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General Discussion / Jury pool "mutinies" in Marijuana Case
« on: December 23, 2010, 10:27:43 AM »
How screwed up has our justice system become when jurors expressing their entirely legal ability to refuse to convict on bad laws is referred to as a mutiny?

Florida's Orlando-Sanford airport has opted out of TSA screening in favor of a private security firm in the wake of increasing TSA incompetence.  Note: this does not mean an end to invasive scannings and pat-downs, but perhaps it may mean they'll be done by a group of professionals instead of barely educated morons in uniform.  As for me, I'm driving or taking the train.

As some of you may know, Amazon has been in a protracted legal battle to keep the purchase records of its consumers private and out of the hands of state tax collection officials from North Carolina who would use the data to collect sales taxes.  In other words, state officials would have detailed information on every book, song or movie purchase you made from the site, not to mention that it's a flagrant violation of the Constitution for a state to collect sales taxes on inter-state purchases.  Thankfully the judge in the case sided with the ACLU and Amazon and has ruled against N.C.  It will be interesting to see if this goes to a higher court.


The FCC has actually, against all odds done something useful for the consumer and stripped Apple of its power to threaten to sue consumers over how they choose to use its products.

General Discussion / Looking for a Concise Argument on Price Control
« on: February 12, 2010, 10:46:26 AM »
I'm looking for a concise, easy argument about why price controls, particular price floors always fail.  We all know the consequences of setting price control, but these kids don't have a lot (or in some cases any economic background).  I'm getting ready to teach on the New Deal, and I want to tell them about the "Roosevelt Recession" of 37-38.  I want to break the notion that the New Deal was an unqualified success.  Anyone have any good sources that the kids can go to?

Episode 2: Creationism / Kent Hovind's Doctoral Dissertation now on the web
« on: December 15, 2009, 12:27:58 AM »
For those of you not already aware.  Professional creationist liar and convicted tax cheat Kent Hovind's doctoral dissertation was recently leaked to the internet.  Hovind has long done his best to keep this document under wraps and it's not hard to see why.  It's easily one of the greatest works of unintentional comedy ever put to paper, 102 pages of pure hilarity.  This document demonstrates just how loose the standards are for Patriot University, whose campus is an illustrious double-wide trailer that also serves as the house of its President and founder.

Just a few things I noticed as someone who has submitted documents for peer review:

1.  He starts his dissertation, and remember this is supposed to be a formal monograph with, Hello my name is Kent Hovind.

2.  The vast majority of it is un-sourced, and in fact he cites one of his biggest sources in the introduction as his own radio show.  In other words, his research is listening to himself talk.

3.  Liberal use of exclamation points, again in a formal dissertation.

4.  Blatant and childish ad hominems, such as commenting on the weight of Darwin's grandfather Erasmus.

5.  A collection of nearly every ridiculous fallacy and misunderstanding of science that has made Hovind our favorite nut-job, with exception of his notion that a massive sphere of ice floated in space over the earth. 

Read it for yourself, and as you do, just keep telling yourself that this is supposed to be a doctoral dissertation.  Stop occasionally and imagine peers at Harvard, Oxford, M.I.T. or Caltech reading this thing.  Try to picture Kent before a committee.  You'll be pissing yourself in not time

This is an essay I often assign in my class when we talk about slavery.  I use it because it allows the class to move from slavery to the bigger issue at hand, who should control labor the individual or central authority.  It was written by a professional slave apologist by the name of George Fitzhugh who was probably one of, if not the most prolific pro-slave writer of his time.  What sets Blessings apart from any other of his arguments is how he sets slavery apart from what he might dub "the tyranny of the free market."  While he makes all the classic arguments about slavery being Biblically justified (which I never tire of pointing out to Christian theists who shy away from saying the Bible supports slavery), the meat of this thing is his critique of capitalism. 

I post it here because it seems like the anti-free market, anti-libertarian people tend to make the exact same arguments as Fitzhugh.  I realize there is a danger of making a guilt by association fallacy, but judge for yourself how astonishingly similar Fitzhugh sounds to modern collectivist arguments, and essentially, the logical end of these arguments seems, for Fitzhugh to be benevolent slavery.

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