Is there a “fact of the matter?”

December 25, 2008

Bryan Caplan says, “Almost no one admits that many, if not most, laws are so vague that there is no ‘fact of the matter’ about what they mean.” Specifically, TARP is entering territories that he thought were illegal, but everyone (almost) seems inclined to reinterpret as legal now. Perhaps laws in his field, economics, are more vague and less clear than say, criminal law. I hope AH dismisses his viewpoint out of hand, you know, since he’s not a law professor :).


There’s low standards, and then there’s low standards

December 22, 2008

What does every pessimist say to every optimist? “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.” I suppose Arnold Kling would say the same:

I tend to set the bar pretty low. I always said about my daughters that if they reached 18 without getting pregnant, addicted to drugs, or badly injured in an accident, I would feel pretty optimistic about their future. So far, so good.

Similarly, as far as government is concerned, I think that the fact that our leaders are not taking us into another first World War is something we ought to be happy about. World War I gets my vote for Worst Historical Event Ever, and it happened less than one hundred years ago. Today, we’re not sending most of our able-bodied men to go fight in trenches. Count your blessings.

Not so ware of roaming

December 21, 2008

It turns out that you believe your phone when it says roaming. If you are driving through west Texas and Arizona and your nationwide phone says Roaming, you probably are connecting to a cell tower in Mexico. To the tune of $100 for the bill.

San Francisco First Weekend Happenings

December 17, 2008

So you followed the roadtrip if you were reading my facebook or twitter updates. Here’s a breakdown of the rest.


  • Arrive at Dan’s place after a little bit of time lost in San Francisco
  • Go to holiday party. Introduce myself and admit I know virtually no one. I’m like a lost puppy
  • Win Snowboard 😀


  • Walk around a lot with Dan. Including to the top of Buena Vista. Pretty cool view
  • House (warming) party with Dan and his friends


  • Breakfast with Dan and his gf
  • Afternoon of football and conversation with two coworkers in Mountain View at uWink
  • Find a “great” parking spot two blocks from Dan’s
  • Crepes with April, her bf, Dan, and his gf


  • Get out of the house with plenty of time to drive to Facebook
  • Find car has been towed (I had absentmindedly parked directly in front of a driveway)
  • Call friend who lives in SF and works at FB who doesn’t answer
  • Try to call a cab company
  • Get a call back from friend. Yes he can take me. I need to get to his place
  • Wait approximately 30 minutes for a cab, with two SF people stealing ones before me. I don’t know cab etiquette
  • Get to his place, get through traffic, get to my first day at work 20 minutes late
  • Play poker after work with work people and clean up


  • Walk two miles to car depot. Find out my stupidity has cost me another $400

One of the funny things is. I still feel like I came out ahead between the snowboard and the towing. Maybe it’s because I found another Fratty story.

Good Houskeeping 1958 vs. 2008

December 4, 2008

Laura Vanderkam shows that a lot of things have changed, but not the ones you think. And that Good Wife’s Guide is a forgery.

One Person’s Coffee History

December 4, 2008


Cool personal coffee journey, told through coffee stains on napkins. HT JG.

Op-Ed by Iraq Interrogator

December 4, 2008

Definitely, worth a read HT RB. Here’s what he said about his struggle to write about his thoughts:

When I submitted the manuscript of my book about my Iraq experiences to the Defense Department for a standard review to ensure that it did not contain classified information, I got a nasty shock. Pentagon officials delayed the review past the first printing date and then redacted an extraordinary amount of unclassified material — including passages copied verbatim from the Army’s unclassified Field Manual on interrogations and material vibrantly displayed on the Army’s own Web site.