Thursday, June 26, 2008

Giving credit where credit is not due, or CNN's dumbed-down reporting.

From's coverage of today's DC vs Heller ruling:

The National Rifle Association said the high court had given it the ammunition to challenge other cities' gun-control measures.

After the ruling, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA said his organization would immediately file court challenges to the bans in Chicago and San Francisco.

This might lead the casual reader to think that the NRA brought the Parker challenge (which metamorphosed to Heller). On the contrary, up until the time the case was granted cert, they fought to derail the effort, fearing a bad ruling.

But what can we expect; CNN and many other lowbrow outlets don't deal well with cases that violate the rules. The rules are:

  1. There are legitimately two sides to every issue.
  2. There are none but two sides to every issue.
  3. Each of these sides is a solid camp, with a leader or a leading organization.
  4. The opinion of the leader or leading organization is an accurate and thorough summary of the views of the camp.
  5. A reporter must thus seek "quotes" from two sources: a representative of the leadership of the one camp, and a representative of the leadership of the other.

This is false balance's dual, and it's equally obnoxious. How sloppy, to not so much as mention the Cato Institute or Bob Levy in a standard news piece on Heller!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

College does not imply middle-class values

While I was tutoring a local community college student in the basement of the University's main library, the boys--and I can't call them anything else--in the next glass-enclosed study room over were playing techno music, occasionally shouting/braying to each other (in between mumbles), and belching loudly and deliberately after guzzling their Cokes.

Chewing-tobacco containers and Burger King bags littered the floor. Barzun would call it "emancipation", and it not only debases the academic enterprise, but also devalues the degree of the more serious students. A college degree, especially from a "we have to take just about everyone" state university, no longer almost necessarily implies middle-class values.

Kids, that's why, right or wrong, college degrees are almost always required to get the "good jobs".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

IQ 126? Make him chief!

The city of New London is in the news again, or at least (oddly, as the incident is nine years old) getting hammered in the blogosphere, this time for refusing to hire a man because he scored too high on the Wonderlic Test of intelligence. His score was a 33, which corresponds approximately to an IQ of 126. Not bad, but not genius level, either; it puts him in the same league as your average MD.

One would think that police departments would fall over themselves to hire this man. He's educated, he's not a career thug worked in other fields, and he's purportedly in it out of a desire to protect and serve (rather than to kick some ass.) Supposedly he'll get bored with being a patrolman and quit. Put him in charge of something.

Better supervision of the common policeman will go along way. Just ask the Dickson City, PA city council a year or two from now, when they're shelling out hundreds of thousands to settle a 28 USC § 1983 suit brought about by their Keystone Kops harassing and arresting people for legal behavior and legal refusal to present identifying papers

Smart cops save money, lives, and liberty in the long run.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Sketchy Continent

I often find that happenings in Africa are strange beyond what reasonable people could imagine. Something posted today on Marginal Revolution really "takes the cake": albino Tanzanians are being maimed and killed so hucksters can sell their body parts as good-luck charms and folk medicine.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Things I didn't imagine existed.

In Mississippi, cucumber pickles are now being pickled a second time in double-strength Kool-Aid.

And from a a website selling canning supplies, the remark "Douche alum is not food grade." Douche alum? Ouch! Why? I put alum on my face to stop bleeding when I cut myself shaving. I can't imagine doing that, voluntarily, to mucous membranes.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What happens when soixante-huitards go senile?

What happens when soixante-huitards start to go senile? If the case of Diane Craig, of Danville, CA is indicative, they burn gas stations--and Starbucks, too--to "take a stand."

"I'll have none of this, these so-called 'laws' of 'economics', and commodification of mostly-good coffee!"

As can be expected, the poor old dingbat didn't even do a good job getting the fires started. A fireplace log makes a lousy accelerant. Where's Chesa Boudin to clue her in?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Why Will Wilkinson rocks my socks.

Wilkinson, of the Cato Institute, is well on the way to establishing himself as one of this generation's most thoughtful commentators.

Last Friday he put forth a positive description of modern classical liberalism and the place of libertarianism in the post-socialist world, that should be required reading.