Archive for June 2nd, 2011

June 2, 2011

No Privacy For You

by Vince

That is, Sarah Palin:

The state is about to release more than 24,000 pages of Sarah Palin’s emails from her time as governor. But officials are also going to withhold another 2,415 pages the state deems privileged, personal or otherwise exempt from Alaska’s disclosure laws.

News organizations and individuals requested the Palin emails under Alaska’s public records law more than two years ago when she was running for vice president.

The messages are finally now about to be released as the former governor contemplates a bid for the presidency. State officials expect to send the emails to a commercial printer to be copied this week, a process that is estimated to take about four days.

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June 2, 2011

Tarantino’s Slave Movie

by Vince

will be starring Will Smith. This sounds awesome:

Django Unchained, where an escaped slave, played by Will Smith, seeks to free his wife and exact revenge on his former masters.

Full preview here.

June 2, 2011

Visual Diary

by Vince

My Visual Diary from joehollier on Vimeo.

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June 2, 2011

Cell Phones and Cancer

by Vince

After looking at some of the commentary and news, I come away with an ambiguous conclusion. There seems to not be enough data yet, but if a teenage cell phone user was tracked from age 13 to 65, that may pose some solid data for this conversation. Some points worth noting:

Incidence of the most common type of brain cancer in the U.S. has dropped 0.4 percent per year between 1987 and 2007. This would be about the very same period that we all started using cell phones. That doesn’t necessarily mean the drop wouldn’t have been steeper had we not used cell phones. And it doesn’t necessarily mean cell phones don’t have a long-term effect that we may see in years to come. It does mean that brain cancer incidence has plummeted just as cell phone use has taken off.

June 2, 2011

Charting the Homicide Rate

by Vince

This may provide a sigh of relief:

The bottom line is that there has been a big and welcome decrease in homicide rates in Europe and America over the past several centuries. To put these numbers in perspective, however, note that the homicide rate in New Orleans today is 52 per 100,000 and in Detroit it’s 40 per 100,000 so even with a lower average there is lots of variation.

Brazil today is around 22 per 100,000 not too far from America in the 19th century. The homicide rate in El Salvador is 71 per 100,000, in Jamaica (!) 60 per 100,000 and in Honduras 67 per 100,000 — all higher than fifteenth century Europe. Thus, the past was a more violent place but not so violent as to be unknown to the present

June 2, 2011

“Buy American!” as anti-American

by Vince

David Harsanyi explains how the mantra of “buy American!” can actually be anti-American:

If we all mechanically bought American, wouldn’t we allow manufacturers to avoid competition and rely on their locations rather than the excellence of their products? Sounds like the opposite of exceptionalism.

Harsanyi connects this to companies in America that are taking government handouts or have been propped up when nearly failing by the government. I believe in certain seasons of history this logic may work. This current one doesn’t seem to fit into that mold.

June 2, 2011

Fearing Saul Alinsky

by Vince

It is almost a daily occurrence that Glenn Beck pontificates about the downfall of the world and how Saul Alinsky is partly behind it. Steven Taylor did some digging in a handful of academic online databases and found the following:

I tried the flagship journal of the discipline, the American Political Science Review for articles, full text, and “Alinksy” and got back 3 results (1946, 1968 and 1969).  Keep in mind the APSR is indexed back over a century on JSTOR.

Other major journals that I bothered with:

American Journal of Political Science: 1 (from 2002).

Perspective on Politics:  2 (2004 and 2006).

Journal of Politics:  2 (form 1974 and 1975).

If you search all 116 political science titles for “Alinsky” (without checking to see if they refer to Saul Alinsky specifically) one gets a whopping 55 article.  A search of “Saul Alinsky” in full-text article for the 116 journals in question gives me 38 hits, while “Alinsky, Saul” gives me 7.

Towering figure, indeed.

And this is the guy who supposedly is the kingmaker for indoctrinating the liberal intelligentsia at our universities and urban centers?

June 2, 2011

Syrian Torture of a 13 year old

by Vince

This is pretty brutal stuff.

Many nations who use torture utilize it in a very discreet and clandestine manner. Not Syria. They are broadcasting it so to intimidate people. Here is the news of the 13 year old, Hamza al-Khateeb, who was arrested April 29 and returned to his family a month later:

The child had spent nearly a month in the custody of Syrian security, and when they finally returned his corpse it bore the scars of brutal torture: Lacerations, bruises and burns to his feet, elbows, face and knees, consistent with the use of electric shock devices and of being whipped with cable, both techniques of torture documented by Human Rights Watch as being used in Syrian prisons during the bloody three-month crackdown on protestors.

Hamza’s eyes were swollen and black and there were identical bullet wounds where he had apparently been shot through both arms, the bullets tearing a hole in his sides and lodging in his belly. On Hamza’s chest was a deep, dark burn mark. His neck was broken and his penis cut off.

His father supposedly fainted when he saw his son.

This has then been followed up with protests:

In a revolutionary season that has seen countless “Fridays of Rage” in half a dozen countries, Syrian activists marched on a day that some dubbed “the Saturday of Hamza.” … In the Damascus suburb of Douma, protesters marched through the night chanting “Leave! Leave!” to Mr. Assad while holding signs declaring, “We are all Hamza al-Khateeb,” according to a video posted on YouTube. Video from another suburb, Dereya, showed women and children demonstrating, with a chorus of young voices shouting, “The people want the overthrow of the regime.” They held aloft signs that read, “Did Hamza scare you that much?”

One final note: Syrians across religious, ethnic, geographical, and tribal lines are banding together in support against their government.

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June 2, 2011

So You Think You’re Poor?

by Vince

Check out the above chart and read the full run down here. Money quote:

Notice how the entire line for the United States resides in the top portion of the graph? That’s because the entire country is relatively rich. In fact, America’s bottom ventile is still richer than most of the world: That is, the typical person in the bottom 5 percent of the American income distribution is still richer than 68 percent of the world’s inhabitants.

Now check out the line for India. India’s poorest ventile corresponds with the 4th poorest percentile worldwide. And its richest? The 68th percentile. Yes, that’s right: America’s poorest are, as a group, about as rich as India’s richest.

Brankovic notes how much it matters where you are born:

One’s income thus crucially depends on citizenship, which in turn means (in a world of rather low international migration) place of birth. All people born in rich countries thus receive a location premium or a location rent; all those born in poor countries get a location penalty.

It is easy to see that in such a world, most of one’s lifetime income will be determined at birth.

June 2, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

From fairportfan2: to quote from Leonard Wibberley’s The Mouse That Roared:

While the pen is indeed, in the long run, mightier than the sword, at any given moment the sword speaks more loudly and convincingly.

June 2, 2011

Picture of the Day

by Vince

Pictured: Woody Allen and Michael Jackson

June 2, 2011

Ron Artest Breaks Up An L.A. Club Fight

by Vince

Full report and video here:

TMZ spoke with Artest who told us, “Unfortunately there was a situation at the club and some people had too much to drink, and got unruly and aggressive. I tried to diffuse the situation. Some people just don’t think clearly when they’ve had too much to drink — it’s an unfortunate reality. “

The psychiatrist who he has been seeing must have helped him a lot since his days of yore: