Friday, July 17, 2009

Political Porn: Television & Radio talking heads arouse emotions to short-circuit critical thought

I make a point to ignore talking heads on television and the radio. I also make a point to avoid pornography. I keep clear of both for the same reason.

They arouse desire devoid of meaning and significance.

Do I think we should outlaw talking heads and pornography? Absolutely not. Free speech is protected.

Talking heads, of both the left and right, offer little in the way of substantive analysis or well-reasoned argument. Their purpose is to incite and arouse, much like agitators, who then sit back and decry their innocence when people act on their inflamed emotions.

It's nothing more than cowardice and bullshit, all concealed behind the 1st Amendment.

The problem with talking heads is like the problem with pornography: Both are legal, and they should remain so, but both degrade critical thought and honest emotion.

We recognize porn addiction.

Maybe it's time we recognize political porn addiction represented by talking heads and radio personalities.

As with most addictions, you can't reason someone out of it; the addict must first recognize their problem.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Your Recession: Economic theory taken to a religious extreme has put us where we are today.

Finally, a reputable magazine is finally reporting on a problem that has festered for too long among the financial classes in our country, viz., the infection of ideology.

The Economist points out that much of the economic mess we find ourselves in results from slavish adherence by our financial and economic priesthood to the conceptual ideals of economic theory.

I regularly instruct my students on the conceptual assumptions of economics: supply & demand curves, the invisible hand, rational actors, self-interest. I go the extra step to remind them that humans aren't entirely rational. Markets don't always correct properly without some assistance.

The incentives of the financial world boil down to money. When the goal is to maximize the cash, an ideology justifying greed easily takes root. Like all good memes, the language of economics eliminates or hides any threats to its existence.

Those reifying economic theory to validate and justify their self-interest (greed) fell victim to the irrationalities that their faith ignored. They took us along with them.

Religions and ideologies provide ready-made concepts to explain events; it's a type of reductionism to avoid internal inconsistency--Economics As Religion is no different.

We--and by that I mean those pushing the economic levers of power--must disengage from the ecstasy of their ill-conceived, economics-driven faith.

It's time for a reality check. As a nation, we can't afford any more flights of religious or ideological fancy.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tennessee Court rules against opponents of gun law change.

I posted a few days ago about the hoopla surrounding a change in the criminal law in Tennessee removing the penalty for handgun permit holders who carry their weapons into restaurants.

I noted that it was a tempest in a teapot.

I got some flack from friends who disagreed.

It seems the court generally agreed with my assessment today.

My prediction was that restaurant owners could post a sign prohibiting patrons from carrying guns. The judge said essentially the same thing.

So the effect? The law goes into effect tonight.

The judge will entertain arguments in three months on vagueness.

The Law is the Law: No one is above it.

Before people begin taking sides in the whole "failing to disclose to Congress" matter, perhaps we should examine the obligations imposed by law n the Executive Branch.

Specifically, 50 U.S.C. Section 413 reads in paragraph (a):

The President shall ensure that the congressional intelligence committees are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity as required by this subchapter.

I think the statute is pretty clear that the Executive Branch has an affirmative obligation to keep Congress informed.

I'm sure we can all agree that the Executive Branch is NOT above the law since it derives its power from said law.

For Dick Cheney to argue that his failure to disclose such activities was in furtherance of ostensibly protecting our national security is bullshit, plain and simple. This is an either/or situation: Either the Executive Branch followed the law OR they failed to do so. Where's the middle ground?

The Executive Branch lacks Constitutional and statutory authority to ignore this law. It does so at its peril to the law. Every good, law-abiding, citizen should demand prosecution for this illegal conduct.

Apparently, too many place party loyalty above the Constitution and the law, since they argue against prosecution.

Patriotism is not merely for our convenience.

AG Holder should prosecute.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cussing has palliative value.

These results are awesome!

Now, I have a scientific excuse for my foul mouth.

When you hurt yourself, it's good to let fly with a stream of expletives to reduce the perception of pain.