confined to the bed. You sue. You win, ’cause gosh, doctors have insurance and lots of money. Is that right?

  19. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    But that’s not the point. Look. We seem to have a fundamental disagreement. Let’s see if I can’t isolate it a bit. Here are a few items I remember.

    1. The government mandated use of a particular emergency stop/flow arrestor at the well head.
    2. This installation was inspected.
    3. It was indicated after the arrestor failed that that device may not function reliably at those depths (about 2 miles).

    If that is the case, that the government required a safety device, which failed … why are you liabled.

    You have to use X by law. The government inspects X to confirm it is being used correctly. X fails and it can be shown later that X is not reliable for that use. You think you are liable. I disagree. I think the government involvement in this way can be argued should indemnify you, they required and confirmed that you were correctly using a device that would not work in those conditions. On what basis do you disagree with that?

    Now you may want to argue that the situation above is not what happened and that is a different matter. Let’s settle this part first. Are you or should you be liable in those circumstances.

  20. Boonton says:

    You are incorrect about ‘no-fault insurance’. No-fault applies to personal injuries. If the person you hit complained he had back problems, he would have to go through his own insurance and could not sue you (unless certain conditions were meet like his injuries were in a list or medical expenses exceeded some threshold). This has nothing to do with property damage. If the accident is deemed your fault, your insurance would pay. Otherwise he would either be left with nothing or would have to get reimbursed from his own coverage if he carried collision. (think about it, why would anyone carry collision if ‘no-fault’ coverage meant your car always gets fixed regardless of who caused the accident).

    So kindly address the question then I’ll work on yours. If you hit him and damaged his bumper, do you think you should be morally and legally liable to compensate him?

  21. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    If you hit him and damaged his bumper, do you think you should be morally and legally liable to compensate him?

    Sure, given your prior claim that it was my fault. I’m unclear on why that is relevant.

  22. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    In small fender benders I’ve been involved from what I remember each insurance company covers damages to their own cars without requiring establishing exactly who is to blame. That seems to be their custom.

    The point the actual obligation in this regard depends on local custom.

  23. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    So another liability question. You have a tree in your yard. A storm hits and topples it doing significant damage to your neighbors house. Are you liable ’cause it’s your tree?

    If so … and you’ve established a “he who owns the tree, is responsible” as a principle, what if the tree is on federal land on which your house has a common borer. Are the feds liable?

  24. Boonton says:

    Sure, given your prior claim that it was my fault. I’m unclear on why that is relevant.

    I didn’t actually say it was your fault. That was you decision. But leave that aside.

    Were you not driving a car that had passed all gov’t mandated safety requirements? Did you not indirectly pay for (through the price of the car) all the safety testing the manufacturer did? Did you not take and pass the gov’t required test to demonstrate you knew how to safely drive a car? Were you not driving on gov’t approved roads, designed by gov’t approved traffic engineers and built by gov’t approved contractors? Were you not going to approved speed limit?

    So why should you be liable? Aren’t you just like your hypothetical rigging company whose drilling was within the ‘approved plan’?

    onto your questions: In our 3 doctor type questions, none of those lawsuits as you described them would succeed. In fact you probably could not find a lawyer to make them unless you were willing to pony up a large retainer, which you would most certainly loose as your lawyer bills at $150/hr until he tells you the case is lost. Have you ever actually discussed suing a doctor with a lawyer? I have, twice.

    So another liability question. You have a tree in your yard. A storm hits and topples it doing significant damage to your neighbors house. Are you liable ’cause it’s your tree?

    Yes, I believe that is how it generally works.

    If so … and you’ve established a “he who owns the tree, is responsible” as a principle, what if the tree is on federal land on which your house has a common borer. Are the feds liable?

    Something like that happened near me. Picatinny Arsenal was firing some shells and one travelled outside the range of the base, landed on a home. It made a hole right through the roof, down onto the bed in a child’s room killing the family cat. They did in fact pay for repairs to the house as well as added something for the loss of the cat as well as the emotional trama of having a shell crash into your child’s bed.

    In general you can recover if your harmed by the Federal gov’t. The procedures, though, are probably a bit different (for example, sovereign immunity means you can’t sue the gov’t directly unless the gov’t consents but you can sue individual representatives of the gov’t which is why many S.C. cases have titles like So_and_So.v.Ashcroft.)

    Say, though, for the sake of argument in the tree example you couldn’t sue. If you are aware of this ahead of time then presumably you would pay less for a house next to Federal land than one next to non-Federal. After all, you have less outside recourse for problems. Likewise your home insurance should be more since there are fewer people your insurance company could sue.

    In general there are different liability regimes. ‘Strict liability’ operates where you are 100% responsible regardless of how much good faith effort you made to do everything right. Your tree damaging your neighbor’s house is an example of that. Other regimes only result in liability if you failed to exercise some level of proper care. The cracked tooth example would fall into that. You can only make a claim if you can show the dentist did something wrong. In other cases there may be no liability at all, such as the low level ‘no-fault’ cases for personal injuries in auto accidents.

    Which regime something falls into reflects our personal feelings about moral responsibility but in theory it shouldn’t matter all that much. If you are responsible for trees that fall from your property, your insurance has to go up to protect you from trees that might fall from your property and damage your neighbor…but it can lower since if it is your neigbor’s tree that damages you, you can recover from him. If the regime is reversed and you can’t sue for other people’s tree’s harming you then the process reverses….your homeowners doesn’t have to worry about your neighbors suing you for your bad trees but now has to protect you from their trees.

  25. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    onto your questions: In our 3 doctor type questions, none of those lawsuits as you described them would succeed.

    In point of fact, the lawsuit where the patient refused to follow instructions and was subsequently confined to her bed was lost.

    Were you not driving a car that had passed all gov’t mandated safety requirements?

    Not relevant. The accident here was caused by operator error. The point on the BP finding was not operator error but that equipment mandated did not operate reliably at that depth. And for regulatory (FDA) type indemnification … I’d agree that if you show that if procedures were shown to be not followed, then the company should be liable. But if the procedures were followed and they don’t work … then I don’t see why the company is liable.

  26. Boonton says:

    In point of fact, the lawsuit where the patient refused to follow instructions and was subsequently confined to her bed was lost.

    Lost by whom? The doctor I think you mean. The problem with ancedotes like this is usually half or more of the story is left out (and the people who talk the most are often on the losing side of the story, so they have little incentive to give you the aspects of the case that didn’t put them in such a positive light….everyone in jail will happily chew your ear on all the mistakes the police and prosecutors made in their case but will likely not tell you about the evidence against them).

    Not relevant. The accident here was caused by operator error.

    But here the operator was licensed by the gov’t after taking and passing both medical and knowledge tests to determine they were qualified! How is that different than, say, the gov’t approving the design of the brakes your car was manufactured with?

    I think what you mean to say here is that the gov’t is not providing a guarantee of driver or car safety. It is providing a floor. If you couldn’t read the eye chart or pass the exam, gov’t wouldn’t let you drive. That doesn’t guarantee if you do pass you are a safe driver or that gov’t would assume the responsibility of ensuring you were safe.

  27. Boonton says:

    You may want to review http://www.mccookbison.org/MPS/Staff/Brent%20May/CR/GL/Chp/20-22/CH21.pdf

    Note absent strict liability, one has to prove a person or company breached their duty of care. In a case where you have a product that produces no bad effects in valid studies using samples of a few hundred people but a one in a million side effect is uncovered when it becomes widely used, I don’t think strict liability is easily established and if it isn’t the plaintiff would have to show not just that there was a harmful side effect but some duty of care was breached (i.e. like not reporting the events when they became known or hiding data that established the effect).