(no subject)

Well, let's see.  An eyewitness reportedly said Zimmerman was the one crying for help while Martin was on top of him, beating him.  And the reported physical evidence is that Zimmerman had a bloody nose, a cut on the back of his head, and grass stains on his shirt.  Could it possibly be that people who don't have access to the physical evidence and witness testimony should refrain from prejudging the case, instead of declaring someone guilty based on news reports?  That it is foolish to presume guilt on incomplete information, and that the accused should be presumed innocent until presentation of the evidence at trial?

But of course, there are no endorphin rewards from reserving judgment, no emotional satisfactions to be gained by waiting and seeing instead of loudly demanding "justice".

Conversations with the Cat




"That's a plastic fork from a fast-food place, Apollo.  With a paper napkin.  Still packaged together in plastic."


Steve sighs.  "Good kitty."

Cat at this point notices Steve is reading.  Cat drops fork, jumps between Steve and reading material.


Annoyed at the world.

22 people are dead and hundreds are hospitalized because an inexpensive food safety technology, first developed sixty years ago and repeatedly proven safe, is discouraged to the point of near-prohibition by government regulations in the EU.

In a sane world, people would point to the massive public health benefits of universal government-mandated food irradiation as one of the arguments against letting the free market have free run to make its own decisions.  In this one, it's a great "government failure" counterexample to people who talk about "market failure".

2012 prediction

The Republicans will keep the House no matter what.

There have been, since the ratification of the 17th Amendment, 20 flips of a chamber of Congress by a vote of the people.  17 of them happened when the incumbent President was the same party as the party that controlled the incumbent chamber.  One was a result of both a weird muddle (the 2000 election) followed by a wartime rally effect in the next election (2002).  Two happened in 1948, which was a strange election (that was the "Dewey Defeats Truman" year).

So, since a Democrat will be President in 2012, the House will remain Republican.

See, if people think things are going well, they vote for incumbents.  (See Clinton in '96, and how the Republicans retained Congress, or see Reagan in '84, and how the Democrats retained the House.)  If they think things are going poorly, people will vote against the President's party (see 2008 or 1992, where the party of the incumbent president lost the presidency but the incumbent opposite-party Congress stayed in power).  Since the Republicans are both the House incumbents and not the president's party, they're in good shape for 2012.

Throw in that a bunch of state legislatures went GOP, while California handed over Congressional redistricting to an independent commission, and the post-Census 2012 districts are going to generally be more favorable for Republicans.

Why are greenhouse gasses such an important issue in Australia?

No, really.  Granting that anthropogenic global warming is a very important, serious problem . . . why is reducing Australia's emissions a major issue in Australian politics?  Australia emitted 1.28% of the world's carbon dioxide in 2007.  Estimates I see are Australian methane and other emissions are equivalent to about half the warming effect of their CO2, so making the impact-maximizing assumption there are no other greenhouse gasses than carbon dioxide emitted by anyone else anywhere, Australia is responsible for about 2% of global greenhouse emissions, which share is declining as the developing world industrializes.

If Australia's emissions magically went to zero, it would have no discernible impact whatsoever on global warming.  The science says there is nothing Australia can do about global warming on its own that will have any effect.  So why is Australia even considering expensive, unilateral cuts in emissions that won't do anything to actually prevent global warming?

(no subject)

Not that I have any objection to the result of the case, but has anybody tried projecting the ban on laws of moral disapproval as a general principle?

The item that comes first to mind is animal cruelty laws.  However much one might hate the idea of, say, microwaving live cats to death, what's the state's rational interest in preventing such behavior, under the new standard?