More Planted Questions

We’ve already heard about questions for Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail being planted by the campaign staff itself. The practice is evidently more widespread than I would have imagined. It turns out that the Republican candidates’ debate arranged by CNN last night contained multiple planted questions. Questioners described as “undecided” have been unmasked as Clinton, Obama, and Edwards supporters and activists. Now I have … Continue reading More Planted Questions


Virginia Postrel reflects on Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison‘s book, Objectivity. Among the passages she quotes: All epistemology begins in fear–fear that the world is too labyrinthine to be threaded by reason; fear that the senses are too feeble and the intellect too frail; fear that memory fades, even between adjacent steps of a mathematical demonstartion; fear that authority and convention blind; fear that God … Continue reading Objectivity


G. A. Cohen presents two cases meant to illustrate points about distributive justice. (1) Tiny Tim is disabled. He nevertheless has a sunny disposition, sitting happily by the fire with his loving family. The family can’t afford a wheelchair. But Tiny Tim doesn’t mind. Still, a wheelchair would make it possible for him to function in many ways he can’t function otherwise. Would an ideal … Continue reading Entitlements

Handel’s Messiah

The St. Cecilia Music Series is sponsoring a performance of Handel’s Messiah—the 1759 Foundling Hospital version, the last version Handel himself prepared, unabridged, on baroque instruments—over three nights at St. Martin’s Lutheran Church, 15th Street, Austin, Texas: Friday, November 30, 7pm: Part I. Saturday, December 1, 7pm: Part II. Sunday, December 2, 6pm: Part III. Continue reading Handel’s Messiah

Paris Is Burning—Again

For a third night, Muslim youths are rioting in France—this time with guns. Over 100 police officers have been wounded, some seriously, as a rampage of vandalism and car burnings once again consumes areas of Paris, Toulouse, and other cities. “This is war,” says one of the leaders of the riots. The purported cause, an automobile accident involving a motorcycle and a police car, is … Continue reading Paris Is Burning—Again

Income Inequality

Thomas Sowell discusses the top one percent, which, as he notes, changes significantly over time. Greg Mankiw points out that people care about injustice rather than inequality per se. A thought inspired by reading them together: The difference between wealth and income is underappreciated. ‘Rich’ and ‘poor’ might be used in either sense, but seem primarily to refer to wealth. The top one percent, as … Continue reading Income Inequality