October 25th, 2012

(no subject)

Let's take a hypothetical question. Let's say Moshe Friedman is running for president. He gets the Republican Party nomination. He says that he was born in Arizona, but there's some conflicting stories. Does anyone know what the correct procedure is to legally verify his constitutional eligibility? From current legal cases, it seems that no one has standing to challenge him. So what's the right thing to do?

Holy Inquisition v.2.0

L'Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter
The prosecution argued that the scientists were "just too reassuring"

Jailing scientists for not giving sufficient warning of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake is a spectacularly stupid idea

I agree with the Telegraph blog piece. This verdict is absolutely appalling in its stupidity. Obviously it'll be appealed, and I hope this time there'll be a judge with a half decent education to repeal it. Not only can't earthquakes be predicted, there are only a handful of countries around the world where the science of seismology is so advanced that they could at least sometimes read the signs preceding earthquakes and give warnings that are somewhat useful. And - surprise! - Italy has so far been among those countries, along with Japan and the US. These have some of the best seismologists in the world. Sadly, in Italy that's coupled with having some of the worst judges. If this verdict is upheld, I can see how a significant brain drain would happen there, as more scientists will quit the job or move elsewhere, to places where they won't have the threat of being jailed for simply being wrong hanging over their head. Or the prospect of spending time in jail for sounding "too reassuring".

The first scientists have started resigning already.

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Look on my work ye mighty and despair

An article after mine own heart:


It's nice to see that there are people out there who do not hold that being shot dead, tragically, after a long smear campaign aimed at turning one of the great Cold Warriors into a Commie plant handwaves issues of failures, lies, and deception in foreign policy. The issues that culminated in Watergate began with Camelot, and it is long past time for people to give this the recognition that it's due. Kennedy was the first President of the modern era to engage in deliberate lies and fearmongering and to risk crises over corners of the world that if he was a Republican would have made him the target of endless hatred and loathing.

Anyone, and I do mean anyone, who says that invading Iraq in 2003 was right and inventing the Missile Gap out of whole cloth, knowingly false in both cases is a matter of one being wrong and the other not-wrong has no coherent criticism of lies and fearmongering in the Oval Office. What that view is simple partisan hackery about one of the fundamental premises of democracy: namely that in a democracy the public has a right to know the truth. It has a right to be told it, and to be given that truth consistently. What it does not have a right to is to define utter evil and threats to democracy that apply only one when one politician in one party is responsible for them.

Dallas was a horrific tragedy and an incident that should never have happened. Nonetheless, being assassinated is not a political handwave of faults for JFK. Surely after 50 years we can look back at his Administration as reality, not as the self-serving lies we call history so often, right?