Much will be asked

Since I've written a bit lately about people who have chosen to become much more stupid than they need to be, let me take a moment to also discuss how this same dynamic can afflict actual geniuses — or at least those geniuses who seem most eager to have us think of them as geniuses. [Read More...]

The dominant hand

National Public Radio earlier this week committed what I regard as one of the cardinal sins of reporting on poll results. NPR's Ted Robbins, reporting for All Things Considered, provided an otherwise helpful look at the supporters of Arizona's new immigration law. Introducing the piece, host Michelle Norris said this: Polls show a majority of [Read More...]

Study war no more

"I'm gonna lay down my burden," we sang, "(Way down) down by the riverside." But the fact of the matter was we weren't laying burdens down so much as taking them up. In the same Sunday schools and Bible classes in which we sang that song we were also being taught that we must shoulder [Read More...]

Perversely stupid (cont’d.)

Here is a measurement, a quantification, demonstrating the reality of what we've been discussing as a willful, deliberate, chosen stupidity. Public Policy Polling measured opinions following the massive, growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and they had a hard time understanding their own results: We have some new national polling coming out tomorrow [Read More...]

Late for work on a Wednesday

So yesterday stocks plummeted on Wall Street due to fears about the Greek debt crisis. The NYSE lost about 2 percent of its value. That comes to about $300 billion or so in wealth that no longer exists. Add in the NASDAQ and the many other markets around the world that also sank dramatically and [Read More...]

Empathy and epistemic closure

The wonkier blogs of the left and right have been discussing what they're calling "epistemic closure" among American conservatives. It's a criticism of the way the activist, indignant right has begun to cut off and cauterize whole realms of thought and inquiry — purging dissent, punishing questioners, banishing internal critics. The recent conservative opposition to [Read More...]

Growing grapes at 11,000 feet

Simple Answers to Stupid Questions: Fox News asks, "Has Noah's Ark been found on Turkish mountaintop?" No. No it hasn't. * * * * * * * * * Here in America we have two major political parties. One of them is officially opposed to empathy. Peter Baker of The New York Times discusses the [Read More...]


A federal judge has ruled that the establishment by Congress of a National Day of Prayer conflicts with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I believe the legal term for this ruling is "no duh." I happen to like the idea of a day of prayer, and of [Read More...]