Archive for September 25th, 2010
Unlike last time, they are not (yet) offering it at a discount. As you can see, they have not yet brought over the content that describes the book. This coming week, I imagine.
UPDATE: Well, that was fast. Next to be transferred will be the reader reviews. I hope.
One of the common mistakes discussed in the excellent Decision Traps is the idea that you can trust a confident person more than one who isn’t confident. Mark Vonnegut describes what sometimes happens:
I started hunting wild mushrooms after an operation to save my left eye, a consequence of 27-inning August softball madness. My retina detached in protest of my being dehydrated and 52 and running around crashing into people. A week after the operation, I was allowed to walk around but was only supposed to look down.
Straight-out and without a lot of qualifiers, I should admit that I am not a careful person. I actually hoped that wild mushrooms might be helpful with my uncarefulness, that the stakes involved might have an alerting, focusing effect.
First you have to be scanning for mushrooms as you walk along. If you’re not looking for anything, maybe you won’t see anything. If you look for mushrooms, maybe you’ll see other things, but at least you’re looking — and then you find something mushroomlike. And here’s where I thought the carefulness would come in: I would be picking and maybe eating something that would either taste incredibly good or poison me.
I was so pleased with myself when I found what I thought were sweetbread mushrooms because they weren’t all chewed up by insects the way so many of the edibles were. When I was gnawing on this nondescript piece of crap that was supposed to be breadlike and delicate, it didn’t occur to me that I could have been wrong about the identity of the mushroom. I was going to write the authorities in question to tell them that the sweetbread mushroom had an indifferent taste and a disagreeable rubbery texture.
Fifteen minutes or so after eating the new mushroom, which I did not serve to my wife, thank God, my heart started racing, painful spasms seized the back of my throat and sweat started pouring off me. I remembered seeing a picture of a mushroom, one with a skull and bones under it, that was called the sweating mushroom. Funny name, I thought.
“I think I might have made a mistake with the mushrooms,” I said softly.
“What’s that, dear?”
“I think I made a mistake with the mushrooms,” I said too loudly. Had I been sure I had ingested a less-than-fatal dose, I would have just gone quietly to bed.
It didn’t help that I was on the staff of the hospital where I went to get my stomach pumped. If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have gone elsewhere and maybe used another name…
Continue reading. What’s amazing is that he publishes this story and probably still expects his patients to stay with him. I would find another doctor in a New York minute: a guy who risks his own life due to overconfidence seems likely to risk my life as a patient from the same cause.
Once again the Republicans in Congress are proving that they put politics far ahead of policy. Earlier this year they made their own proposal:
In a letter to President Barack Obama seven months ago, 10 Republican senators led by Utah’s Orrin Hatch urged him to use tax relief to bolster the U.S. economy and create jobs.
Top on their list: extend and improve a research and development tax credit for businesses. "We urge you to help us enact a strong research incentive to keep us first in the world," the senators wrote.
Another tax break long popular with Republicans would let companies immediately deduct the cost of capital investments. In 2008, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio described it as giving employers "greater incentive to invest and create jobs for more Americans searching for work."
And now that Obama has made the same proposal:
Obama this month offered both proposals as part of his push to spur economic growth. Now, with House and Senate elections looming on Nov. 2, Obama’s proposals are getting a chilly reception from Republicans. They say Obama’s plans are flawed because he would also let the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire and increase taxes elsewhere.
"There’s tremendous pressure on the Republican leadership, since things look so favorable for picking up seats, not to give the Democrats some type of advantage," said Lee Edwards, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based policy research group that promotes limited government.
"In today’s partisan atmosphere, it’s difficult to come together on a solution like this," he said.
Oh, of course, the problem is just a vague "partisan atmosphere" that no one is responsible for. Far easier to blame it on that rather than to call it what it is, game playing that puts politics ahead of integrity
Andrew Sullivan catches the New York Times once again describing something done by another country as torture when they refuse to call the same thing done by our country by that term. In an obituary for a British spy who was tortured by the Nazis, the Times said:
As she related in postwar debriefings, documented in Britain’s National Archives, the Gestapo tortured her — beating her, stripping her naked, then submerging her repeatedly in a bath of ice-cold water until she began to black out from lack of oxygen.
So it’s torture to beat a prisoner and subject them to hypothermia. If the Nazis do it, that is. Because our government did that over and over again over the last 8 years and the Times refuses to call that torture. Sullivan quotes the testimony of an American soldier who was posted at Camp Nama in Iraq, the secret prison camp run by Gen. McChrystal:
[The suspect] was stripped naked, put in the mud and sprayed with the hose, with very cold hoses, in February. At night it was very cold. They sprayed the cold hose and he was completely naked in the mud, you know, and everything. [Then] he was taken out of the mud and put next to an air conditioner. It was extremely cold, freezing, and he was put back in the mud and sprayed. This happened all night. Everybody knew about it. People walked in, the sergeant major and so forth, everybody knew what was going on, and I was just one of them, kind of walking back and forth seeing [that] this is how they do things…
Jeff explained that the colonel told them that he "had this directly from General McChrystal and the Pentagon that there’s no way that the Red Cross could get in." Jeff did not question the colonel further on how these assurances were given to those in command in Camp Nama. He explained that they were told: "they just don’t have access, and they won’t have access, and they never will. This facility was completely closed off to anybody investigating. Even Army investigators." Jeff said that he did see Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. Joint Special Operations forces in Iraq, visiting the Nama facility on several occasions. "I saw him a couple of times. I know what he looks like."
He quotes more testimony from other soldiers who saw the same thing being done at Gitmo. But that’s not torture because the NY Times says it isn’t.
An important message to get to young gays and lesbians in bad environments. Via Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars: