Rule of Law vs. Rule by Decree

We have discussed the president’s bad habit of ignoring or even altering laws that he finds inconvenient.  Charles Krauthammer catalogs just how many times and to what extent he and his administration have done this. [Read more…]

The two paths for Democrats

We talked about the two paths for Republicans.  Apparently there are also two paths opening up for Democrats.  Two columns in the Washington Post cite a growing schism in the Democratic Party between old-line pro-union economic liberals and big business Democrats who favor Wall Street.  What the two factions have in common is social liberalism (pro-abortion, pro-feminist, pro-gay, etc.), but the party’s former solidarity on economic issues is coming apart.  (Which may be the opposite of what is happening among Republicans, with the big business faction and the populists agreeing on economics but differing on social issues.) [Read more…]

Pay per emotional response

Chris Taylor at Mashable discusses how Google Glass (a set of glasses connected to Google) will change advertising.  According to the patent application, the technology will track gazes, charging advertisers for what ads  the wearers look at and for how long they do so.

But that’s nothing:  These glasses are also looking back at the wearer.  The patent application includes a method for determining how much the wearer’s eyes dilate when they see an ad.  (Our pupils get bigger when we see something we like.)  So advertisers will be charged more when the ads create an emotional response.

After the jump, an excerpt from the patent application and some serious questions.

[Read more…]

The Chris Christie path vs. the Rand Paul path

Washington Post political columnist Chris Cillizza has written an interesting column saying that the Republican Party must choose between two different paths, as represented by two likely presidential candidates:  the moderate pragmatism of New Jersey governor Chris Christie; or the purist small-government principles of  Kentucky senator Rand Paul.

Mr. Cillizza casts the Rand option in terms of being more conservative.  In doing so, I think he completely misses what Rand Paul represents.  He is a libertarian, appealing strongly to young people and the politically-disaffected.  But he is also pro-life.  He is also the peace candidate, stealing that issue from the left.

Someone who can attract the internet crowd and pro-lifers and free market business types and evangelicals and peaceniks and the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Streeters has the makings of a paradigm-breaking and very formidable candidate. [Read more…]

Lack of belief as an identity

Brendan O’Neill himself does not believe in God, but he has written a piece entitled How atheists became the most colossally smug and annoying people on the planet – Telegraph Blogs.  After rehearsing the various ways atheists have become obnoxious, he offers a rather penetrating analysis of why that is:

So, what’s gone wrong with atheism? The problem isn’t atheism itself, of course, which is just non-belief, a nothing, a lack of something. Rather it is the transformation of this nothing into an identity, into the basis of one’s outlook on life, which gives rise to today’s monumentally annoying atheism. The problem with today’s campaigning atheists is that they have turned their absence of belief in God into the be-all and end-all of their personality. Which is bizarre. Atheism merely signals what you don’t believe in, not what you do believe in. It’s a negative. And therefore, basing your entire worldview on it is bound to generate immense amounts of negativity. [Read more…]

Social mobility requires social capital

You know the American Dream, that in this country if people work hard and grab their opportunities they can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and find material success?  Or, put another way, that America is a land of social mobility, where poor people can newly-landed immigrants with a just dollar in their pockets can rise to the highest levels of wealth and status?

Well, America has been doing worse than other countries when it comes to social mobility.  What happened?  Among other reasons, according to columnist Fareed Zakaria, is our loss of “social capital.”  That is, the breakdown of American families. [Read more…]