Diet and Gender Differences: Dr. Freeberg is interesting, as always.
Blagojevich watch: In case you missed it, G-Rodcompares himself to Mandella, Ghandi and Dr. King.
And a question about Blago. I've never seen him on a bicycle, so why is he always wearing a helmet? Or is that an armor-plated hairnet?
The Curious Case of Billy Joel:Ars Psychiatrica. Joel (is that legally his last name?) can be trite, insufferably pompous, almost always self-conscious, nauseatingly sentimental, and yet, I used to listen to him because some of it wasn't half bad.
Over-the-top: Chairman Obama's Little Blue BookPocket Obama. The ad says It is an unofficial requirement for every citizen to own, to read, and to carry this book at all times.
As Lotus says, Ewwww.
$200 Laptops Break A Business Model:The Times has a piece on cheap netbooks shaking up the laptop market. One problem with this story--I haven't seen that particular $200 netbook available for less than $300. Also not mentioned, that particular model has cooties a Celeron processor. If someone actually produces a notebook with a good processor and a decent amount of memory for just $200, lots of people, including me, will pick one up.
So, there aren't any good $200 notebooks out there, but have you been to Best Buy or Frye's lately? They are giving the stuff away. I got a great deal on an excellent Toshiba laptop during the week after Christmas for about $600. Something comparable two years ago would have been priced at about $1400. The Digital SLRs are also calling to me, specifically the Nikon D60. I gave away my SLR several years ago and have exclusively used a digital non-SLR while waiting for an irresistible combination of technology and price to get me back into an SLR. First, though, I'm going to read Jonah Lehrer's five recommended books on irrational decision-making--just as a precaution.
I like the word "liberal" and am very comfortable with the word "classical" in front of it. Many American conservatives are liberals in the deepest sense - they back the free market, the First Amendment, the broad balance of the American constitution, a decent respect for the opinion of mankind. But what has emerged in recent years is a darker, more authoritarian strain of conservatism - rooted in the cultural and racial conservatism of the South, partial to a near-dictatorial war-presidency, believing in American exceptionalism to the extent that it exempts America from the moral norms of the rest of the world, and rooting the legitimacy of the American constitution in only one religious tradition (narrowly defined).
These characters want to redefine conservatism around this theocratic, authoritarian, self-justifying ideology. I am more than happy to share the term liberalism with others. I am not going to have the word conservative coopted solely by these religious radicals.
Rice University researchers Wen Zhou and Denise Chen had 20 heterosexual men place small absorbent pads in
their armpits while watching pornographic videos (Sexual arousal was confirmed using electrodes.) Next, the men swapped out the pads for fresh ones to absorb sweat while they weren't aroused.
Later, the researchers had 19 women sniff the pads while being monitored by fMRI. The result? The women's brains appeared to distinguish between the sweat of aroused men and unaroused men.
The finding doesn't mean that women can consciously perceive this difference, but it does indicate that the difference does, at least, register subconsciously.
The study was published in the December 31 issue of the J of Neuroscience. Abstract
It was just a matter of time. Blago's lead attorney, Ed Genson, quit after Blago took to the local airwaves yesterday claiming that his prosecution is nothing but an attempt to get rid of him so that lawmakers can raise taxes. What's more, Blago is scheduled to do the national talk shows beginning Monday. I don't have a link, but I heard Genson say that he doesn't require clients to accept his advice, but he insists that they at least listen to him.
Blago has been complaining that the impeachment trial rules do not permit him to call witnesses. Senate President John Cullerton says that is false:
He can call witnesses, of course he can. But there’s never any proceeding like this where either side has the unfettered ability to call witnesses. You have to ask for the right to call particular witnesses. You can’t just call anyone you want because you think it might be interesting. I’m a former public defender. I’m well aware of the rules on admissibility of evidence. Look, I didn’t arrest him. I didn’t impeach him. But the (Illinois) Constitution requires that we have a trial, and for that we had to draft rules. And what better to start with than the Clinton impeachment-trial rules, a trial that ended in an acquittal.
Are we compounding our economic woes? Chapman is not on board with the unfolding stimulus plan. Personally, I go along with some kind of continuing immediate intervention to deal with banks. If the banks collapse, if credit is unavailable, we will be looking at an international catastrophe. Second, consumers are paralyzed--no one is buying. Not knowing what is going to happen, people are holding on to money. A massive over-correction in spending could trigger a catastrophic cycle of business failures, lost jobs, further reduced spending, more business failures and so on. A massive short-run stimulus might help avert that.
My impression is, however, that most of the fiscal stimulus being proposed is long-term and will do nothing to address the more immediate situation. I worry that Chapman is correct-- that a massive long-term increase in spending perpetuates and even exacerbates our current problems--blowing more air into the bubble.
Some fiscal conservatives who support tax reduction are doing so because they see this as the most effective way to stimulate the economy in the short-run. Immediate cash in the hands of consumers and businesses will lead to a spending boost much more quickly than, for example, infrastructure spending would. And, money in the hands of consumers and businesses will lead to spending that makes better economic sense, creating more jobs than government spending. It goes without saying that many economists disagree for many reasons. I don't know who is right and I don't have a great deal of confidence that anyone really knows. That's not a good thing for a blogger to say. We're supposed to be sure about everything, inflaming passions with our fiery political and moral clarity. I can only go as far as saying that I think we're about to embark on a massive experiment and we will have more answers 5-10 years from now. If we don't embark on that experiment, we may be very sorry. And if we do, we may be very sorry.
Finally, who is surprised by this revelation? On Friday, Brady Boyd, the pastor who succeeded Ted Haggard, revealed that Haggard had an ongoing sexual relationship with a male church volunteer in his 20s. As part of a 2006 settlement with the young man, all parties agreed not to speak publicly about the matter. Boyd says he decided to break the silence after learning that the young man intends to go public with the story.
[N]o one takes the presidential oath precisely as written, because everyone adds his name and "so help me God" and omits "(or affirm"). And if those additions/omissions do not matter (a point on which everyone agrees), we have to figure out why transposing the word "faithfully" matters. Paulsen argues, and I think I agree, that the question is whether the deviation (whether addition, deletion, or alteration) "matters," whether it "detracts" from the substance of the oath; presumably that question focuses on whether the deviation from text changes the meaning of the oath. Adding a name or "so help me God" does not; neither does omitting "(or affirm)" (which would make the oath incoherent); and neither would inserting random mumbo-jumbo in the middle of the oath. Transposing a word also does not change meaning--"faithfully" still is an adverb modifying "execute." Replacing a word might not matter if it did not change meaning (say a Jewish President said "Hashem" rather than "God"), but it would matter if it did change meaning (Paulsen uses the example of replacing "faithfully execute" with "probably execute").