From February, 2015

Alternative Quote of the Day

Behold. A lot of policy problems would cease to exist if people recalled that “poverty is the normal condition of man,” and strove with urgency to combat poverty through innovation, creation and–yes–creative destruction whenever appropriate. But somehow, the lessons that people like Robert Heinlein try to impart keep getting forgotten.

Quote of the Day

The autistic brain is not particularly good at understanding irony, and yet most people I’ve met on the autism spectrum have, over time, developed a pretty strong grasp of the concept. Many of us have even managed to teach ourselves how to wield it. I’ve begun to suspect that this is due to our constant hands-on experience. Having an autism spectrum disorder in an ableist world means that you’re constantly exposed to cruel irony. Most frequently, this comes in the form of neurotypical (i.e. non-autistic) people who tell you, incorrectly, that you can’t or don’t feel empathy like them, and…

How Easy Will It Be for Ashton Carter to Work with Barack Obama?

I have written before that I am glad that Ashton Carter has been nominated to be secretary of defense. I am still glad. I think that he can be very good at his soon-to-be new job. But like Jennifer Rubin, I wonder whether the Obama administration will let Carter be good at his job. Carter has repeatedly said during his confirmation hearings that he will not shy away from giving the president his best advice, and it is entirely possible that Carter will succeed in getting the president to follow that advice. But I do wish that some senator would ask Carter whether…

My Policy on Vaccines and Vaccinations

I’ll have something to say about individual politicians and their stances on vaccines and vaccination policy later. For now, here is where I stand: 1. Vaccinations should be mandatory. 2. Any religious objections to vaccinations should be found to fail even when strict scrutiny is applied as the standard of review. The state certainly can show that vaccinations are necessary to further a compelling state interest (maintaining herd immunity), and that there are no less restrictive means to achieving that interest. This is a no-brainer. 3. State legislatures should pass legislation, if necessary, to establish liability for parents who fail to…

Why Jeb Bush Is Such an Appealing Presidential Candidate

Because he believes in more than just talking about what he is against: Jeb Bush was winding through remarks to the U.S.’s National Automobile Dealers Association a few days ago when he struck what figures to be the central but little-appreciated tenet of his likely presidential campaign. What, he was asked, is the most important message for Republicans to offer voters? “Hope,” he replied succinctly. “I mean, an optimistic message grounded in the greatness of our country…an optimistic message, not a reactionary message.” [. . .] In talking privately to his supporters and advisers, and in his own limited public…