Assorted Links

1)  "The justification to ban the mosque is no more rational than banning a
soccer field in the same place because all the suicide bombers loved to
play soccer."  Ron Paul on the mosque controversy.

2) Interesting review (pdf) of the health care bill from NCPA.

3) Philosopher Galen Strawson defends my most absurd belief.

4) "We've learned more about cooking in the past 15 years than we had in the previous 15,000 years." Video interview with Wylie Dufresne. By the way, I don't think this is true–we have learned more why but the previous 15,000 years developed a lot of how.  Surprising amount of political psychology in cooking, how to sell an unfamiliar food idea.  FYI, don't forget the book.


re: the first link- the Taliban banned playing soccer and the wahhabi'ists look down on it. The "soccer" analogy doesn't fit.

Because it's not about Islam. The terrorists job is to combine terrorists and heretofore peaceful muslims. The best way for us to help them do that is to lump the two together in our minds.

Religious freedom is a founding principle.
There have always been crazy people who do
crazy things in the name of _______.

The symbolism of allowing the building is a very powerful
statement of what America is and why it is the greatest and
best hope for the world . Why don't people get it.

I think the effort to stop the mosque is silly, but Ron Paul's analogy is nonsensical. The 9/11 terrorists didn't carry out their attack in the name of soccer with Arsenal scarves tied around them (supposedly OBL attended an Arsenal match), they did so in the name of Islam.

This. Paul's analogy is profoundly stupid.

I agree with Ron Paul's sentiment, but I don't think his argument is very convincing. Even if you accept the argument that the cause or motivation of the attacks should not be glorified near the attack's site, you need to draw a line for what cause or motivation is too broad to ban. Relatedly, you need to consider how broadly you will assign blame to groups for the acts of individuals. At which group are you willing to stop banning people from housing an organization near the WTC site, and why?

1. The individuals that led or organized the 9/11 attacks.

2. Other members of Al Qaeda not directly involved in the attacks.

3. Members of any Jihadist organization, both those that praised and those that condemned the attacks.

4. Adherents to the Sunni branch of Islam.

5. Adherents to Islam.

6. Adherents to any monothestic religion.

7. Adherents to any religion.

To be clear, I'm not saying that we can never draw lines; rather, people should ask themselves why they draw a line in a particular place. I can come up with good reasons for 1 and 2, and maybe even 3. But if you are willing to draw a line between 5 and 6, why not 4 and 5? And why does the line between 6 and 7 sound absurd?

The following humor:

Perhaps we should ban soccer because of soccer hooliganism.

I am just kidding.

Re: link #3

If you believe that, then is there any basis for objective morality?

Also, if your life is unhappy enough, is there any reason not to commit suicide?

It doesn't seem like all that much more than emo-nietzscheanism.

Yes, 9/11 was about Islam (among other things).

Yes, the mosque should be allowed.

The "absurd" argument was made by Hume. Hume argued that if someone took a pill that put him asleep for forty years, but stopped the aging process during that time, and he woke up after forty years (leaving aside the loss of friends and relatives), that wouldn't be so bad. But what if the pill malfunctioned and he never woke up? The person who took the pill would have no idea what had happened. He wouldn't be upset or angry at the malfunction because he couldn't observe it.

I get the impression that alot of fear of death stems from the idea that everyone has in the back of their heads that your ghost will live on, will know how you died, and will be upset about it. If death is really the end, this doesn't happen. If nothing of your consciousness lives on, then the dead can't be bothered by their own death. If there is an afterlife, well who knows? But someone in an afterlife by definition is not exactly dead. I think the fear of death is really the fear of turning into a ghost.

You lost me at "Hello, boys and girls!"

"I think the fear of death is really the fear of turning into a ghost."

If I knew that I would turn into a ghost, I wouldn't be nearly as afraid of death as I am now. I'm not really that bothered about the permanent destruction of my body. I'm bothered about the permanent destruction of my consciousness, the "I", and my ability to perceive the world.

I would rather be a lonely ghost than "really" dead or, say, a blind, deaf and mute quadriplegic, even if I couldn't communicate with the living or manipulate physical objects.

Alex, re: #4 & cooking, have you read Richard Wrangham's Catching Fire? He might substitute your "15,000 years" with ~1.5 million (well, ok, agriculture-based cooking opportunities notwithstanding). It's a very persuasive hypothesis.

The NYC government persistently refuses to permit the rebuild of a destroyed Orthodox Christian Church at GZ.

An unrepentant, bald-faced lie.

3. Members of any Jihadist organization, both those that praised and those that condemned the attacks.

Could you explain what exactly you mean by "Jihadist organization"?

Ron Paul makes perfect sense.

Or he would, if the 9/11 attackers were members of a FIFA sub-branch that had military training camps dedicated to the cause of murdering everyone they deemed insufficiently enamored of soccer, and had killed and decapitated thousands worldwide.

But otherwise... not.

The biggest change to happen to cooking in the last 15 years is that the way one signals high status via food has shifted from merely spending a lot of money on food ("I never eat anything that isn't shipped overnight from Vermont or Washington State") to actually having some genuine knowledge of and interest in food (though spending a lot of money still doesn't hurt). I can't really complain about this development.

Paul's point is apt. The point is that it is WE who choose what to tie the 9/11 terrorists with. The terrorists wanted their attack to be tied to Islam. As Andrew said: "The terrorists job is to combine terrorists and heretofore peaceful muslims. The best way for us to help them do that is to lump the two together in our minds."

When Timothy McVeigh attacked the Oklahoma fed building he claimed it was in the name of fighting a tyrannical federal government. Plenty of peaceful Americans exist who don't like our tyrannical federal government either. If a political party -- let's call them "libertarians" --- had wanted to open an office near the site of the Oklahoma Fed building should people have cried: "How insensitive! They have the same beliefs the terrorist did! I say we take the terrorist at his word for what he wished to be associated with."

BDK: nice.

"Or he would, if the 9/11 attackers were members of a FIFA sub-branch that had military training camps dedicated to the cause of murdering everyone they deemed insufficiently enamored of soccer, and had killed and decapitated thousands worldwide."

Jim: Apparently you didn't see Netherlands play in the World Cup Final? They may be coming after you, next.

Interesting review (pdf) of the health care bill from NCPA.

"Interesting" is a synonym for propaganda from Obama opposition who are opposed to everything Obama does even if it is Romneycare and otherwise a Republican plan??

The college student health plan brouhaha is over the provision included that was a citizen initiative that was sold to the NH legislature after a NH parent saw her daughter who was too old for the family plan, so she bought the college health insurance, but when she got cancer, she had to remain a full time student to keep the insurance. But when the chemo got too much and trying to attend classes full time caused her to get ill, she was forced to drop out, but that cancelled her health insurance. Without health insurance, her treatment was interrupted because she couldn't pay. She could not qualify for any insurance at all even though she had been continuously insured for years. She died because charity grants, etc couldn't be arranged in time. Her mother pushed the NH legislature to require insurers to extend coverage for children to age 26. That turned out to have lots of problems, but once that passed, lots of parents were trying to figure out why it didn't apply to their kid.

Basically, the college health plans cover only accidents and illnesses that don't cause you to lose any class time - get laid up for a month with a ski accident - policy cancelled because you weren't going to school full time. For the kinds of health problems covered, you might as well pay cash.

Theres actually a federal law the place a pretty high burden on any land use decisions that ban churhes, mosques, synagogues, etc. Not sure why it isn't getting more attention, especially since the opponents of the mosques are largely the ones who put the law into place.

Finnish cuisine have a delicious dish, with mushrooms that are deadly toxic unless cooked 3 times. I wonder how they found out?

Hey, surprise surprise! I made a blog myself

effects and the chain of unintended consequences it entails: mandate, subsidies, implicit marginal tax rates etc.

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as you wrote about in a recent post. I have no problem sharing something personal like that in my life, but I don’t want to have another baby to do it! I have 4 already. And I don’t really have anything else exciting to share with my readers. I try to write in a personal way, but I need to hone that a bit.

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