Some of my favorite records are collections of out-takes, b-sides, and other tracks that never quite made it onto albums. When carelessly curated (I'm looking at YOU, Anthology I, II, and III) they do little more gather cutting-room floor material for completists. But when assembled with care (or sometimes just luck) they can reveal something about an artist that their carefully-cultivated albums fail to. And since I haven't created a "Five Perfect" post in several years, I thought this would be a good time.
Honorable mentions: Black Market Clash, Still In Hollywood, side two of the cassette of Standing on a Beach, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, and Tom Waits' three-disc Orphans collection.
I’m not saying there should be federal intervention, but this Google-Verizon thing is EXACTLY what legislated Net Neutrality advocates warned about. Corporatists who opposed Net Neutrality regulations liked to ask, “Where’s the harm?” Well it’s right here.
So step-up, you so-called “libertarian” advocates of unrestricted freedom for the corporate beneficiaries of government largesse. Are you going to write scathing articles criticizing the behavior of Google and Verizon, urging consumers and businesses to “vote with their wallets” and support providers who stand up for the end-to-end principle? Or will you turn a blind eye to the shenanigans of giant corporations who made their billions on the back of that principle, and now wish to deny it to the next generation?
Thoughtful post by Tim B. Lee on the lack of libertarian presence at the "liberal CPAC" event.
Also, I never say this, but read the comments - some good stuff down there!
(HT: Monkey Ben's twitter feed)
I'm pretty iffy on the principle of intellectual property already, but stories like this just persuade me that it's generally a bad idea:
Patent holding company NTP, which received a $612.5 million settlement from BlackBerry marker Research In Motion in a patent infringement case, has filed patent lawsuits against six makers of smartphones or related software, including Apple and Google.
A company that doesn't produce anything, but simply buys up patents in order to extort money from any company trying to produce an interesting product that meets a customer need? Only a lawyer could come up with an idea like that.
Jon Stewart reminds us that "change" ain't all it's cracked up to be:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Respect My Authoritah|
(Hat tip: Boing Boing)
Seriously, program directors, give these bands a rest for a few years:
Who did I miss?
Seriously, it's like these stations are frozen in the mid-90's. After the jump, take a look at this playlist from TODAY on my local "alternative" station. Note that not only did they play Cake three times in a 9 hour period, they played "The Distance" TWICE. Inexcusable.
Rand "Son of Ron" Paul is CRUSHING incumbent Republican party-whore Trey Grayson in the Senate primary for Kentucky.
UPDATE: The AP has called the race for Paul. Grayson lost 2-1 in his home district. David Weigel's take is here.
I'm going to start the discussion with religion and spirituality, not because it's the primary reason we homeschool (it isn't) but because it's the reason many (most?) people assume families homeschool their children.
There are a lot of religious reasons to homeschool your children, but the most compelling one for me is that I believe that all education is inherently religious/spiritual. Meaning: Apart from very few subjects (typing perhaps?) you always rely on presuppositions, and those presuppositions are usually tied in some way to one's metaphysics and beliefs about spiritual reality. The idea of delivering some kind of "neutral" secular education is laughable. When you approach subjects like history, language, and science presupposing that the material universe is all there is, you will teach those subjects quite differently than if you presuppose that there is a spiritual realm.
In many subjects, public education is hamstrung by the anti-establishment clause on the one hand, and the inherently religious nature of education on the other. As children grow and their education develops, the material constantly calls out for value judgments. History, for example, is unintelligible if you refuse to acknowledge the religious and political motivations of its actors. How does one teach children about the crusades, the Roman Empire, the Enlightenment, or the wars of the 20th century without expressing SOME kind of moral judgment? Forget ONE, how do you enforce a set of standards for neutrality among THOUSANDS of teachers, knowing that they all come from different backgrounds and carry different spiritual biases?
Some other religious/spiritual reasons we, or other homeschoolers, might choose to keep our children out of the school system:
Also note that spiritual concerns go both ways. If you're an atheist in a district that has decided to teach Intelligent Design in its science curriculum, you might decide to keep your child home. Likewise other faiths.
The parenthetical comment should probably read, "the first in a series that will likely be abandoned about one third of the way through, like everything else I start here," but that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
CRywalt left a comment on one of Ben's education posts that included this drive-by piece of snark:
Bad enough we've got evangelical, conservative Christians homeschooling to avoid their kids' learning about evolution or sexual reproduction.
As an evangelical, conservative Christian (I'm an officer in my church, which is part of the Presbyterian Church in America, one of the more theologically conservative denominations) who, along with my wife, has chosen to homeschool our children, I find it disappointing and a bit offensive that this line is delivered without a twinge of recognition that it is simply repeating a convenient stereotype. It belongs on the trash-heap of stereotypes that include, "women who work are putting their careers before their families," and "people from the South are inbred racists."
In the interest of shedding light on the many reasons parents choose to homeschool these days, I will try to do individual posts on these topics:
Not necessarily in that order, and not necessarily exclusively.
Watch this space...
As a (theologically) conservative protestant, let me say that I'll stick with Aquinas on the "social justice" issue, rather than the crazed rantings of a man who chose his religion almost incidentally.
I retweeted this link to a brief post by John Stossel: Education Is Too Important for a Government Monopoly
It wasn't a big thing, just a quick retweet of something I found interesting (and, of course, that supported my biases!) It sparked a minor flurry of tweets between Joel, Rick, and myself. It is reproduced here for your comment/amusement:
joeldermole: @robbl I don't think parents send their kids to private schools purely because of the teachers. He lost me there.
robbl: @joeldermole Agreed. At the same time, what's the justification for public education if the quality isn't demonstrably higher?
robbl: @joeldermole i.e., parents may not choose private over public ONLY due to quality but quality appears to be the core of the counterargument.
joeldermole: @robbl Fair enough. But once they start taking public funds, private schools won't be private in the same way anymore.
joeldermole: @robbl They'll have to take all the poor kids and kids from broken families who are a big part of the reason pub schools seem worse.
robbl: @joeldermole Agreed, but coming from a state that's busting at the seams with charter schools, I'd say that's not a bad thing, either.
robbl: @joeldermole I have a few friends who teach at charters, including lots of "at risk" kids, and the metrics still beat public.
deregulator: @joeldermole @robbl Dont have stats at my disposal, but I recall seeing where charters in some states were more diverse than reg pub skuls
joeldermole: @deregulator @robbl You guys know more than I do. I'm not prolly not a good liberal on this issue, in that I'm not wedded to current system.
robbl: @joeldermole I oppose govt. funding on principle, but from practical standpoint I believe 100% voucher-based would be superior to current.
joeldermole: @robbl You opposed govt funding of schools? I don't think I can go with you there, necessarily. But I'm not opposed to vouchers.
robbl: @joeldermole Well, seeing as I oppose GOVERNMENT on principle, you should've seen that coming. :-)
[and then there was this side conversation]
robbl: @deregulator @joeldermole I suppose I should've just InstaMonkey'd this. Who knew?
deregulator: @robbl @joeldermole InstaMonkey! shd be a great discussion
robbl: @deregulator @joeldermole I'll think about it, but I'm hesitant to bump "Rock Sugar" off the top of the blog. :-)
joeldermole:@robbl You should know that wasn't even the worst Rock Sugar song.
joeldermole: @robbl You're right. In any case, THIS was a worse Rock Sugar song
Update: Reference from the title:
I confess that after the (successfully thwarted) Christmas Day airline bombing attempt, I intentionally avoided reading anything about it - particularly after I heard rumors of new rules being proposed by the TSA. You see, I travel a LOT for my job and didn't need my holiday ruined thinking about how much more miserable my next trip was going to be. Further, my family is getting ready to take an international vacation in a few weeks, increasing my potential travel-related anxiety considerably.
But a few days ago Assignment Editor Ben, knowing how much I travel, asked that I write a post about how a libertarian with anarchist sympathies deals (copes?) with significant amounts of air travel in a post-9/11 world. Several others have written posts and articles about the new policies, how we should react, how we shouldn't react, who's to blame, etc. There have been several posts on this very blog (and on Joel's) analyzing the event and its aftermath from various angles. I'm going to try not to retread most of that analysis. Rather, I'm going to write two posts that focus on my personal experiences - this one, the first, describing my experiences from September 11, 2001 through my last trip just a couple of weeks ago, and the second after my family and I return from Europe describing what, if anything, has changed. Throughout, I will try to explain how someone (myself) who is so rigid in his beliefs about liberty can endure constant government manhandling without going completely insane.
Please click read more below for the first portion of my story.
A good friend from church and I have been exchanging emails on the subject of Christianity and libertarianism - in my opinion, two great tastes that taste great together. The conversation was spurred by this post on First Things. Here, in quotes, are excerpts from her email, along with my replies in-line.
Finally got a chance to read the article. I did find it interesting. I think I could have articulated those thoughts (with no elegance, however) when describing the difference between social conservatives and libertarians.
These are big questions, but I'll try to cover as many as I can. But first, it's important to distinguish several things, starting with:
What these spheres encompass and where they overlap (and where they don't) is one of the fundamental areas of disagreement between progressives, conservatives, and libertarians. Even within the orthodox Christian community, you will find left-liberals, social conservatives, monarchists, anarchists, and everywhere in-between. And the disagreement often comes down to spheres of authority. (Not exclusively, of course, but it's a big part of it.)
Another lens through which to view these issues is the lens of force. Government, fundamentally, is force. And force is the ability to compel someone, ultimately under penalty of death, to behave in a certain way. The libertarian takes this very seriously, and often speaks of "the gun in the room" whenever the exercise of government power is discussed. P. J. O'Rourke described the evaluation of taxes and policy in this way: If you you would not put a gun to your grandmother’s head to get it done, you should not advocate taxpayer money be spent on it. Because ultimately, your grandmother is being forced to pay taxes, and if she does not pay them, she will be arrested. If she resists that, the government will kill her. That is the "gun in the room."
On to some of your questions:
Go back and reread "Jason's response" from Oct. 7. I didn't agree with some of what he wrote...
I don't think Jason's characterization of libertarians is particularly fair. I think it's more accurate to say there are a two major strains of libertarians, and maybe only one of them would prize autonomy over authority and "external freedom" over "internal freedom." I wrote an essay on the two major strains of libertarians, which may (or may not) provide a different kind of distinction. You can view it here:
Here's where the tension with this subject is for me: since there are laws in place that fly in the face of Biblical law, are we to never oppose them as the conservatives do (all the time)?
I think it very much depends:
These are two hugely different situations. In the case of the former, it's hard to argue that Christians don't have at least an obligation to disobey such laws, if not work for their repeal. But in Democracies, those laws are somewhat rare. The largest "gray area" is tax revenue going to fund activity that is sinful. But I personally think that if you go down that road, it's hard to avoid winding up with a radically libertarian tax policy at the end. :-)
The latter situation is radically different. A law that permits sin (or, similarly, the absence of a law in a particular area) does not fundamentally FORCE anyone to sin. When Daniel and his friends approached their kings when they were in captivity, they asked for the freedom to obey their God's commands, not for him to compel the rest of the nation to do so.
I think your characterization of what "conservatives" do vs. what "Democrats" do probably needs to be addressed. Note that social conservatives are quick to pass laws against drugs, pornography, and prostitution, but are conspicuously absent (or, more frequently, vehemently opposed) when someone suggests that corporate greed should be checked, or the government should not be allowed to torture prisoners or wage aggressive pre-emptive wars that violate a thousand years of Christian "just war" theory.
(for the rest of this post, please click "read more" below)
In the spirit of Ben's recent post about
tyranny overcriminalization, here's a brief article in the Wall Street Journal Online about how the disappearance of "intent" and the vague wording of laws turns us all into criminals.
Libertarian aside: Law enforcement . They consider vague laws "tools" to catch folks who they "know are guilty of something" but can't get a conviction for genuine wrongdoing. As usual, there are unintended results, such as SWAT teams battering down the doors of orchid-growing octogenarians.
I'd like to thank James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and all of the other yahoos on the Religious Right who agitated for preachers to "cross the line" and tell their people how to vote for the last thirty years. Now neither you nor your precious Republican party have any room to complain when Barack Obama does this. Way to go, fellas.
I was kind of avoiding this discussion because, well, my position is as likely as not to be misunderstood. But, dammit, citizens should be able to carry around loaded firearms and not even raise an eyebrow, much less cause full-blown media apoplexy.
Matt Welch discusses the freakout at Reason.
Reason's Hit and Run has a short blog entry about coverage of the healthcare "town hall" meetings in the L. A. Times. It draws attention to a ridiculous quote from a Berkeley prof. who is also a Democratic advisor:
"I think it is very hard because [Democrats] don't have the message machine the Republicans do," said George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley linguistics professor who has advised some Democrats on how to sharpen their message. "The Democrats still believe in Enlightenment reason: If you just tell people the truth, they will come to the right conclusion."
Monkey Ben is out of the office, or I'd expect his usual commentary on this issue. In his absence, I will simply link to this blog post at Reason regarding pending legislation in Venezuela regarding "media crimes."
Says Michael C. Moynihan, author of the Reason post above, "It is worth reiterating what should be (but isn't) obvious to Chavez's Western sycophants: Venezuela is no longer a democracy, despite Chavez's victories at the ballot box."
Joel and I have both pointed out (from different edges of the political spectrum) the hypocrisy of Republicans AND "Big-C" Conservatives in railing against Obama's supposed "socialism" after having spent eight years in virtual silence over Bush 43's profligate spending. The fact is, Bush's party and vocal supporters simply have zero credibility on matters of fiscal responsibility, even if Obama IS outspending them.
Of course, the voices of principled libertarianism (Cato, Reason, Mises, etc.) were not silent during the Bush years, and continue their credible criticism currently. (Once I started alliterating, I just couldn't stop.) This article from the Cato Institute is broadly critical of Obama and the Democrats' policies, while making sure to lay plenty of blame at the feet of the supposedly "small government" party:
So why do politicians keep driving taxes and spending higher? One reason is that most Republicans in Congress have abandoned spending restraint. Consider House Majority Leader John Boehner. He heckles Obama's spending as "one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment." But the president recently challenged him to find specific programs to cut, and the best Boehner and his team could do was a list of cuts worth less than 1 percent of the bloated federal budget. If Obama is a "socialist," then the House Republican leadership is 99 percent socialist.
Amen. Take the hammer and sickle out of your own eye... [or insert your own hypocrisy metaphor here.]
One of the things I learned watching "The West Wing" was that Friday is "Take out the trash day" for the communications staff: Take all of the minor stories that make the administration look bad, and feed them to the press corps on Friday afternoon, so that by the time Monday rolls around the stories will have all played out in the weekend news cycle and the general public will be unaware of most of it.
This post has nothing to do with that. I was deliberately distracting you.
Instead, I was just looking for a place to post several links to libertarian topics I've picked up on my Twitter feeds over the past few days. All three of these links are from Reason - either the magazine or the foundation.
First, there's an article on why the "Feds Should Allow the Market to Work Freely" - which is valuable not so much for it's conclusion (which you get from the title alone) but for the brief history of how Fed meddling created both the S&L crisis of the 80's and the current financial disaster.
Next, a few days ago Monkey Ben suggested using Letters of Marque and Reprisal in fighting the Somali Pirates. Congressman Ron Paul agrees, and this article on Reason's "Out of Control Policy Blog" summarizes.
Finally, Matt Welch has posted the indelicately titled "Army of Dicks Goes After Dick Armey," which points out that not ALL conservatives decided to wait until Obama was POTUS before finding religion on government spending.
Penn Jillette ponders Obama's agenda and reflects on the difference between intuitive truths and counterintuitive truths.
Seriously, where else but in a Minor League ballpark would you see a promotion like this one? Nowhere, I tell you.
(Don't neglect to watch the promotional video here.)
Bureaucrash, Break The Matrix, and Campaign for Liberty are all promoting HR1207, a bill that would repeal a 1950 law that exempts the Fed from any auditing procedures. If it were to pass, the Fed would have to tell us (as an example) where the TARP money went.
Why doesn't everyone support this? I don't understand what principled argument a liberal OR conservative might make in opposition to Fed transparency. The closest thing I've heard was Tony Blankley speculating that if the Fed were forced to report exactly how screwed up our financial situation is, and how much the various banks have propped each other up with circular loans to each other, it might cause the worldwide financial situation to even further collapse. I don't know about you, but that sounds an awful lot like, "My oh my, look how stylish and attractive the Emperor's wardrobe is today!"
Via a tweet from Mythbuster Adam Savage, who got it from BoingBoing, a truly insightful article about what it really means to talk about "the future of newspapers" - it's exciting, unsettling, and thought-provoking. One excerpt doesn't do it justice, so consider this just a teaser:
When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.
There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.
The lead paragraphs sound a personal note for me:
Back in 1993, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain began investigating piracy of Dave Barry’s popular column, which was published by the Miami Herald and syndicated widely. In the course of tracking down the sources of unlicensed distribution, they found many things, including the copying of his column to alt.fan.dave_barry on usenet; a 2000-person strong mailing list also reading pirated versions; and a teenager in the Midwest who was doing some of the copying himself, because he loved Barry’s work so much he wanted everybody to be able to read it.
One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days.
Back in the mid-1980's, when most kids like me were busy getting beat up, I was spending my afternoons (and evenings) dialed in [300-baud modem! Uphill both ways!] to the local Honeywell Multics mainframe, wasting time in innovative ways that the general public now takes for granted, including early equivalents of "chat rooms" and "instant messaging." Since the Multics system was connected to the ARPAnet (before Al Gore invented it) and Usenet, I was an early consumer of "bootlegged Dave Barry" - I still quote his joke about how the only way to kill a deer with a .22 is to put poison on the bullet and get the deer to swallow it. The fact that it took Knight-Ridder until 1993 (eight years!) to figure out that Barry was being bootlegged on Usenet says volumes about how dominating institutions are completely oblivious to the things that will ultimately displace them.
But stop reading my blather - read the whole article.