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Alabama Sharia Law Ban

alabama_seal

An Alabama legislator wants to ban the use of Islamic law in the state’s courts — just in case Muslims take over.

The FBI v. Wikipedia

wikipedia

The FBI is mad that Wikipedia has published a copy of its seal on their site.

Veterans on the Supreme Court

veterans-supreme-court-gavel-medal

RedState‘s Erick Erickson notes that, not only would Elena Kagan replace the Supreme Court’s last Protestant but also “the last of the military veterans on the United States Supreme Court.” Indeed, according to his Wikipedia entry, John Paul Stevens “began work on his master’s degree in English at the university in 1941, but soon decided […]

Do-It-Yourself Virtual Universities?

DIYU-Kamenetz

Anya Kamentz has written a new book titled DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.  She gives us a taste of the argument in a piece for TAP: Since 2001, a growing movement — from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and hundreds of other universities worldwide to insurgent bloggers and […]

Aughts Better Than We Thought?

naughts

George Mason economist Tyler Cowen argues that, “It may not feel that way right now, but the last 10 years may go down in world history as a big success.” That idea may be hard to accept in the United States. After all, it was the decade of 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, […]

Wikipedia People Articles Now Moderated

wikipedia logo

Wikipedia is implementing a new policy requiring that changes to articles about living people be approved by moderators before going live, essentially abandoning the wiki model. The new feature, called “flagged revisions,” will require that an experienced volunteer editor for Wikipedia sign off on any change made by the public before it can go live. […]

Michael Jackson Dies, Kills Internet

michael-jackson-killed-internet

Not sure this is BREAKING NEWS, as CNN does, but it’s amusing nonetheless: How many people does it take to break the Internet? On June 25, we found out it’s just one — if that one is Michael Jackson. The biggest showbiz story of the year saw the troubled star take a good slice of […]

Matthew Yglesias on Jeff Sessions

jeff_sessions_official_portrait

Matt Yglesias snarks, Watching the Senator from Alabama’s press conference, I’m comforted by the fact that whatever our ideological disagreements this is a man who’s made it in life without any preferential treatment. One hundred percent meritocracy in action. America is a beautiful place. Presumably, no one makes it to high office without some sort […]

Memorial Day – Canuck Edition

vietnam-canadian-veterans

Richard Florida passes along this snippet from The illustrated History of Canada: American draft dodgers in Canada were far outnumbered by the young Canadians who joined U.S. forces to fight in Vietnam. This factoid may be in that category Stephen Colbert would call “truthy” and Dan Rather would call “false but true.” Canada did not […]

Made-up Wikipedia Quote Makes Obituaries

Ireland-Wikipedia Hoaxer

The erstwhile Dr. Leopold Stotch passes along news of the exploits of a fellow Irish prankster: When Dublin university student Shane Fitzgerald posted a poetic but phony quote on Wikipedia, he said he was testing how our globalized, increasingly Internet-dependent media was upholding accuracy and accountability in an age of instant news. His report card: […]

Wikipedia: Good Enough

encylopedia-britannica

Oliver Kamm declares himself “an enemy of Wikipedia” because its “purpose is to secure consensus rather than accuracy.”  Norm Geras demurs: This is a metaphysical rather than practical objection. In matters of information, of truth and falsehood, I, too, am for accuracy. But when I go to Wikipedia I am not doing philosophy, I am […]

3-Play Toilet Paper

intellectual-invention

After decades suffering through a mere two plies, the toilet paper industry has finally come through for us: If two-ply toilet paper is good, then three-ply tissue must be better. At least that’s what toilet-paper researchers in northeastern Wisconsin hope. Yes, there is such a thing as a toilet-paper researcher. And a team of them […]

McCain Plagiarized Georgia Facts!

Georgia Wikipedia entry

Today’s Outrage of the Day comes to us from Taegan Goddard, who notes, in a CQ Political Insider piece entitled “Did McCain Plagiarize His Speech on the Georgia Crisis?” that there are “some similarities between Sen. John McCain’s speech today on the crisis in Georgia and the Wikipedia article on the country Georgia.” Wikipedia and […]

Appalachian Election?

us-politics

Steve Tuttle takes to the pages of Newsweek to proclaim the ascendency of Appalachia as the decider of the next president. “Hick.” “Hillbilly.” “Redneck.” “Inbred.” “Cracker.” “Ridge Runner.” I heard and self-effacingly used them all when I left the mountains of Appalachia to attend college in the great metropolis of Williamsburg, Va., in the ’80s. […]

McCain on Gas Prices: ‘I Don’t See How it Matters’ (Corrected)

us-politics

In a recent interview with the Orange County Register‘s Martin Wisckol, John McCain said that, not only doesn’t he know how much gas costs, it doesn’t matter. (Tangentially related: “Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did” was an excellent album title. The album itself was so-so.) When was the last time you pumped your own […]

Gay Medic Discharged after ’60 Minutes’ Appearance

law-scales-justice-flag

A group “dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’” reports that Darren Manzella has been discharged under said policy. Decorated Army Sergeant Darren Manzella has been discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law banning lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from military service, effective June 10. […]

“Storm Troopers In Clown Shoes”

intellectual-invention

That’s how Instapundit refers to James Hansen, apparently the most intemperate of the global warming alarmists (yes, he’s worse than Gore because he’s Gore’s science advisor). Here’s Hansen’s latest proposal: James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on […]

Biracial = Black?

us-politics

One of the oddities of this election cycle is that, with all the focus on Barack Obama’s race, he’s almost invariably referred to as “black” or “African-American” despite having a white mother. The same phenomenon is true pretty much across the board, from Tiger Woods to Halle Barry. Biracial or multiracial people, regardless of hue […]

ID Creationism In Louisiana

academic-book-glasses

The creationists deserve a few props here. Since the Dover loss they’ve switched strategies away from claiming that ID is science and are instead focusing on “academic freedom”. That the concept of academic freedom doesn’t generally apply at the elementary and secondary levels seems to be of no consequence. The Louisiana legislature has passed, by […]

School Vouchers And Other Forms Of Choice

academic-book-glasses

School vouchers is an idea I’ve supported ever since I first read Capitalism and Freedom in 1989. It’s an idea so simple, and sound, that it’s a wonder it hasn’t been embraced. Yet here we are, forty-six years after CaF was published and choice hasn’t caught on (except when dismembering a fetus) and is even […]

McCain Making Kerry Mistake on Vietnam?

John McCain Vietnam POW Photo

Pat Lang, a retired Green Beret colonel, is somewhat bemused at how much is being made of John McCain’s military experience. John McCain is an admirable man. There are many such who wore the uniform of the United States in adverse circumstance. Jim Webb, Chuck Hagel, Daniel Inouye, Bob Dole… Shall I go on? How […]

Universal Health Caring

Michael Millenson asserts in today’s WaPo that the primary obstacle to universal health coverage in the United States is that “Those of us with insurance simply don’t care very much about those without it.” Dave Schuler is a wee bit skeptical: [I]magine how wonderful a perpetual motion machine would be. It could easily be converted […]

Spanish Miami’s Primary Language

Spanish Miami's Primary Language

Spanish-only speakers have an easier time getting by in Miami than English-only speakers, AP reports. In many areas of Miami, Spanish has become the predominant language, replacing English in everyday life. Anyone from Latin America could feel at home on the streets, without having to pronounce a single word in English. In stores, shopkeepers wait […]

Rachael Ray, Donut Terrorist

Rachel Ray, Donut Terrorist Photo

Dunkin’ Donuts has pulled an ad spot featuring Rachael Ray wearing a scarf around her neck because some thought it was a subtle nod of support to Palestinians. Does Dunkin’ Donuts really think its customers could mistake Rachael Ray for a terrorist sympathizer? The Canton-based company has abruptly canceled an ad in which the domestic […]

Condi Rice School of International Studies?

academic-book-glasses

I’ve just gotten this PR announcement from Denver University, with which I’m not affiliated: DU’s Graduate School of International Studies will be renamed tomorrow, Wednesday, May 28. Renaming the school will honor one of the most notable and successful individuals in DU history, as well as mark an exciting time for the school. Former U.S. […]

Biofuels Are a Disaster, Stop It Already

intellectual-invention

I think it is safe to say that the use of things like corn and other crops to produce biofuels simply a stupid and wrongheaded philosophy. We were told that biofuels were supposed to help break our dependence on foreign oil. Yet here I sit having to pay, if I’m lucky, $4/gallon to fill up […]

Burma Air Drops

Barbara Stocking explains that simply dropping food into Burma is much harder than it sounds. [A]ir drops are not the aid equivalent of smart bombs. Running a humanitarian effort from the skies, like running a purely airborne war, is fraught with problems. For a start it requires excellent intelligence. Yet no one knows exactly where […]

Rating the Presidents

Alex Massie has conducted an informal survey and came up with lists of The Most Over-Rated US Presidents and The Most Under-Rated US Presidents. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter* topped the respective lists. These ratings are in comparison to a 2005 survey of eminent historians. The respondents to Massey’s survey, then, presumably thought Reagan was […]

‘Sociopaths’? Really?

us-politics

I know that Andrew Sullivan is a fan of hyperbolic rhetoric (“fifth column”, anyone?), and I also know that a lot of time I enjoy his hyperbole, even when I don’t agree with it. But the past few weeks of his tirades against the Clintons have gotten tiresome, and I say that as someone who […]

Hillary Clinton Fighting On

us-politics

As predicted, we’ll continue to have Hillary Clinton to kick around: Hillary Rodham Clinton says she will remain in the presidential race “until there’s a nominee.” The former first lady declined to say whether that meant through the roll call of the states at the Democratic National Convention this summer. I’m not convinced she’ll drop […]

America’s Outdated Infrastructure

money-investing

Thomas Friedman laments that said state of America’s transportation infrastructure. A few weeks ago, my wife and I flew from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Singapore. In J.F.K.’s waiting lounge we could barely find a place to sit. Eighteen hours later, we landed at Singapore’s ultramodern airport, with free Internet portals and children’s play zones […]

Iron Man a Second-Tier Superhero?

movie-popcorn-filmstrip

Jonathan Last notes a WaPo write-up on the new “Iron Man” live action movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and observes: The reporter makes the case that Iron Man is a second-tier hero, closer to Thor than Spider-Man. I’m not sure I buy that. In recent years, Iron Man has assumed a larger and larger role […]

Albert Hoffman, LSD Inventor, Dies at 102

Albert Hoffman, LSD Inventor, Dies at 102

Albert Hofmann, who accidentally invented the most popular hallucinogenic drug ever, has died. Albert Hofmann, the father of the mind-altering drug LSD whose medical discovery inspired — and arguably corrupted — millions in the 1960s hippie generation, has died. He was 102. Hofmann died Tuesday at his home in Burg im Leimental, said Doris Stuker, […]

Why Ethanol Subsidies Are Bad

travel-suitcase

I’ve posted on this before, but via James Hamilton comes this interesting tidbit of information. To be sure, there are many factors influencing food prices. But to me it’s natural to begin with the element that represents a deliberate policy choice on the part of the United States. I refer to America’s decision to divert […]

Are War Crimes Inevitable?

military-soldier-sunset

Megan McArdle argues that war crimes are an inevitable part of war and therefore, “when you choose war, you choose war crimes–and that this is true regardless of why you are choosing the war.” Her Atlantic colleague Andrew Sullivan says this is “preposterous, uninformed, ahistorical,” noting that, “The United States has managed to go to […]

McCain Responsible for Influence Peddling?

us-politics

Today’s New York Times has a very long and detailed article regarding John McCain’s relationship with real estate developer Donald Diamond, a relationship that at least raises questions about whether Sen. McCain improperly used his influence as United States Senator to benefit a major donor. For Mr. McCain, the Arizona Republican who has staked two […]

Racism (or Sexism) At the Margins

us-politics

I don’t know if 15% of the electorate will vote against Sen. Obama because of the color his skin, as some have asserted. Or, for that matter, if a similar proportion of the total electorate would vote against Sen. Clinton because of her gender. It wouldn’t need to be that high to make this a […]

Michelle Obama and Public Schools

Michelle Obama and Public Schools

The Hotline On Call Quote Of The Day: “I want people to know when they look at me, to be clear that they see what an investment in public education can look like.” — Michelle Obama Now, I’m in favor of investment in public education. I went to seven different public schools growing up, including […]

Are Elites Using ‘Elitism’ Charge Elitist?

us-politics

Marc Ambinder observes, “[I]t’s silly to debate elitism by pointing to the alleged elitism of your opponent. Because this is Washington, D.C., and if you’re a presidential candidate or a national political figure, chances are pretty good that you’re developed a bit of an ego and a bit of a sense of entitlement.” Not much […]

Racism Under Every Barack

us-politics

Matt Yglesias argues, persuasively, that John McCain’s “biography tour” is a strange campaign strategy, especially given that the candidate with the more impressive military background has lost almost* every presidential election since 1960. He then goes off on a tangent: What I’ll say on behalf of this strategy is that it’s the best way I […]

Gmail Custom Time

Gmail Custom Time

Gmail has finally come up with something useful: Heh. UPDATE (via Techcrunch): Google Australia has come up with an even better technology: gDayâ„¢ with MATEâ„¢, “enabling you to search content on the internet before it is created.” The core technology that powers gDayâ„¢ is MATEâ„¢ (Machine Automated Temporal Extrapolation). Using MATE’sâ„¢ machine learning and artificial […]

Recession, Depression, or Neither?

Recession, Depression, or Neither?

There’s no doubt that the U.S. economy is in a downturn. The cost of petroleum has skyrocketed, creating all manner of ripple effects throughout the economy. The “housing bubble” has burst in several cities and the sub-prime mortgage industry has gone bust, leaving many people upside down in their houses or facing — or experiencing […]

Do McCain’s Medals Matter?

us-politics

Jake Tapper, notes the contrast between DNC chair Howard Dean’s statements about John Kerry’s military service in 2004 and McCain’s in 2008. Commenting on John McCain’s new “The American President that Americans Have Been Waiting For” ad yesterday, Dean said, “While we honor McCain’s military service, the fact is Americans want a real leader who […]

Wright, Hagee, and the KKK?

church-state-street-signs

It will come of little surprise that Christopher Hitchens uses the Obama-Wright controversy to take another whack at organized religion. Look at the accepted choice of words for the ravings of Jeremiah Wright: controversial, incendiary, inflammatory. These are adjectives that might have been—and were—applied to many eloquent speakers of the early civil rights movement. . […]

Obama and Wright: Kristol Compounds Kessler’s Error

newsman

Ronald Kessler reported in a Sunday evening column for Newsmax that Barack Obama attended a controversial Jeremiah Wright sermon. The Obama campaign has told members of the press that Senator Obama was not in church on the day cited, July 22, because he had a speech he gave in Miami at 1:30 PM. Our writer, […]

Eliza*, All Grown Up

intellectual-invention

The first “robot psychologist” has hung his/her/its shingle out: People affected by emotional problems are often reluctant when they’re told to see a psychologist. Now, they can confidentially consult online MindMentor, the first robot psychologist. It will cost them €4.95 for one hour session (or about US$7.65 as of today). MindMentor has been developed by […]

John McCain’s Melanoma in Perspective

us-politics

Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, and I have a similar medical history. In a recent NY Times article, Lawrence K. Altman, M.D reported, “Mr. McCain has had four (malignant) melanomas.” Until 2007 I was tied with the Senator. I had four of these deadly skin cancers diagnosed in 1993-94. A fifth […]

Obama and McCain Winning Wikipedia Primary

Obama and McCain Winning Wikipedia Primary

Josh Levy asks, “Who’s winning the Wikipedia primary?” According to this cool site showing Wikipedia traffic, Barack Obama’s entry is the seventh most-viewed article on Wikipedia — and the most viewed among articles about actual people (he falls behind Valentine’s Day, three special Wikipedia pages, and the entry for Wiki), with 1,934,492 views in February. […]

White House Aide Accused of Plagiarism

us-politics

A low level White House aide has been rebuked for plagiarism but apparently still has his job. A White House aide accused of plagiarism was chastised Friday and his actions were criticized as unacceptable. Timothy Goeglein, who has worked for President Bush since 2001, was accused of lifting material from an essay that appeared in […]

Pressing Home the Benefits of Globalization

travel-suitcase

You may already have seen this. It’s a couple of years old. But if you haven’t I urge you to set aside 15 minutes to watch one of the most interesting, informative, and amazing things you may ever have seen. From Hans Rosling at TED: Hat tip: QandO Blog There are a number of observations […]

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