Saturday, July 09, 2005

I occaisionally watch some education television.
This morning, I was flipping around the channels, and saw a program on Discovery Health on organ transplants. The description said something about "cellular memory," which is not a term I'm familiar with, and thought might have something to do with cells being used to a certain body type, metabolism or body chemistry suddenly in a new system -- something like that, anyway.

But, no, the program was on people remembering stuff that didn't happen to them, feeling like another soul had entered their body, etc. They even had a "leading" heart surgeon (Dr. Mehmet Oz, cardiologist to the stars) talk about how he'd used energy healers in transplant operations.

If I needed a heart transplant, and I found out my cardiologist wanted to bring in some flower-power, Reiki, ki-aligning, chakra-loving witch doctor, I'd fire his ass and find someone with some sense.

They interviewed the energy healer, and she went on in a hokey way about the energies and powers that flow about, and how she had visions of the cause of death of the heart donor. Now, let's use a little deductive logic. The woman's young and died suddenly and tragically. We can rule out drugs and terminal cancer and all that kind of stuff, because I don't think they'd take a heart from someone who OD'd or had chemotherapy drugs coursing through her veins. This leaves a few possibilities, but the one that springs to mind almost immediately is a traffic accident. Guess what, that's the right answer, and I'm not even psychic.

After they interviewed the woman who thought that transplantation counseling focused too much on organ rejection, and not acceptance of the shared soul, they showed a post-commerical promo that featured Jonathon Edward of Crossing Over fame.

At this point, my wife told me we were leaving to get brunch, so I turned off the T.V. and went and had a nice club sandwich at First Watch.

What killed me about this program is I had assumed that Discovery Health was a science channel, and they were presenting this gobbledy-gook without question. The narration accepted everything without the slightest hint of incredulity. In fact, when the narrator mentioned that there were skeptics, she dismissed them with one subordinated clause, saying that there were gaps in science (in other words, science isn't omniscient, which absolutely no one disputes).

I was disappointed. If this is the state of science broadcasting in the U.S, I think we have much to fear.

Friday, July 08, 2005

"Thoughts on Left libertarianism"
at QandO:
The left, on the other hand, while speaking of rights and liberties, is, in reality, more interested in equality than rights and liberty (and tends to define rights and liberty in terms of equality). Equality in all areas (not just in the law), again, is a collectivist ideal.

That brings me back to my point about the base of each the left and right in the mentioned continuum. If libertarianism, as it is understood today, is based in the individual and his/her rights, it would seem to me that the further you go to the left, the farther you move away from that base premise.
I agree. Libertarianism and the Left don't mix. I wrote something similar last week:
Yeah, I could try to be a libertarian voice in the Democrat party, but the GOP's (albeit diminishing) emphasis on smaller government and deregulation speaks to me more than the blatantly socialist policies of the Democrats. Sure, the Democrats stress the "whatever you do behind closed doors is okay with us" thing than Republicans can tolerate. But power corrupts. If we give up all economic freedom to the government, the rest of our liberties will be lost as well as they take more and more interest in what we're doing with ourselves. The Left's emphasis on political correctness, hate speech and the like already shows they're not the First Amendment absolutists that they'd like us to believe. It'd get worse.
Kansas has once again caught the eye of National Review.
And not for happy reasons. See here.
VDH: Expect small-ish terrorist attacks.
By small-ish, that means on the scale of those from 7/7, not as big as on 9/11. They may actually be more effective. From VDH's piece at NRO:
Bin Laden has so far only made one mistake: He took down the entire World Trade Center rather than the top floors, and had the misfortune of having George Bush as president. Thus he lost Afghanistan and ended up with democratic reform from Iraq and Lebanon to the Gulf and Egypt. Train bombings in Madrid and bus explosions in London, like the carnage in Iraq, are preferable, since they are enough to terrify and demoralize the Westerner but not quite enough to knock sense into him that only military resistance and victory will save his civilization.

So the attacks will never quite be of such a stature to convince Western voters that one more such explosion will destroy their societies. The trick is instead to wage war insidiously, incrementally, and stealthily to avoid an overwhelming response. A cooling-off period in between 9/11 and 7/7 in which Western apologists, pacifists, and Islamist sympathizers go to work is essential for the terror to continue.


UPDATE: VDH's theory lends support to Derbyshire's theory, making it appear that Great Britain won't muster much of a response to the attacks. Man, I hope that's not the case.
How long do you detain a detainee?
Answers at The Volokh Conspiracy:
But as a matter of law and of morality, it's perfectly proper to keep an enemy soldier detained (again, I set aside the separate questions related to conditions of detention, and related to confirming that the person is indeed an enemy soldier) until he is no longer dangerous to us, even if that means he'll be locked up for the rest of his life. It's that; killing them on the battlefield; or letting them go so they can kill us.
I agree. The alternative to holding them prisoner is to never take them prisoner in the first place, that is, to kill them.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Ever the pessimist,
John Derbyshire doesn't have high hopes for Britain's response to this morning's terrorist attacks:
All the fine words we are hearing about "not giving in to terror" sound very grand. Yet in fact, the last terror campaign in Britain -- the one run by the IRA -- was very successful. Gerry Adams is not dead; he is riding around in chauffered limousines, paid for by the British taxpayer. The IRA front party, Sinn Fein, is doing very well in elections all over Ireland, North and South. Tony Blair sold out to them completely, with the entire approval of the British public.

If it's solely up to Tony Blair, Ken Livingstone, and the rest of the Brits (I'll make a few exceptions, but they are not very important), Osama bin Laden will be riding around in a chauffered limousine ten years from now, and having tea with the Queen. Fortunately America's in the fight too... and I very much hope that word "fortunately" is not just wishful thinking on my part...
He's wrong. For whatever reason, the IRA is treated differently than al Qaeda and it's not fair to equate the two. I don't see Tony Blair backing down.
London under attack.
Twelve killed in London blasts, scores wounded:
A series of blasts that rocked London on Thursday killed at least 12 people and wounded scores, police and hospital officials and witnesses said.

CNN television said at least 10 people were killed in an explosion at King's Cross station. It said one of its producers at the scene had been told of "double-digit fatalities."

Police said two people were killed in an explosion at the Aldgate East underground station. A doctor at the station said at least 90 people were wounded in the blast.
InstaPundit is all over it if you're looking for more info.

UPDATE: There's a ton of posts on this at The Corner starting about here.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Pave the Comets!
Astrologist sues NASA:
Russian "astrologist" Marina Bai has filed a lawsuit in the Presnensky district court in Moscow against the U.S. government's NASA, claiming that her business will be ruined if the agency is allowed, as planned, to crash a rocket into the Tempel 1 comet on July 4 to see what can be learned from the experience. Bai said the collision will "interfere with the natural life of the universe," which will in turn harm her "system of spiritual values," and she seeks 8.7 billion rubles (about US$311 million, which is the reported cost of the entire mission).
Live8 didn't raise a dime for Africa.
So says Jonah:
You may be wondering how much money this intercontinental jam session raised for the sick and dying of Africa. Alas, not a farthing. Sir Bob Geldof was very explicit about this point. Live8 was intended to raise consciousness and exert political pressure on the G8 summiteers. No one was allowed to actually raise money for the masses of starving people in Africa. None of the dollars spent on the concert by fans, corporate sponsors, or television networks will reach Africa. Charities couldn't rattle tin cups outside the porta-potties and concession stands. This was solely an effort to prod the West to get behind the slogan, "Make Poverty History."
That just blows my mind. I thought that was the point of the whole thing. Perhaps the Live8 organizers secretly agree with Jonah (if I may be forgiven for extending what he says a bit), that poverty will be a problem as long as Africa has a "tendency to produce horrible, greedy dictatorships".

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Buried in a post about Constitutional originalism
over at QandO is this:
As it happens, there isn't a right to privacy enumerated in the constitution, as such. There is a ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Extrapolating from that a generalized right to privacy is, in my view, a stretch. If you'd like a right to privacy, then all you have to do is amend the Constitution to include one.
Given all the other posts I've read off their blog, I'm surprised QandO would believe that you don't have a particular right unless it's listed explicitly in the Constitution. This is just a expression of the whole "rights are granted by the government" thing, which is about as un-libertarian (neo or otherwise) as you can get. One's expectation of privacy requires no positive action or rights infringement upon anyone else, therefore it is a right in and of itself.

If anything, I see the the Fourth Amendment as a compromise of the right to privacy, that we've granted the government the right to search and seize (with proper cause, of course) as a condition of living in the U.S.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy 229th Birthday to the United States of America.