I just thought this was funny

November 29, 2006

During the instapundit podcast interview with Orson Scott Card (which I highly recommend) Card was talking about these idiots in the media. Then as he said that they exist on the right as well and he wasn’t going to name names. Then he said he might name the name. A few seconds later he said, “those guys who you wonder, have they ever read a newspaper, okay its Savage”. I find it amusing that Savage is so reviled by all except for the fawning callers he lets on.

Bless You Charlie (Rangel)

November 27, 2006

Apparently the Democrats have decided that with election easily in hand they could let up their guard and directly insult the troops. No John Kerry type “joke” which could be referring to the President. Charlie Rangel said straight out that the troops were only there because they had no other career options and that no amount of money incentives will make somebody go to Iraq. I don’t know which is more shocking, his complete ignorance of statistics about the military or his complete ignorance of Economics 101. I can think of nobody who thinks that people don’t respond to incentives and that people won’t put themselves in danger for money. Furthermore if Rangel thinks that paying an extra $20,000 for troops to volunteer to go to Iraq won’t work why does he think troops won’t run off to Canada for an implicit cost of around $20,000.

Of course I can’t stress enough how stupid Rangel’s draft proposal is. The cost would be in the trillions per year once you factor in the oppurtunity costs. Furthermore, instead of reducing America’s military will it would redirect to UN type actions where nobody gets hurt and nothing gets done. In addition I find it hard to see how a draft during peacetime is constitutional despite what the Court has said.


November 21, 2006

A standard conservative objection to the court permitting gay marriage is that if you allow that then you’ll have to allow polygamy as well. While I find both of these things distasteful, I find gay marriage far more so.  Polygamy is presumed and at times considered good in the Bible and was common in many religious cultures. There are social problems with polygamy to be sure, but these would probably be smaller than critics claim. I have no reason to believe that monogamy is essential to our country as a commenter on Captains Quarters did and polygamy would be rare for obvious reasons. I don’t see it as a serious social issue. However the major impact of the Supreme Court saying this would be to lower the States in the Union to 49. Utah was forced to sign a treaty saying that they couldn’t allow polygamy in order to become a State. Although that has constitutional problems already (it sort of abridges the republican form of government requirement) the treaty would be obviously unconstitutional if the Supreme Court said polygamy was a constitutionally guaranteed right. In fact Utah would retroactively have never been a state and any law which passed by the margin of Utah’s votes would be void.

Unsurprisingly this issue will never be brought up, unless we have another 2000. The loser of the election might decide to gamble on that argument to the Supreme Court. Maybe not.

Hasgachah Pratis (a Bayesian approach)

November 17, 2006

For a long time you’ve heard that there is no such thing as coincidence and that everything is Hashgachah Pratis. In fact you’ve been told that this is a basic Jewish belief. In fact there is an opposing view which saysthat how much Hashgachah Pratis you get is dependent on your righteousness. This can be taken two ways, at least for the purposes of this.

  1. Hashgachah Pratis is directly related to your merit or h(m)=km where m and h are less than or equal to 1, or your hasgachah pratis equals k which equals 1 times your righteousness.

  2. Hasgachah pratis increases at a rate of km or dm/dh=km or h(m) equals the integral of km or h(m)=.5km^2 but since h(0)=0 and h(1)=1 C=0 and k=2 so h(m)=k^2 where m and h are less than or equal to 1, or your hasgachah pratis is equal to the square of your relative merit.

After we have these formulas we can assess what the probability of an event being hasgachah pratis is if we know how righteous somebody is. We can do this with Bayesian reasoning. This formula can be used for many other things. For example, if somebody says he won the lottery and you know he tells the truth 999 times out of a thousand and that his chance of winning the lottery is one in a hundred thousand the odds that he is telling the truth are .9%. So our formula for the odds of Hasgacha Pratis for an event with Probability A are for

(1-A)m/((1-A)*m+A*(1-m)) or the probability of it happening with hasgachah (its nonrandom probability times the probability of hasgachah pratis) divided by that number plus the probability of it happening randomly. For the second case the probability is the same but with m^2 replacing m.


I really think that the Republicans learned nothing.

November 16, 2006

To elect Trent Lott as your second in command in the Senate is insane. Republicans chose somebody not known for his choice of words. Also Trent Lott is a leading earmarker, and the Republicans were thrown out largely because of that. Lott has egg on his face and is a representative of the old guard who merely desire to stay in power. I don’t know if the Democrats are doing any better, but at least they didn’t choose a Senator liked by perhaps 25 people outside of his state.

An expected irony.

November 16, 2006

The previous post had been submitted to the school newspaper and not surprisingly was totally rejected. As my principal/censor put it, I showed it to a number of people and the concencus was that printing this article would guarantee a sub 20 person freshman class.

Gay Pride in Jerusalem

November 13, 2006

The gay pride people backed down and held their event inside because of threats of violence. Doesn’t this seem like its ruining the whole point?

Unlike most of you I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the sequence of events. First of all can you really consider it to be good that people are worried that a religious Jew is going to kill them? Furthermore, any argument presented against it boiled down to we don’t like gays. That’s a valid opinion, but it isn’t a stance Israel can take. Israel is a democracy and is not a theocracy. Israel has standards of human rights and one thing is that you can’t discriminate against gays.
Of course you might say, “Why should I care about the gays, I’m not one of them.” However to quote the famous Niemoller poem,
“When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out”

This is not a hypothetical possibility, the same arguments were made in another controversial issue, arguments such as, “We can’t afford the soldiers to protect these people,” and “Why can’t they just go somewhere else?” and “They’re inciting violence.” I don’t think I have to continue for you to recognize the arguments as those used by the pro-disengagement crowd. This doesn’t automatically mean that the arguments have no validity, but it should give you pause before you confidently say them to the world as your basis for discrimination.
The principal argument I heard made was that Israel was a Jewish state and therefore should keep the gays from marching especially in Jerusalem. However, if you are going to make this argument you faced with serious dilemmas. What do you do to adulterers and gays, kill them? Israel is a Jewish state, but until Mashiach comes it is also a secular one. No matter how much you dislike the march and no matter how offensive it is to you, banning the free speech rights of a group because of it is an extremely dangerous path. Because to be logically consistent you should say that any group which offends a large enough segment of the population should be denied the right to march or to say what they want in public and that is the last thing the religious community should want because they’re outnumbered. So hold your nose and even go and protest the next march, but don’t try and remove their right to peacefully march because your side doesn’t like it. Just remember that the table can be turned and have been in the past.