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Entries from April 2009

High-Tech Card Tricks

April 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Awesome.

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Tags: Random Cool Link

Your Year in Wiretaps

April 30th, 2009 · No Comments

Marc Ambinder notes that the federal government’s annual wiretap report—that’s Title III criminal wiretaps, not the foreign intel surveillance covered by FISA— is out, and the headline figure is that there was a 16 percent decline in wiretap orders over the previous year. Then he offers some speculation on why this might be that makes […]

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Tags: Law · Privacy and Surveillance

Lying About Cass Sunstein

April 30th, 2009 · 56 Comments

I could probably write a post running several thousand words just listing all the issues on which I disagree with legal/political theorist Cass Sunstein, but I was nevertheless pretty sanguine about news of his appointment to head the Office of Information an Regulatory Affairs. Via David Weinberger, I see that Sunstein is the latest victim […]

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Tags: Academia · Journalism & the Media · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

War Crimes, Past and Present

April 30th, 2009 · 48 Comments

You know that Simpsons episode where the doctor explains that Mr. Burns is simultaneously suffering from almost every disease known to man, but remains healthy because they’re in a precarious equilibrium, like a horde of obese men simultaneously trying to squeeze through the “door” of his immune system? And in honor of that image, they […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · War

A Field Guide to Republican Habitats

April 29th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Jim Geraghty sets out to disprove the notion that the GOP is “becoming a regional party.” What he actually proves is that (1) geographical maps are not a terribly helpful way to analyze what’s happening in an institution where membership is allocated by population, and (2) snapshot analysis is not a very good way to […]

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Tags: Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media

“Actual” Support. You Know, From White People

April 29th, 2009 · 12 Comments

Dave Weigel takes a crowbar to a profoundly dumb Byron York column breaking down President Obama’s approval ratings by race. In principle, there’s nothing wrong with asking whether support for a politician or policy is broad-based, or whether the aggregate numbers are masking wildly disparate reactions from different subgroups. We sometimes slip into the habit […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Sociology

The Damsel Effect

April 28th, 2009 · 4 Comments

We’ve all watched this scene play out in some movie or other, right?  “Hand over the codes to the Ultimate Genocide Ray or I’ll kill you, Hero Guy!” — “Never, Doctor Evil!” — “Very well, hand over the codes to the Ultimate Genocide Ray, or I’ll kill your girlfriend!” — “Gasp… you win, Doctor Evil!”  […]

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Tags: Moral Philosophy · War

Getting Along

April 28th, 2009 · 1 Comment

As long as I’m quoting Ramesh: In the course of attacking, of all people, Jim Manzi, Daniel Larison writes, “I have started doubting whether people who are openly pro-torture or engaged in the sophistry of Manzi’s post are part of the same moral universe as I am, and I have wondered whether there is even […]

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Tags: General Philosophy

A Coda on Free Will

April 28th, 2009 · 6 Comments

I want to pull up a few thoughts from the comments to the post below, prompted by an exchange with a commenter. It’s often said—and indeed, I’ve said it—that whether or not we have free will, we cannot help but act as though we have it. As those who don’t think there’s any such thing […]

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Tags: General Philosophy

A Specter Is Haunting Conservatives

April 28th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Ramesh Ponnuru on Specter’s party flip: My initial reaction on hearing the news was that after generating a bunch of Democratic House seats, the Club for Growth has now produced its first Democratic senator. I assume that Specter’s votes will now move leftward. There’s probably an Exit, Voice and Loyalty sort of point to make […]

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Tags: Economics · Horse Race Politics