You might live in New Mexico…

If the idea of onlymoderate to severe drought” gives you a sense of relief, …. you might live in New Mexico.

By: Jorge Torres, KOB Eyewitness News 4

For the first time since early April, a part of the state is officially drought free.

Shawn Bennett from the National Weather Service says that a section along the southern border of New Mexico, which includes Doña Ana, Otero, and Eddy counties, is considered not in drought.

Another interesting note: the Pecos River received most of the water that it would usually get from a winter snow-melt this September alone!

Although the rain has been great, we still need more since the majority of the state is still in a moderate to severe drought.

via Parts of New Mexico now drought free | KOB.com.

The Matter of American Exceptionalism | A View from the Right

The Matter of American Exceptionalism” is a very well written explanation of what “American exceptionalism” is:

“American exceptionalism” does not mean that all Americans are, by virtue of being American, somehow superior by nature. Nor does it mean that everything that the American people or their government does or has done is above reproach. Far from it. The phrase is also not meant to imply that all other nations are bad or their people inherently inferior. Rather, “American exceptionalism” is the notion that says the United States of America, as a nation, is “exceptional” both in the sense of being very unusual and in the sense of being special and, yes, better at some things or in some areas. I suppose one might say that it is the collective “Spirit of America” that makes it superior. Grounded in its founding ideals, this spirit has led to America’s economic success and ability to be a huge force for good in the world.

Some people think it is self-righteous and arrogant to think America is better than any other nation. I’m not just referring to Putin. President Obama was asked at a 2009 press conference whether he believed in the idea (ideal?) of American exceptionalism. He agreed, but then went on to equate such exceptionalism with national pride. He said that it was no different than how Greeks feel about Greece or Brits feel about Great Britain, etc. So, really, Obama does not believe that America is any more exceptional than any other nation. This smacks of politically correct relativism. After all, we can’t have an “enlightened” world leader admitting that he thinks his own country is special! (Although, I’m not so sure the President does, since he is so focused on the negatives, perceived and otherwise. In fact, he seems increasingly “trans-national”.) Everybody and every system is equally good, valid, and “special”, right?

No, not in my book.

How the minimum wage is the very worst thing to do for low skill workers

“McDonalds and the minimum wage” http://feedly.com/k/14mJv44

The effects fall heaviest on low-skill teenagers, especially minorities. Tom Sowell is eloquent on this point, for example in a recent New York Post OpEd. I was unaware until reading it that minimum wage laws were initially backed in part as conscious efforts to discriminate against minorities and preserve jobs for white people. Sometimes, I guess, policies do have their intended effects.

Apparently, I am not paranoid….

All my life, people have dismissed me and told me that I am “paranoid.” I had to look up the definition as a young adult to make sure that I was using the word the same way.

Paranoia:
2 :  a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paranoia

Here is what the NSA leaks reveal that my government has been doing to its citizens for years (source):

The NSA collects much more metadata about Internet traffic: who is talking to whom, when, how much, and by what mode of communication. Metadata is a lot easier to store and analyze than content. It can be extremely personal to the individual, and is enormously valuable intelligence. Continue reading

Your logical fallacy is middle ground

middle ground

middle ground fallacy

You claimed that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes must be the truth.

Much of the time the truth does indeed lie between two extreme points, but this can bias our thinking: sometimes a thing is simply untrue and a compromise of it is also untrue. Half way between truth and a lie, is still a lie. Continue reading

Mark Twain comment on Jane Austen [quote]

I rarely quote any more from sources I have not actually read, but I saw this quote by Mark Twain and I thought of one of my friends. He will recognize that this is shared for him

“I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read Pride and Prejudice I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”

Americans’ response to 9/11(/2001) KILLS 500 people per year

“Schneier on Security: Excess Automobile Deaths as a Result of 9/11”

A quote from withing Schneier’s post:

Increased delays and added costs at U.S. airports due to new security procedures provide incentive for many short-haul passengers to drive to their destination rather than flying, and, since driving is far riskier than air travel, the extra automobile traffic generated has been estimated in one study to result in 500 or more extra road fatalities per year.

It is important to note that people are not choosing to travel by roads because they are afraid to fly, but because flying has become so painful and inconvenient in the overreaction to the September 11, 2001, terrorist actions. I dislike flying not because I fear flying, but because I flinch at the thought of the pain inflicted by the security theater that has grown up around commercial flight.

via Schneier on Security: Excess Automobile Deaths as a Result of 9/11.

EconTalk Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society

Podcast/Article:
EconTalk Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society

original audio source:
http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2013/ButlerUcapitalism.mp3

My speedy version:
http://www.realizationsystems.com/Listen/ButlerUcapitalism.mp3

Description:
On April 10, 2013, Liberty Fund and Butler University sponsored a symposium, “Capitalism, Government, and the Good Society.” The evening began with solo presentations by the three participants–Michael Munger of Duke University, Robert Skidelsky of the University of Warwick, and Richard Epstein of New York University. (Travel complications forced the fourth invited participant, James Galbraith of the University of Texas, to cancel.) Each speaker gave his own interpretation of the appropriate role for government in the economy and in our lives. This was followed by a lively conversation on the topic moderated by Russ Roberts of Stanford University, host of the weekly podcast, EconTalk. A video of the event along with other materials is available at http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2013/09/capitalism_gove.html .

Your logical fallacy is the texas sharpshooter

the texas sharpshooter

Texas sharp shooter fallacy

You cherry-picked a data cluster to suit your argument, or found a pattern to fit a presumption.

This ‘false cause’ fallacy is coined after a marksman shooting randomly at barns and then painting bullseye targets around the spot where the most bullet holes appear, making it appear as if he’s a really good shot. Clusters naturally appear by chance, but don’t necessarily indicate that there is a causal relationship. Continue reading