I regularly tune in to Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams’ political rants on Periscope. During a recent philippic, he mentioned in passing that federal minimum wage laws recently devastated American Samoa’s once-booming economy. He basically painted a picture of a paradise-turned-ghetto with equality-of-outcome economic policies to blame. I, of course, had to look into this claim. Here is what I found. Continue reading Did federal minimum wage laws kill American Samoa?
So, this morning at brunch, my girlfriend and I watched live news coverage of the Boston Free Speech rally and its infinitely larger protest. The narrative seemed to be that the protesters were all liberal bleeding-heart types and that the rally attendees were a bunch of racist, Donald Trump supporting, alt-right white folk. But, a few hours later, Scott Adams (the creator of Dilbert) took to Periscope asking if anyone knew for sure that the Boston Free Speech group was actually there to promote racism. And, of the 1,000+ people watching his Periscope, no one (myself included) seemed to know.
This is me trying to answer that question. Now, I don’t actually know for certain who all showed up to this event. What I do know is the list of speakers the group published shortly before the event. Here is the annotated list. Continue reading Who was at the Boston Free Speech rally?
During the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, political pundits, comedians and others made sport of implying that Donald Trump either wanted to fuck his daughter, Ivanka Trump, or already had.1 2 3 GIFs of Trump’s daughters spurning his embraces, and video clips of him ogling them and referring to them as sex objects, circulated widely. While I didn’t think he had fucked them–and couldn’t possibly like him any less if he had–I couldn’t help but wonder: Why would Donald Trump want to fuck his daughter? Why would any father? So I Googled it. Continue reading Why would Donald Trump want to fuck his daughter?
Here in the United States it feels like a week can’t go by without a white cop killing an unarmed black man. It’s a distressing situation made that much more overwhelming by all the complicated and unresolved social problems it brings front and center for all the bobbleheads to poke and prod and jabber about but do nothing to change.
I don’t think I’m capable of adequately understanding and addressing all of those issues. Hell, I know I’m not. However, one question I can at least scratch the surface of is the question of caselaw. I spent a recent Sunday quaffing coffee and Googling the shit out of terms like “officer-involved shooting”, “deadly force”, “excessive force” and “police brutality”, and now I am an expert on the subject.1
What I gleaned through my Cyberian wanderings is that the caselaw deals with three subjects: the criminality of the officer’s conduct (Did s/he commit murder/manslaughter?), the liability of the officer (Can the victim’s family sue him/her personally?), and the liability of the officer’s employer (Should the state/city/agency compensate the victim’s family?). In other words, we’re dealing with criminal law (Should the officer go to prison?) and civil law (Can the officer/police department be sued?).
I’ll relate what I found regarding all of these, but we’ll start by defining our terms. Next I’ll talk about the civil law. I’ll end with a discussion of the criminal caselaw. Continue reading What is the caselaw regarding cops killing people?
A question I’ve had for years is: Whose input goes into the USDA food pyramid/guide? In conversation, a few people have told me that meat, dairy and wheat farmer organizations hire big-money lobbyists to heavily influence these recommendations. As something of a cynic, that’s always seemed quite plausible to me; but I’ve always retained some doubt. I mean, would a federal agency really compromise the quality of its dietary advice for decades in order to placate some farmers? Well, it kinda looks like the answer is yes. Continue reading Whose input goes into the USDA food pyramid?
I was scrolling through the notes app on my iPhone recently and saw this question I posed to myself but never answered: Which is worse for the environment–wildfires or fighting them? Sitting in a chain coffee shop, quaffing caffein and eating a bagel, I figured, What better time to research that question than right now? Continue reading Which is worse for the environment–wildfires or suppressing them?
For a long time, I’ve wanted to do a project where I collect world history books from various nations and compare their portrayal of the same events. Unfortunately, I don’t really have access to history books from around the globe; and, even if i did, I wouldn’t be able to translate them. So, for now, I’m settling for doing what I’m calling a wiki study: I’m comparing the intro section of a Wikipedia article as it appears in several languages. For my first foray into wikistudies, I’ve chosen the American Revolution. Enjoy.
Continue reading The American Revolution in 7 languages – a wiki study
Idiopathy is generally a medical term, but its usage here harkens back to its Greek roots. “Idio-” is from the Greek ídios (ἴδιος), meaning something private or entirely one’s own. “-Pathy” is from the Greek pátheia (πάθεια) meaning “feeling” or “suffering” which in turn derives from pathos (πάθος), meaning a condition or state (generally of suffering). Continue reading Oppositional narrative, myth-shaping and ideological idiopathy
Abortion has been a bitterly contentious subject for decades if not millennia. The recently concocted controversy re Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling harvested fetal tissue to medical researchers has brought the subject front and center once more. And, while I’m not particularly interested in the current hokum, I would like to share my thoughts on why this debate has never gone anywhere.
Continue reading The semiotics of abortion
I don’t have cable. I can’t bear witness to the bobbleheads on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and the rest spewing bunkum into the universe. Unfortunately, sometimes some of it seeps through my filters and reaches me. That happened with the Kathryn Steinle case. Continue reading Kathryn Steinle: a DIY guide to exploiting the dead