lunatic twitter fascists

I have seen the absolute worst side of liberal activism, and its name is Twitter. If the dark side of conservatism in extremis is xenophobia and radical selfishness, then the dark side of liberalism is crusading ethical imperialism and moral fascism.  No matter which side of the political spectrum you inhabit, you have the capacity […]

college bodybuilder tips: the cheat meal

Dear K***, I know that I’ve told you that you get one “cheat meal” every week. However, I still hear you asking questions like “Can I ever eat cake again?” and “Will I have to give up cheese forever?” and so on. Just because you are lifting weights and trying to get ripped doesn’t mean […]

converting sunlight into poo

What is the purpose of life? Many have spent their lives befuddled by this question, believing it to be a large, abstract, and complex issue. In reality, it is none of these things. There is an answer, and the answer is quite simple.  Please allow me to explain. The study of teleology (the study of […]

assassin Obama, astronaut Newt

On the surface, it seems very strange. President Obama, Democrat, has deployed secret military assassins to “take care of business” at least three times now:  Somali pirates, Osama Bin Laden, and most recently the Somali kidnappers. That’s right: a Democrat being aggressive, even violent, in foreign affairs. Ex-Speaker Gingrich, Republican, has waxed poetic about putting […]

Sad starving children? Bitch, please.

Some well-intentioned, big-hearted, conscientious people have been circulating this horrifically offensive picture on the internet:   Do you know why this is offensive? Take a moment to look at it. If you are American, and are having trouble seeing what is offensive about it, imagine for a moment that you are from, say, Sweden, and […]

Hypocrisy over Mitt’s Tax Returns

Let me start by saying that I am a liberal.  I am very liberal.  I am a “lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist”  to quote President Bartlett (from “The West Wing”). As a result it pains me when I see “my own people” acting like immature hypocrites. For days now, I’ve had to endure an endless […]

college bodybuilder tips: feeling fat

Dear K***, I’m going to start by getting the really obvious response to your last letter out of the way.  The obvious response is: you’re not fat don’t be ridiculous.  I’m sure that’s what you get from anyone else if you tell them that you “feel fat.” You are ripped, you have a 6-pack, your […]

slavery, mathematics, education

There has been a lot of outrage over this news story: Some Georgia parents are outraged after they say an elementary school used examples of slavery and beatings to teach their children about math. The problems in question appeared on a third grader’s math assignment. One problem said, ‘Each tree had 56 oranges. If 8 […]

Princess Fluffikins

Princess Fluffikins

Princess Fluffikins began her life your typical pampered, spoiled long-haired white Persian house cat. She purred and chased butterflies, and children put ribbons in her hair. Until The Bird arrived. It began one spring, at 4:49 am every morning, the bird would chirp: Tooooooot, tooooot! Tip tip tip tip tip! Tooooooot, tooooot! Tip tip tip […]

bibbidi-bobbidi-boo

Greg: I’m pretty sure that “bibbidi-bobbidi-boo” must equal infinity. Jon: What’s that, now? Greg: Well, you know how the lyrics go: “Salagadoola mechicka-boola bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. Put ’em together and what have you got: bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.” Jon: Sure. Greg: Well, basically that is saying that the sum of salagadoola, mechicka-boola, and bibbidi-bobbidi-boo is equal to the value of […]

genetic perfection

Imagine a society where complete genetic engineering is possible. Imagine that you and another person can go to a fertilization clinic and pay them to find the combination of your genes that will minimize the chances of major diseases and disorders. Pay them a little more, and they can remove high-risk factor genes entirely in […]

John Calvin’s utopia

Last year there was a big news story about the Texas Board of Education changing the textbook curriculum standards to make them more “conservative.” Among the changes introduced were the removal of the idea of “separation of church and state,” an increased emphasis on the idea that Nixon wasn’t such a bad dude after all, […]

Project Management

conservative government is bad business

I am always hearing conservative commentators talk about how government should be run like a business. This is not a perfect analogy, but suppose we were to take it for granted for a moment. Are conservative political policies good business practices? Today I was listening to the Sucky Fill-In Host (henceforth “SFIH”) for the Rush […]

Political Facebook Polls

who wants what is best for America?



the drag you wear

I know your secret. I’m talking to you, the guy at the gay bar with the beer in his hand, wearing the baseball cap and worn baggy jeans. You would never wear designer clothes, and you mock people who do. You make sure that you mention to everyone that you can that you dress to […]

the magicians of science

“I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotionalise and mythologise science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in [demons] (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to the belief in [God]. The ‘Life Force’, the worship of […]

under-cover as a white supremacist (part 3)

This article has been updated, improved, and merged with others to be published as a single research article here: I POSED ONLINE AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST Please check it out!

college bodybuilder tips: eating for the holidays

Dear K***, I just wanted to write you a quick note this weekend about how you should be thinking about eating during the holidays. This is important, because most people’s intuitions get this completely wrong and do exactly the worst thing they could possibly do for themselves. If you want to keep muscle and not […]

Everything Imaginable

Why you are not free (whatever that means)

The popularity of the word “freedom” is in direct proportion to its adaptability. We can slide from talking about a “free market” to “free speech” to “free will” without taking a breath, and we can happily switch between talking about our “freedom” to choose which brand of toothpaste to buy and our “freedom” to practice […]

Republicans: the party of hope

republicans: the party of hope



2012-12-12

life-sized charcoal self-portrait

Finally completed! For the last month (on and off) I’ve been working on drawing an almost life-sized self-portrait using charcoal on a huge roll of hot press watercolor paper that my mom sent to me.  Mainly, this was a kind of technical assignment for me. How do I draw a self-portrait that is almost life-sized? […]

under-cover as a white supremacist (part 2)

This article has been updated, improved, and merged with others to be published as a single research article here: I POSED ONLINE AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST Please check it out!

writing “Mn̥téys wall”

I just finished writing a new short story, Mn̥téys wall.  It’s up on DeviantArt if you would like to read it. My original concept with this piece was to imagine life 10,000 years ago, in the region of  Çatalhöyük.  Over a period of about 1000 years (a short time, when looking at that part of history) […]

democracy or efficiency: there can be only one

What is your ideal vision of how to run a country, America? Is it to have an efficient government, that is run like a business? Or is it to have a democracy? You have to pick one, because it cannot be both. There is a reason that successful companies have a CEO, or a board […]

college bodybuilder tips: weighing yourself

Dear K***, I want to take a moment to respond to the comment in your last letter, that you haven’t “gained or lost any weight yet.” You are on Week 3 of this workout and diet plan right now. Your body is adjusting to learning new exercises, and your body is just starting to get […]

under-cover as a white supremacist (part 1)

This article has been updated, improved, and merged with others to be published as a single research article here: I POSED ONLINE AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST Please check it out!

a place for radicals

This is a difficult article for me to write, because I am not a radical. It is simply not my personality. I’m the kind of guy who argues by saying, “I totally see your point, but have you considered this…?”  I respond to nastiness with politeness, I flirt with people who think that I’m aloof, […]

rethinking physics: an interdisciplinary view

Buck Field is a philosopher, a scientist, and an MBA: an unusual intersection of fields of expertise. Synthesizing concepts from philosophy, physics, and project management, he has envisioned a way to revolutionize our basic understanding of the universe, and perhaps carve a path to one of the “holy grails” of modern physics along the way: […]

the best social marketing is interesting content

Earlier in the month, I tweeted to a friend: gregstevens Greg Stevens @trevorarmel I’ve literally had a “web presence” since the year Justin Bieber was born. Scary stuff. Literally moments later a total stranger tweeted me a link with some kind of scandalous news story about Justin Bieber. (It has since been removed.) And I […]

Stupid Speculations

Taylor Lautner vs Bitchy Gays

This infuriates me. Dear Stereotypical Gay People Speculating On The Internet: It’s one thing to speculate about people who are homophobic or hateful. But when someone is so open, so positive toward the gay community, can’t we be respectful enough to just take his identity at face value. If he says he’s straight, let’s take […]

Percentage of Total Federal Income Tax Paid, By Income Bracket

Taxes, Mark Levin, and Statistics Abuse

I’ve ranted about lying with statistics and statistics abuse before.  This time, though, it overlaps with another of my favorite topics: taxes. For a very long time now, the silk-voiced and soothing Mark Levin has pushed the idea that our tax system is horribly skewed and unfair against rich people.  His evidence for this is […]

Political Attention by Political Identification

why I’m skeptical of moderates

People like to claim that “moderate” means “open-minded.”  In my experience, it just as often means “uninformed about politics” or “ignorant about the differences between the parties.” As it turns out, the data collected by the online survey site yourmorals.org agrees: (graph from an article at polipsych.com)  

a letter to the demonized poor

When I was going to school in Ann Arbor, there was a corner that I would always walk past on the journey from my apartment to the campus gym and back again. One day, there was a woman standing there, who politely and in a meek and humble way asked, “Can you spare some change […]

what is a theory?

Recently, Michelle Bachman said: “Why would we forestall any particular theory? Because I don’t think that even evolutionists, by and large, would say that this is proven fact. They say that this is a theory…” This is really just an echo of the continuous drone of the “evolution is just a theory” mantra that has been […]

when a promise isn’t a promise

When I am elected president, I will eliminate speeding tickets and instead impose heavy fines on people who do not use their turn signals. I will build a collection of pyramids in Nevada desert in order to demonstrate American Exceptionalism.  All cars will be able to run on expired grocery products within a year of […]

Christmas Tree Decorations

have a stochastic Christmas

The decorating of the Christmas tree, for me, is always a time to reflect on family, love, charity, and of course probability theory. Each year, we choose a different selection of ornament “styles” from the huge collection of ornaments that we have in storage. Last year, it was doves and metal and glass ornaments. This […]

violence in the media

I was laying in bed reading my book, and came across this picture. And I just busted out laughing.  I don’t know which is more funny, the completely serene expressions on the faces of the inquisitors on either side, or the really really pissed look on the face of the dude with the axe.   […]

college bodybuilder cooking tips

Dear K***, Based on your last letter, I think we should start ramping up your calories faster than we originally planned. We still have to do this gradually, and intelligently. But with you being 22 years old, 6’2″ and 158 with not an ounce of bodyfat on you, we can’t afford for you to have […]

Republican legislative process

the Republican legislative process

   

more racist than you think

Today on the radio I heard a conservative commentator repeat something that I hear a lot: “In America today, racism is not as big a factor as people think.” This is just a slightly less abrasive way of saying what I heard Sean Hannity say several weeks ago, that “Blacks will start voting for the […]

what’s your number?

People have a ridiculous obsession with being measured. You want to make an online app that is an immediate success? Create a website that tells people their score for how beautiful their face is, their level of influence on the internet, or even the number of people who were born before them in all of […]

bread and water and the voting process

In our currently paralyzed political condition in the United States, we could learn a little from some of the ancient political systems in history. Take the Holy Roman Empire, for example. Now there were some people who knew how to get stuff done. The Holy Roman Empire was an elective monarchy since the 10th century. […]

influential people

Recently someone microblogged: “Who are the most influential people on Google+? I’m compiling a list.” All wise-cracks about the idea of “the most influential people on Google+” aside, this question got me thinking: what does it mean for someone to be “influential”, and why do people spend so much time obsessing about it? The popular […]

can’t I just please objectify SOMEONE?

Andy Towle’s fantastic blog brought to my attention a scuffle between GQ Australia and Dustin Lance Black. Maybe I am too forgiving, but I don’t think the GQ writer was being homophobic or malicious. I think he’s just a typical straight guy. Poor dear. First, let me sum up what the scuffle was about (although […]

interviewing Occupy Wall Street

Sean Hannity is a genius. No matter what you think of his opinions (and many different people think many different things), you have to admit: he is very good at his job. Today I listened with fascination to his “on the street” interviews with people from the Occupy Wall Street crowd. His tactics were simple […]

Thomas Jefferson was an anarchist

Everything today is “there are two sides to every story.” Yet we look at our “established” beliefs and can barely imagine believing anything else. It’s easy to forget that, historically, everything has always had a “second side” to it. The “inalienable rights” of the Declaration of Independence, for example. As recently as 200 years ago, […]

Republicans are sad highschool girls

You all know the stereotype. She’s been a character in sitcoms for over half a century, and has often had entire episode plots based on her dysfunction. And you all know the standard scenes and scenarios that she appears in… Scene 1: She asks the hunky guy [read: Chris Christie] to go to a movie […]

AOL and the nature of religious belief

My mom has finally decided to give up AOL, after 10 years, and helping her through this transition has been a profoundly educational experience for me. For one thing, it has given me some insights about conservative evangelical Christianity. AOL is a service that provides end-to-end access to internet content. This means that AOL acts […]

taxes and fairness, Facebook-style!

Someone on my friends list posted one of the copy-and-paste political posts, and I just couldn’t help myself. After all, it was about one of my favorite topics: taxes! Other Person: To all those who don’t think their taxes are high enough and would be willing to pay more. Here is the address you can […]

the government is your right foot

Q:You are in a car traveling at 100 MPH heading directly to a wall that is 40 feet in front of you. Should you bother braking? A:Of course, you moron! That’s the stupidest question I’ve ever heard. Even if you know that the car won’t be able to stop completely before you hit the wall, […]

eating kittens cures cancer

Imagine you hear this: “I know that you think that eating kittens is wrong, but I know for a fact that it cures cancer, so we need to allow people to do it.” What do you think of that argument? Just to be clear, let’s allow the conversation to go further: Person A: “Some people […]

the naysayers vs the apologists

Consistent with the current climate of extreme division, Democrats frequently seem to fall into two distinct (and extreme) groups: those for whom the President Can Do No Wrong, and those for whom the President Can Do No Right. In reality, I don’t think Democrats believe either. I think these groups reflect different ways of dealing […]

teens, Facebook, and statistics abuse

Because of my fondness of mathematics, it pains me to my very soul when I see it misrepresented and abused by people in the media. A recent “Teens On Facebook” study has got me hopping mad, and I honestly think it is making people stupider to have articles like this out there. The article, entitled […]

lessons from the Holocaust Museum

I recently visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. It reminded me of two very important things. First: the situation with Hitler in Germany in the 1930’s was unique, and there is no person and no situation that is comparable. Second: Hitler was just a human being, like any other, and what happened in Germany […]

paying for stuff you don’t want

“I shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s [insert thing here]!” says the conservative. From health care to education to contraception, the conservative argument is the same. But at its core this is an un-patriotic and anti-capitalist argument. It’s time for liberals to start pointing this out. “I shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s […]

if Obama were a liberal

President Barack Obama stepped up to the podium, looked into the camera, and spoke: “As many of you have known, I have, up to this point, resisted the urge to turn budget talks and economic issues into an ideological fight. The Republicans in the House, and to an extent those in the Senate, have been […]

the "bad guy" dilemma

“I have captured The Fair Maiden,” says the Evil Movie Villain, “She will die if you do not give me what I demand. It is your decision! If she dies, then her blood is on YOUR hands!” Do you buy his argument? Would the death of the Fair Maiden be “your fault” if you refuse […]

physical fitness and the economy

In my life, I have been an athlete, a fitness model, and a personal trainer. Now, I am just an over-the-hill ex-all-of-those-things, but an awareness of fitness still colors the way I look at everything that I think about. And lately, I have been thinking about the economy. So let me tell you some insights […]

closing the gap to our dreams

Politicians are talking about our financial crisis in terms of the gap between what we spend and what we can afford. This is the wrong frame. They should be talking about the gap between what our dreams are and what we ask from our people. The framing of an argument is critical. Consider, for example, […]

does gayness make you hungry?

From time to time, major mainstream companies will put ads on T.V. that are specifically pro-gay. Usually, these air in Europe, because American audiences are still a bit pee-shy when it comes to The Gay. But at least it happens. Last year, McDonalds aired a pro-gay ad in France as part of their “come as […]

assessing political commentary

One of the facets of the response to President Obama’s announcement of a draw-down of troops in Afghanistan is the observation that the troop withdrawal will be completed two months before voters decide whether to reelect President Obama to a second term. “Is the timing of this draw-down political? Is it simply to have something […]

the pension swindle

“I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” J. Wellington Wimpy famously said. I’d like you to keep that phrase in mind while I talk to you about pensions. Recently Rush Limbaugh was talking about the “shocking” statistic that some retired government employee annual pensions in San Francisco are larger than the average annual […]

all gay men

There is nothing that all gay men are. There is nothing that all gay men think, or do. Yet I constantly hear gay men saying things like, “Gay guys do this…” or “Why do gay guys always..?” If you are a gay guy who complains about what gay guys do, I want to warn you: […]

the golden age of mathematical philosophy

The four decades from 1940 to 1980 were the Golden Age of Mathematical Philosophy. During this time, the greatest minds of the century brought together cutting edge theory from engineering, mathematics, and physics to speculate on the nature and meaning of mind, morality, society and metaphysics. Today I want to give tribute to some of […]

regulation case study: the post office

Why is the government involved in the post office at all? Aren’t the plethora of private delivery services out there evidence that our postal system could be run as a private enterprise? The answer is “no” and the reason is simple. Let’s take a look at the critical Title 39, Section 101.1 of the United […]

Donald Trump is a genius

Donald Trump is a genius. And he has totally and completely screwed all of the other Republicans that might be running for President in 2012. Congratulations, Donald. As I type this, I am watching a “breaking news” live broadcast on MSNBC in which Donald Trump is telling reporters that he has finally succeeded in “getting […]

the sinking boat: a parable

A donkey and an elephant were on a boat with a leak in it. Slowly, the water was coming in and the boat was sinking. This is the conversation they had: Elephant: “We need to fix the leak, or the boat will sink.” Donkey: “The water is already too high, we need to bail out […]

science and the media

Gossip columns need to not dabble in science. Recently thefrisky.com published an article about older men lusting after younger women. The article is completely wrong, and it is important to understand why. The article asks the question, “Is it natural for older guys to lust after younger women?” and comes back with an answer of […]

the fundamental flaw in the free market

Not everything that is worthwhile is profitable, and not everything that is profitable is worthwhile. That is the basic argument for government intervention in the economy. Everything demonized by “free-market conservatives”—from regulation to public works projects—exists as a way to rectify this fundamental flaw in the free market system. A true free-market advocate will argue […]

10% of your brain

If I have to hear this “we only use 10% of our brains, imagine what we could do if we used all of it!” myth one more time, I’m going to have to kill something. It is wrong, and it is stupid, and it has to die, until it is so dead that there will […]

long-term vs. short-term

Many policies have bad short-term effects but good long-term effects. This is helpful if you have an ideology to push, because you can just pick whichever one serves your purpose when making an argument, and ignore the other. Let’s look at two examples that I hear all the time on conservative talk radio. “If you […]

the nature of information

Today’s lesson: What does “information” mean? How do you know when something has “information”? And how can you prove that radio shows like Sean Hannity’s and Rush Limbaugh’s have none? Textbooks will tell you that information is “pattern” or “redundancy,” but it is a particular kind of redundancy. Information is always about something. Information happens […]

nuclear power and rational choice

Recent events in Japan should NOT change anybody’s position on nuclear power. It is worth taking a moment to learn about how risks are calculated and how to make rational decisions, to understand why this is the case. In economics, and decision theory in general, a choice is a rational one to make if the […]

more, not less

Liberals are saying that the hearings about “scary radical Muslims” should be stopped. They are wrong. Instead, they should be supporting those hearings… and calling for hearings on “scary radical Christians” as well. The answer to prejudice and stupidity is always more conversation, not less. If you don’t like the point of view that some […]

the homeless man and you

I talked to a frightened mammal today. His tail was between his legs. Maybe it was you. I saw him before he approached me, actually. Hovering nervously next to the building where they sell the lottery tickets and 5-hour energy shots. The drab overcoat and week’s worth of scruff weren’t as telling as his body-language. […]

the argument from efficiency

When someone tells you that unions, regulations and taxes are “inefficient” and “bad for business”, you should remember what they are really telling you: having a middle class is a waste of resources. Every conservative in the public eye has latched on to the same argument for how to run government: business efficiency. Do what […]

lying with statistics 101

Nothing could be more basic or obvious than telling someone: “star-bellied sneetches get paid more than plain-bellied sneetches.” Everyone knows what that means. It means that on average, if you’re a star-bellied sneetch, then you are doing better. It means that you have an advantage. It could mean that you are being paid more than […]

news or education?

CNN passed up a great opportunity to get people to think. It passed up a chance to educate people. But I guess that isn’t what news is for. CNN believes that its job is to present a snapshot of society. Society does something, and CNN reports it. Society thinks something, and CNN reports it. It […]

the will of the people

What percentage of a population has to feel a certain way for it to be “the will of the people”? Half? Maybe two thirds, just to be safe? How can you tell what the bulk of a population feels? We read that as much as 1% of the population of Egypt (by generous estimates) is […]

Taxes, Fees, and Candy Bars

I’d like to present three arguments for why taxes are an illusion, government spending is a psychological problem not an economic one, and the money on your paycheck was never yours to begin with. Argument 1:You walk into a candy store with a dollar in your pocket. You walk down the aisle to find a […]

The right to not be hollered at

The recent denial of entry to the United Kingdom Pastor for Terry Jones provides a perfect opportunity to discuss—again—what we mean when we talk about “rights.” It also highlights a deep underlying irony (some would say: hypocrisy) in the conservative movement in the United States. Let’s start by mentioning the thing about which liberals and […]

Why do liberals hate science?

Liberals criticize conservatives for being anti-science. But some liberals are just as anti-science… people just don’t call it that. And that has to change. I would like you to take a look at a recent article called “Is it Food?” It’s cute, it’s meant to be funny, and it’s well-meaning. It presents a humorous little […]

Conservative Strategy

“The liberals are destroying America. If we don’t do something to stop them, everything this country stands for will be gone. They are passing unconstitutional laws. They hate the constitution. You love the constitution. That means they hate you. We have to stop them. We need to be armed and dangerous. We need to take […]

Judas: saint of secular humanists

I would like to make the case for the sainthood of Judas. Specifically: Judas as the patron saint of secular humanists. His suicide was not out of regret, but rather was the ultimate protestation of the secular humanist faith. I’m certainly not the first person to think of Judas as the voice of the secular, […]

metaphysics on a napkin

At a holiday family gathering, I found myself in drunken dialogue with my significant other’s mother’s best friend’s daughter’s husband, trying to explain my philosophy of the universe. I did a pretty good job. Since it is so rare that I successfully explain my metaphysics in a way that can fit between re-fills of Veuve […]

types of tolerance and respect

It is easy for me to advocate religious respect and tolerance, because I am not a religious man. When I try to imagine political tolerance, I begin to understand how difficult religious tolerance really is for people of faith. As an atheist, questions of faith and religion are abstract and intellectual, much like questions of […]

the empirical argument against compromise

Polls suggest that more than 2/3 of the country is worried about the national debt and spending. Let’s see how that translated into policy today.   What Democrats wanted: Extend unemployment benefits Adds to the deficit Increase taxes on the wealthy Subtracts from the deficit What Republicans wanted: Stop unemployment benefits Subtracts from the deficit […]

privacy and nakedness

If the government wants to look at my naked body, let them. Who cares? When I say this, people get all red in the face. They use abstract ideas like “privacy” and “violation”. But when all of the bluster is done, nobody seems able to explain what the actual problem is. Some people say: “It’s […]

a mini-lesson in tax statistics

You might have heard that the top 50% of wage earners pay 96% of the taxes. That is ridiculously unfair. They should be paying much more. And if you don’t instantly see why that is the case, then you have been bamboozled by statistics. Since big numbers confuse people, let’s look at a “toy” example […]

Ratatoskrslied

Today I am obsessed with a squirrel named Ratatoskr. I identify with him. In a way, I think we all are a squirrel named Ratatoskr. Northern Germanic, Icelandic, and Swedish cultures had their own collections of gods and myths, quite separate from the more well-known Greek mythology. Collectively known as “Norse” mythology, these stories consist […]

regulation is not the problem

Some people say regulations are bad because they hurt businesses. This is a stupid argument. And I’d like to take a moment to explain why. Let’s start by reflecting for a moment on some of the things out there that “hurt businesses”: Minimum wage. Minimum wage hurts businesses because it increases costs. Every year, there […]

speaker Böhner’s Recession

Mr. Böhner, where are the jobs? We were told that the Republican tide would be the cure for all of our problems. People are hurting, Mr. Böhner. Why isn’t it fixed yet? In case you don’t remember, President Obama was declared to be President Elect on November 4th, 2008. On November 6, 2008, Rush Limbaugh […]

the little picture

Political discourse this campaign cycle is stuck in “big picture” rhetoric and I’m sick of it. The problems in this country will absolutely not be solved by a competition between “liberty” and “fairness”. I recently saw a perfect example of this kind of argument, from the conservative point of view, on the topic of health […]

being a fundamentalist

Consider this: “A fundamentalist is someone who believes that the only way a person can disagree with him is if that person is stupid, crazy, or just doesn’t understand.” This isn’t the dictionary definition of fundamentalism, but I’d like you to entertain it just for a moment. It means that being a fundamentalist isn’t just […]

hate crimes and probability theory

I have heard the argument that hate crime legislation is wrong because we should not legislate what goes on in a person’s mind. We should only legislate behavior, because behavior is what impacts society. This argument, however, is wrong. The purpose of imprisonment is to protect society from harm. When a person has killed once, […]

Party Politics circa 1000

You hear people talk about how crazy politics “has become”, or how “these days” things are so divisive, or how crazy and dramatic our political personalities are “lately.” Is it really a recent thing? Let’s take a look. The place is Germany, the year is 1065. Politics is controlled by three centers of power: the […]

the purpose of insurance

Today I paid about $85 out of pocket for things that could have been insured, but that I didn’t have coverage for. It was my choice, and I am glad to do it. Let me explain. This morning I had a doctor’s appointment. I paid $60 for the visit, because I have not yet met […]

what Aristotle taught me

The winning team has momentum going into the playoffs. The political candidate is trailing in the polls, but has the momentum. The momentum of the stock market can make people worried or hopeful. Everything we think about in the world, from gambling to politics, is affected by the metaphor of momentum. But the idea of […]

about war

someone said:“Islam has been, and still is, at war with the civilized world for 15 centuries, spreading its religion with the fire and sword. It is for this reason that people despise Islam, and its continuing war against the rest of the world.” my thought:I think it would be a worthwhile enterprise for us to […]

before the pogrom

The 22-year-old King cried, “Kill them! Kill them all!” The Jesuits locked the gates to the city so that nobody could leave, and the Catholic soldiers let loose on the city. The year was 1572. Five thousand Protestants had been in Paris, and fewer than five hundred survived. They were stabbed, clubbed, drowned, thrown from […]