DYSPEPSIA GENERATION

We have seen the future, and it sucks.

Archive for December, 2010

Turning Behavioral Economics Around

31st December 2010

David Friedman is always worth reading.

Or consider the widely held view that global warming on the scale suggested by the IPCC reports—a few degrees C over about a century—would obviously be a catastrophe. It cannot be based on the idea that humans cannot live with somewhat higher temperatures, since humans already exist, indeed prosper, across a much wider temperature range. It cannot be based on the idea that increased temperature is inherently bad, since there are obviously lots of places that would be better suited to human habitation if a little warmer, including most of Canada, Alaska and Siberia. The world was not, after all, designed for our benefit, so there is no reason to believe that current climate is optimal for us. There has been a good deal of talk about higher sea levels, but most of it ignores the fact that the increase suggested by the various IPCC models is only a foot or so—much less than the usual difference between high tide and low.

Rapid climate change is presumptively undesirable, since our present way of doing things—what crops we grow where, where our housing is located and how well it is insulated—is optimized to present conditions. But over a hundred years, farmers will change crops several times over, a large fraction of the housing stock will be replaced or modified, we will change what we are doing for lots of reasons unrelated to climate change. Hence it is hard to argue any strong presumption that climate change at the rates suggested by current models is bad.

Yet discussions of the subject almost always take it for granted that it is not merely bad but catastrophically bad, worth bearing very large present costs to prevent. A clear case of status quo bias.

Why these people are considered ‘progressives’ rather than obviously rabid reactionaries has always puzzled me. Environmentalists the same way; there is no substantive difference between ‘conservationist’ and ‘conservative’.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Frank Zappa on Crossfire

31st December 2010

Watch it.

Frank Zappa in a suit. Just seems wrong, somehow.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Homeschooling and Socialization

31st December 2010

Read it.

Of course, anecdotes do not prove that a healthy socialization is not possible in a public school, and there are many success stories that establish the possibility. But the horror stories do seem to blunt the blanket criticisms of homeschooling. The real question that should be asked is not whether a child will be socialized but how the child will be socialized.

I have seen firsthand the sort of ‘socialization’ that goes on in American grade and high schools. Short of sending them to live with the Taliban, I can’t think of anything worse we could do to them. I am prepared to argue that our children are better off without it.

But maybe that’s just me.

It is, to be sure, efficient to divide children into age cohorts and to educate them as a group. Doing otherwise is virtually unimaginable and would require a return to something like the one room school house where children of various ages were educated together. When education is conducted on a large scale such an arrangement would be simply untenable. Yet, it seems almost unavoidable that educating children according to age cohort invariably socializes them to think of themselves as part of a certain group designated by age. That is, at best, a limited preparation for an adult world where one ought to be capable of dealing with people of a variety of ages.

Indeed. Welcome to the Industrial Age Factory School. You, child, are part of batch 1997-C. Wear it with pride; it will help if we need to do a recall later.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

The Grand Theory of How Are You?

31st December 2010

Read it.

The Poem/Landing Light Confabulation

This formula states that happiness equals the number of poems you know off by heart, divided by the number of times per night you have to get out of bed to go for a wee. Developed by Prof Stanley Ardwin, emeritus professor of medicine at Imperial College, London, the theory puts a surprising weight on the beneficial effects of being able to recite the whole of Tintern Abbey and a similar but inverse emphasis on nocturnal, bladder-based inconvenience. Professor Ardwin, 84, ends his paper by saying: “As you get older, these things start to matter.”

I suspect that Jay and I have everyone else pretty much beat on this one. Hardly anybody memorizes poetry any more (more’s the pity).

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

Peacherine Rag

31st December 2010

Watch it.

Scott Joplin played by the St Luke’s Bottle Band. This has to be seen to be believed.

God bless America.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

Innovation Is the Thing

31st December 2010

Rich Lowry reminds us of how blessed we really are.

“In 1800 the average human consumed and expected her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to go on consuming a mere $3 a day,” Deirdre N. McCloskey writes in her dazzling new book, Bourgeois Dignity. “The only people much better off than $3 or so up to 1800 were lords or bishops or some few of the merchants. It had been this way for all of history, and for that matter all of prehistory. With her $3 a day the average denizen of the earth got a few pounds of potatoes, a little milk, an occasional scrap of meat.”

In short, almost all the world was Bangladesh. Then, everything changed. Even though the planet now has six-and-a-half times more people than it did two centuries ago, those people earn and consume on average ten times as much as they once did. “Starvation worldwide is therefore at an all-time low, and falling. Literacy and life expectancy are at all-time highs, and rising. Liberty is spreading. Slavery is retreating,” McCloskey writes.

‘Poor’ people today take for granted amenities that Queen Victoria could not have had for any amount of money. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the whiners who are all upset because the ‘poor’ have obesity problems.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Lookout Locates Stolen Car, Returns DROID Incredible to Owner in 7 Minutes

31st December 2010

Read it.

We have the technology.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

7 Startup Lessons, Courtesy of United Airlines’ Crappy Customer Service

31st December 2010

Read it.

The TSA may awkwardly grope you, but United Airlines will flat out screw you.

Yet more reasons not to fly.

And remember: United breaks guitars.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Atheists Don’t Have No Songs

31st December 2010

Watch it.

Who knew Steve Martin could sing?

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

Pray About It

31st December 2010

Read it.

Yeah, more of that religion stuff. Feel free to skip it if you’re in a hurry.

This isn’t actually about the post that I reference — although it’s a fine piece, and you ought to read it — but rather about the thought that it triggered in my own mind: The overwhelming majority of people have no clue what prayer is for or about for a Christian. (This also has resonance with a comment left on the blog a bit ago by Eric S. Raymond; Eric, for all his intelligence, can be a hell of a lazy and superficial thinker when he wants to be.)

Even in historically Christian countries, people look at the the formal nature of prayer and dismiss it as some primitive relic out of man’s barbarian past. ‘Yeah, we’re asking God for something. Like that’s going to do any good.’ And then they move on, without giving it any thought. A few might get a dim inkling of what’s going on: ‘Wait a minute! God knows what I want. Why do I have to go through the effort of actually asking?’ That’s a good question, but they rarely bother trying to find an answer — again, dismissing it as a primitive survival. But, if pursued, it’s really the start of a journey that will lead you to buried treasure.

The Christian God is omniscient; He knows everything, including (a) what you want, (b) what you need, and (c) what you lack (and those are three different things; don’t get them mixed up or you’ll regret it). Why are all these people wandering around telling us to ask Him for stuff, when He already knows? Even He pesters us to ask him for stuff, when the available evidence indicates that He’s probably going to ignore us; how does that help?

Well, bunkie, I’m here to tell you how it helps. Prayer isn’t aimed at God. It’s aimed at you.

That may sound strange, but bear with me. How many of you have had the experience of thinking you know something, and then being asked to explain it to somebody else, and quickly realizing that, hey, maybe you didn’t know it as well as you thought you did? I have, more times than I can count. (In fact, many people will tell you that the best way to learn something is to try to teach it to somebody else.) Again: How many of you have had the experience of describing a problem you’ve got to somebody else, and in the course of doing so, received a flash of insight that solves (or helps solve) the problem? Again, I have, more times than I can count. We even have a name for the Other Guy in that process: a ‘sounding board’.

And that’s the function of prayer. It articulates something that is just wandering around in your head like Caspar the Friendly Ghost, and makes it explicit. And once something is explicit, it’s a concrete thing that can be worked on, and with.

Prayer deals with two things: Where we are and where we want to be. Face it, nobody prays when sitting on a beach chair in St Tropez sipping on a margarita and waiting for José to bring the cracked crab for lunch.  Prayer indicates that you aren’t where in life you want to be. And nobody prays for something bad to happen; prayer indicates where in life you want to move to. Making those two things explicit in prayer focuses your mind on them, as teaching a subject or describing a problem does, and that puts your mind to work on it. And, as the classic phrase has it, knowing you’ve got a problem is the necessary first step in solving it.

Think about it. Kids pray for different things than adults, because their situations are different from those of adults. Men pray for different things than women, because their situations are different from those of women. Americans pray for different things than Australians, because their situations are different from those of Australians. Each individual has a unique situation and a unique goal, and prayer is a great method for focusing on those two core aspects of life.

Prayers are different from wishes, because they’re more realistic. We can wish for the moon — sometimes literally — without embarrassment: I wish I had super powers. I wish I were King of the World. I wish I had Bill Gates’ money and he was locked in Steve Jobs’ attic. It doesn’t matter. But nobody prays for that sort of thing, because we realize that, if God answers a prayer, it’s going to be something realistic.

Let’s try an exercise. If I were to ask you to pray (‘ask God’) for something, what would it be?

I guarantee that it would be important (you don’t bug God for trivialities), it would be realistic (this isn’t the genie in the lamp we’re talking to), and it would be a concrete indication of where in your life you would rather be other than right here. And that’s its value. It points out what your next priority in life needs to be. It gives you a hook on which to hang some serious thought. Why am I not happy where I am in life? Why do I think that this particular change will put me in a better place? And the most important thought of all: How can I get from here to there? You may think it’s impossible — probably so, otherwise you wouldn’t be praying about it, you’d be doing it. But what if it’s not impossible? What if it just seems impossible? Maybe if you set your mind to it, you’ll find a way? You can be pretty sure God isn’t going to give you what you’re asking for (has He ever?), but what He will do is help you find out how to get it for yourself. God is like a good coach or a good teacher: He’s not going to tell you the answer, but he’ll help you find it on your own, if you’re willing to get with the program.

And that’s the importance of prayer. Prayer doesn’t tell God anything He doesn’t already know; it tells you what you need to get to work on. It’s focuses your own mind on your most important unsolved problem. This is why Paul, in Thessalonians, says ‘Pray without ceasing’, because focus is an unnatural state, and we need to work on it All The Time.

Now, go focus on what you were praying about, and make your life a little better.

Posted in Think about it. | 2 Comments »

Reading in the Digital Age, or, Reading How We’ve Always Read

31st December 2010

Read it.

The ‘publishing industry’, broadly defined, is changing in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. This piece, from a site aimed at writers, has some interesting thoughts on the subject.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Computer Game Makes You a Genetic Scientist

31st December 2010

Read it.

Well, to an extent.

The Phylo developers want the game to appeal to people who would otherwise play Farmville.

A scary thought.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | Comments Off

Online Archive of Sears Catalogs Gives Glimpse of History

31st December 2010

Read it.

I love old catalogs.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | 1 Comment »

ALADDIN to the Rescue

31st December 2010

Read it.

Handing battlefield decisions to the collective intelligence of robot soldiers sounds risky, but it is the essence of a research project called ALADDIN. Autonomous Learning Agents for Decentralised Data and Information Networks, to give its full name, is a five-year-old collaboration between BAE Systems, a British defence contractor, the universities of Bristol, Oxford and Southampton, and Imperial College, London. In it, the grunts act as agents, collecting and exchanging information. They then bargain with each other over the best course of action, make a decision and carry it out.

So far, ALADDIN’s researchers have limited themselves to tests that simulate disasters such as earthquakes rather than warfare; saving life, then, rather than taking it. That may make the technology seem less sinister. But disasters are similar to battlefields in their degree of confusion and complexity, and in the consequent unreliability and incompleteness of the information available. What works for disaster relief should therefore also work for conflict. BAE Systems has said that it plans to use some of the results from ALADDIN to improve military logistics, communications and combat-management systems.

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The Fun-Suckers

31st December 2010

P. J. O’Rourke nails it, as usual.

You know the Fun-Suckers. You may be married to one. The Fun-Suckers go around saying how unsafe this fun thing is and how unhealthy that fun thing is and how unfair, unjust, uncaring, insensitive, divisive, contagious, and fattening every other thing that’s fun is.

The Fun-Suckers are a bit too careful, a bit too concerned, a bit too scrupulous. That’s bullshit. They’re evil and they hate us. The motive behind spoiling things for others and then throwing a wet blanket over the rained-on parade is a matter of neither caution nor morals. The Fun-Suckers suck the fun out of life in order to gain control. They’ve found a way to achieve power without merit. Nothing requires less information, education, or accomplishment than saying that everything’s wrong. It’s wrong to risk lives, wrong to use up earth’s resources, wrong to pollute air, wrong to support an economic system that heightens income inequalities, wrong to own a big, expensive car, drive it fast, and vote Republican.

We all know them. Democrats are Fun-Suckers. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are Fun-Suckers (just look at them). Environmentalists are Fun-Suckers. Feminists are Fun-Suckers. Communists are Fun-Suckers. Most modern journalists are Fun-Suckers. Most public school teachers and administrators are Fun-Suckers. Evangelical preachers are Fun-Suckers. U.N. bureaucrats are Fun-Suckers. The Taliban are Fun-Suckers. Al Qaeda are Fun-Suckers. Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah are Fun-Suckers. The Ayatollahs in Iran are Fun-Suckers.

Barak and Michelle Obama are Fun-Suckers.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Iraq Christians bury their dead after more attacks

31st December 2010

Read it.

My, what a surprise. Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.

That’s some fine Religion o’ Peace™ you got there, Mohammed.

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Six Modest Proposals

30th December 2010

Charles Murray is a brilliant man.

Posted in Is this a great country, or what? | 1 Comment »

Mind Control Made Me Do It

30th December 2010

Read it.

Some supervillains (e.g., Gorilla Grodd, The Puppeteer) have the ability to control others through mental powers, hypno-rays, or the like.  But if they forced you to commit a crime, would you still be liable?  And would you have any claim against them?

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Study Chinese or Spanish?

30th December 2010

Steve Sailer ponders the SWPL trendline.

You can tell by looking at parents’ fads in Los Angeles, which is a generation or more ahead of the rest of the country in terms of immigration. I’ve lived on-and-off in Los Angeles since the 1950s. My parents engaged in the same kind of discussion as this in 1972 when my mom wanted me to take French in high school and my father wanted me to take Spanish, which he argued, like Kristoff in 2010, was more practical.

I would endorse Spanish as the most reasonable choice for fulfilling a mandatory foreign language requirement, but I think English is becoming so globally dominant that we should probably reconsider whether we should have mandatory foreign language requirements at all. (If we should, then we ought to start them in elementary school, not after puberty when the language learning capability starts to shut down.)

I studied Latin and French in school and then German, Russian, and Greek in college. My most useful language has been Latin.

If any language is trendy with LA parents, it’s Chinese. For example, one of the public elementary schools that Davis Guggenheim, director of Waiting for “Superman,” drove his kid past in Venice to get to their private school has switched to Mandarin immersion and has recruited a much more fashionable set of children. I can’t recall knowing any any white liberal parents in LA looking for a Spanish immersion school.

Perhaps because it already exists in LA — it’s call the streets.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Ignorant Wahhabis Killed Fifty Imams and Muftis in North Caucasus

30th December 2010

Read it.

If there aren’t any Jews or Americans handy, Muslims will cheerfully slaughter each other.

Dar al-Islam: Northern Ireland without the whisky.

Posted in Living with Islam. | 1 Comment »

”Don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been repealed. ROTC still shouldn’t be on campus.’

30th December 2010

A Voice of the Crust in all its depravity.

Some people labor under the delusion that the only thing necessary to end war is for their side not to participate. The classic hippie slogan ‘What if they gave a war, and nobody came?’ expresses this sentiment with admirable concision. What they are in denial about is the eternal truth that they don’t get that choice. One can prate about ‘Give Peace a Chance’ from now until the next millennium, but if one side wants war, it’s war. All you can do with such prattling is lose. But they never recognize that; like a little kid, they think that if they close their eyes they become invisible.

In a more primitive stage of society, such people would be extracted from the gene pool in short order. One of the negative side effects of civilization is that we save the dim along with the bright.

If we lose to the barbarians, it will be because of people like this.

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson goes into detail.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas

30th December 2010

Read it.

Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away….

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Exposing The False Sanctity Of ‘Intellectual Property’

30th December 2010

Read it.

Even those of us who know better refer to copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and other monopolies as “IP.” Some of us excuse this by saying “IP” stands for “Imaginary Property” (the word imaginary is weaker than intellectual) or “Intellectual Privilege” (privilege is much weaker than property), but neither of those phrases have the power of intellectual property. On the other hand, they keep the initials IP, which is good – they can be used wherever “IP” is. But we need to use bigger guns. What this problem calls for is a word of the same potency as property – one that sticks in the head so that once the association is made, it can never be lost.

That word is pooperty.

I love it when people agree with me.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

UK: Online viewers prosecuted for not paying TV licence

30th December 2010

Read it.

How would you like to have to pay a license to own (not use, mind you, just own) a TV?

  1. Thank God you don’t live in Britain.
  2. Without eternal vigilance, it could happen here. Probably in California.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Are Humans Evolving to Be Dumber?

30th December 2010

Read it.

It wouldn’t surprise me.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Small Knife in Lunchbox Gets N.C. StudSmall Knife in Lunchbox Gets N.C. Student Suspended, Charged With Weapon Possessionent Suspended, Charged With Weapon Possession

30th December 2010

Read it.

A standout North Carolina high school student has been suspended for the remainder of her senior year and charged with a misdemeanor for having a small paring knife in her lunchbox.

Ashley Smithwick, 17, of Sanford told WRAL she accidentally took her father’s lunchbox to Southern Lee High School in October instead of her own when school officials searched the lunchbox, along with several other students’ possessions, possibly looking for drugs.

Ashley’s father, Joe Smithwick told the station the lunchbox had a paring knife inside so that he could slice up an apple that accompanied it.

“It’s just an honest mistake. That was supposed to be my lunch because it was a whole apple,” he said.

There are no ‘honest mistakes’ in the Obamanation.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Marine Home From Iraq War, Wife Allegedly Assaulted Outside Florida Theater by Teen Mob

30th December 2010

Read it.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Massachusetts Cop Was Killed by Career Criminal Out on Parole Despite Three Life Sentences

30th December 2010

Read it.

I had thought that the whole idea behind a life sentence was to take somebody off the street permanently. Foolish me.

“I don’t know how any member of the Parole Board justifies that,” Laurie Myers, president of Community Voices, a Chelmsford-based nonprofit that advocates on behalf of crime victims, told the Globe. “He shouldn’t have been out, and now there’s another person dead.”

And it is precisely to prevent this sort of thing from happening that we have a death penalty. Unfortunately, the death penalty in this case was for a police officer.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Why NASA Is Spending Half a Billion Dollars on a Canceled Rocket

30th December 2010

Read it.

Because wasting money is what the government does.

Posted in Your tax dollars at work - and play. | Comments Off

PISA Forever

30th December 2010

Steve Sailer kicks over a rock.

Any time a student is sent out of the classroom to maintain order — whether to the dean’s office, to after school detention, to home for a suspension, or out the door on an expulsion — can be counted and thus used as evidence in a disparate impact discrimination lawsuit against a deep-pocketed school district. Lawsuit settlements typically require that voluminous statistics then be maintained and published on disciplinary actions by race in order to facilitate future disparate impact lawsuits.

Teach for America’s model for who will make a good teacher is A) got into an exclusive college (i.e., smart), B) got good grades there (i.e., hard-working), and C) has a demonstrated track record of leadership accomplishment (i.e., charismatic alpha personality).

That’s swell, but smart, hard-working people with commanding personalities, such as Steve Jobs, James Cameron, Bill Belichik, Warren Buffett, Margaret Thatcher, and the like sometimes have better things to do than be schoolteachers. We need to be thinking instead about how our institutions can provide teachers who are not paragons with the support they need to do their jobs.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

The late 1970s want their American foreign policy back, Part Two

30th December 2010

Read it.

A few days ago, we noted the strange fact that the Obama administration is pleased with Colombia’s new president for cozying up to Hugo Chavez, the long-time sworn enemy of Colombia. Never mind that the Venezuelan tyrant is also the sworn enemy of the United States. And never mind that he reportedly is now receiving Iranian missiles with which to threaten portions of the Western Hemisphere. For Obama, the friend of my enemy is my friend.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Welcome to the New Middle Ages

29th December 2010

Read it.

Imagine a world with a strong China reshaping Asia; India confidently extending its reach from Africa to Indonesia; Islam spreading its influence; a Europe replete with crises of legitimacy; sovereign city-states holding wealth and driving innovation; and private mercenary armies, religious radicals and humanitarian bodies playing by their own rules as they compete for hearts, minds and wallets.

It sounds familiar today. But it was just as true slightly less than a millennium ago at the height of the Middle Ages.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Mead, the medieval warrior’s choice of alcoholic drink, is making a quiet comeback across the US.

29th December 2010

Read it.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

Russia’s palaces of the super-rich revealed

29th December 2010

Read it.

Let’s see Obama go and try spreading some of their wealth around.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Supers and the Eighth Amendment

29th December 2010

Read it.

Who knew that being a superhero had so many legal pitfalls?

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

The Best Things in Life

29th December 2010

An Informative Chart.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

Mind the Gap

29th December 2010

Read it.

Liberals are big on gaps. The gap between rich and poor is a particularly fertile source of big government schemes. It’s a perennial inspiration of plans to tax and plans to spend.

Minneapolis Star Tribune education reporter Norman Draper brings us a new but nevertheless “glaring gap” that must be filled. You have undoubtedly missed it. It’s the “dearth of books the [Muslim] students can relate to and from which others can learn.”

The Koran seems to be sufficient; Muslim students can relate to it, although others tend to have a problem learning from it.

We could discuss the gap between the number of people Muslims kill and the number of Muslims that are killed by other people. That might prove entertaining.

Posted in Axis of Drivel. | Comments Off

In Mexico, only one gun store but no dearth of violence

29th December 2010

Read it.

In all of Mexico, there is only one gun store. The shop, known officially as the Directorate of Arms and Munitions Sales, is operated by the Mexican military. The clerks wear pressed green camouflage. They are soldiers.

The only gun store in Mexico is not very busy.

Well, duh. When guns are illegal, only crooks have guns, and they don’t buy them; they steal them (that’s why they’re called crooks).

Mexico has some of the toughest gun-control laws in the world, a matter of pride for the nation’s citizens. Yet Mexico is awash in weapons.

Just like D.C. and New York City and Chicago and ….

Asked whether Mexico’s gun-control laws were working, Mendoza said, “Ask the criminals.”

Heh.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

Three giant spaceships to attack Earth in 2012?

29th December 2010

Read it.

Perhaps they heard about the Mayan Calendar and decided to loot the rubble.

SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), an independent non-commercial organization, released a sensational statement.

Three giant spaceships are heading towards Earth. The largest one of them is 240 kilometers wide. Two others are smaller. At present, the objects are beyond the orbit of Pluto.

The spaceships were detected by HAARP search system. The system, based in Alaska, was designed to study the phenomenon of northern lights. According to SETI researchers, the objects are nothing but extraterrestrial spaceships. They will be visible in optical telescopes as soon as they reach Mars’s orbit. The US government has been reportedly informed about the event. The ships will reach Earth in December 2012.

Posted in News You Can Use. | 2 Comments »

South, West, and Everything Else

29th December 2010

Read it. People are moving from Blue to Red.

The South is our largest region. For the first time, it now has more population than the Northeast and Midwest combined. The South has nearly 115 million people, the Northeast 55 million, and the Midwest 67 million. The West is now the second-largest region, with 72 million, surpassing the Midwest in the ten years since the 2000 census. The South added more population from 2000-2010 (14.3 million) than the three other regions combined.

No state in either the Midwest or Northeast grew faster than the national growth rate. No state in the West grew slower than the national growth rate. Montana grew at exactly the national growth rate of 9.7 percent. California was the second-slowest growing Western state at 10 percent, a growth rate which would be remarkable for a Midwestern or Northeastern state.

These figures are distorted somewhat by the fact that they count Texas as in the South; I’d put it in the West, myself.

Posted in News You Can Use. | Comments Off

Patriotism as Political Correctness

29th December 2010

Bryan Caplan is always worth reading.

Political correctness isn’t just hypersensitivity; it’s hypersensitivity designed to place a permanent stamp on impressionable young minds.

Not so long ago, as Eugen Weber observes, most people were only dimly aware of what nation they “belonged” to.  They took little offense at insults to their country, its people, or their flag, because they just didn’t much identify with their country, its people, or their flag.  Then came the patriots, descending upon their nations’ schools like locusts.  They taught children a litany of bizarre nonsense.  They urged them to love millions of complete strangers who happened to live inside a Magic Line (a.k.a. “the border”), and loathe those who snickered during the Pledge of Allegiance or  improperly folded the flag.

Well, almost always.

Posted in Think about it. | Comments Off

Assistant DA Davis indicted in Collin County on record tampering charge

29th December 2010

Read it.

If you have a difficult time keeping track of the players, you’re not alone.

This is what happens when elected officials pursue private grievances at public expense.

It is not a pretty sight.

And these guys are Republicans. Imagine what would happen if Democrats were in charge.

Posted in Dystopia Watch | Comments Off

The history of the world in one cathedral

29th December 2010

Read it.

Guess how much time the Archbishop of Canterbury actually spends in Canterbury.

Go ahead, guess.

Hint: It’s more time than the Patriarch of Antioch spends in Antioch.

Today, the present Archbishop, Rowan Williams, will lead the congregation to the site of the martyrdom. There will be a crashing on the doors to symbolise the coming of the knights, then silence. The service will end with Compline in the crypt, where Becket’s body was taken. There the plainsong which the choir sang upstairs will change to polyphony, to represent Christendom without barriers across Europe.

Nowadays Christendom would be lucky to be without barriers even within Canterbury.

Posted in Think about it. | 1 Comment »

Another Friday, Another Street in Barbès

29th December 2010

Read it. And watch the video.

Most readers will be familiar with the spectacle of mass Muslim prayer on the streets of Paris’ 18th Arrondissement. The following video, however, shows the breathtaking scope of the Islamic occupation of certain districts of Paris.

Now, imagine what would happen if even a small portion of this number (five, say) attempted to pray in the street in, oh, say, Saudi Arabia (or Turkey or Egypt or Iran or … well, you get the picture).

Posted in Living with Islam. | Comments Off

Sample Christmas Letter: Disaffected Housewife (Semi-Bitter Version)

29th December 2010

Read it.

The SWPL lifestyle, red in tooth and claw.

Hunter is almost seventeen now. He made the varsity basketball team this year. He never played but he did retrieve a loose ball that came bouncing toward him during the third quarter of the last game of the season, which we won 13-11. After the game he knocked up one of the cheerleaders.

Love that name.

The worst part of all this is that my sister and brother both live in town but won’t help at all. They don’t even visit. Dr. Betsy, the urologist, says she “gets enough of that stuff at work” and is too busy to return my calls; festive Todd, the choreographer, says that his new life partner, Chad, doesn’t want him upset right now what with “the trauma of Barry’s departure so raw and open and gaping. My God!”

Ah, the cruelties of life.

Thank God Dad had that massive heart attack four years ago or we’d probably have both of them here fighting over the remote and the schnapps.

I totally understand. Besides, the planet is better off with fewer people on it.

I’m seriously thinking about having an affair with the Praise Leader at Be Exalted Valley Community Worship Center, where I started attending right after Max’s death—but mostly to get away from Mom for a while. They play really up-beat music, show videos, and have a great little Starbucks right when you walk in. It’s almost like not being in church at all. Someone told me it’s actually modeled on the Mall of America. I can believe it.

How’s that for a Church Home? Is this a great country, or what?

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Big Nannies of the Year

29th December 2010

Michelle Malkin posts the Roll of Shame.

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Promises and Riots

29th December 2010

Thomas Sowell is an Old Poop.

Economists are the real “party of no.” They keep saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch — and politicians keep on getting elected by promising free lunches.

Such promises may seem to be kept, for a while. There are ways the government can juggle money around to make everything look okay, but it is only a matter of time before that money runs out and the ultimate reality hits.

We are currently seeing what happens, in fierce riots raging in various countries in Europe, when the money runs out and the brutal truth is finally revealed, that there is no free lunch.

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As Gay Becomes Bourgeois

29th December 2010

Jonah Goldberg points out that time rings some pretty amazing changes on some of the most unlikely prospects.

Of course, the lunacy of the bohemian free-love shtick should have been obvious from the get-go. For instance, when Michael Lerner, a member of the anti–Vietnam War “Seattle Seven,” did marry, in 1971, the couple exchanged rings made from the fuselage of a U.S. aircraft downed over Vietnam and cut into a cake inscribed in icing with a Weatherman catchphrase, “Smash Monogamy.”

Today Lerner is a (divorced and remarried) somewhat preposterous, prosperous progressive rabbi who officiates at all kinds of marriages — gay and straight — and, like pretty much the entire Left, loves the idea of open gays becoming cogs in the military-industrial complex.

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The 20th century in two short quotes

29th December 2010

Mencius Moldbug limns the difference between Then and Now.

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‘How I read the New York Times’

29th December 2010

Andrew Cove is not afraid to ask the Hard Questions.

  1. See headline on Hacker News
  2. Load NYTimes login page (paywall?  Is it still free?).
  3. Curse.
  4. Go back to Hacker News.  Reread headline.
  5. Paste headline + nytimes into Google.
  6. Click through from Google
  7. Repeat process for subsequent pages of article
  8. So, New York Times.  Is this really necessary?

This assumes, of course, that you read the New York Times in the first place.

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