Thursday, October 23, 2008

Is Informed Consent "Paternalistic"?

Emily Bazelon writes on "Oklahoma's gallingly paternalistic ultrasound law" at Slate:
Four states-Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma-have taken the galling step of requiring [pre-abortion ultrasounds] regardless of need. They recently passed laws that go beyond offering ultrasounds to mandating them. Oklahoma's new statute dictates that either the doctor performing the abortion or a "certified technician working in conjunction" with that doctor do the ultrasound, "provide a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting," and also "display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them."
I'm not sure what law couldn't be described as gallingly paternalistic, but as long as I can't opt out of the gallingly paternalistic Ponzi schemes of Social Security and Medicare, I'm not going to worry about it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On Conversion

In an article about Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States, Ed Koch writes:
Earlier in the week, I was asked by a reporter how I felt about the Pope's approving a prayer asking for the conversion of the Jewish people to Catholicism. The reporter said that many Jews were upset with the prayer. I said I was not and considered the Catholic desire that we join them in conversion as a compliment. "They love us and they want us even closer" were my words. I also said, "I hope they convert to Judaism. Then, instead of there being only 13 million Jews worldwide, there would be 1 billion 13 million Jews, and that would be very comforting."

Monday, February 11, 2008

One of the Best Sentences Ever

Sebastian Mallaby writes:
"A more subtle question is whether indulging the voters is good policy."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Incongruous Advertising

The ASPCA should not be allowed to advertise on Comedy Central.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Sanity Gap

From Gallup:

Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43% of independents and 38% of Democrats. This relationship between party identification and reports of excellent mental health persists even within categories of income, age, gender, church attendance, and education.


One could be quick to assume that these differences are based on the underlying demographic and socioeconomic patterns related to party identification in America today...

But an analysis of the relationship between party identification and self-reported excellent mental health within various categories of age, gender, church attendance, income, education, and other variables shows that the basic pattern persists regardless of these characteristics. In other words, party identification appears to have an independent effect on mental health even when each of these is controlled for.

...income, education, gender, church attendance, and being a Republican are significantly related to self-reported mental health -- each such relationship occurring even when the impact of the other variables is taken into account.


The reason the relationship exists between being a Republican and more positive mental health is unknown, and one cannot say whether something about being a Republican causes a person to be more mentally healthy, or whether something about being mentally healthy causes a person to choose to become a Republican (or whether some third variable is responsible for causing both to be parallel).

...the key finding of the analyses presented here is that being a Republican appears to have an independent relationship on positive mental health above and beyond what can be explained by these types of demographic and lifestyle variables.

Perhaps Michael Savage was right.

Click here for graphs and more details.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


John Stossel writes:

The market has solved environmental problems many times in the past. Before the automobile, America's cities suffered from a terrible pollutant. It bred disease and emitted noxious odors.

It was horse manure.

As economist Nobel laureate Robert Fogel said, "There were 200,000 horses in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century defecating everywhere. ... When you walked around ... you were breathing pulverized horse manure". From such air and water pollution, people contracted cholera, typhoid and other deadly diseases.

When the internal-combustion engine came along, the air and ground became much cleaner. Environmentalists romanticize the days before the car, but who wants to go back to that filth and disease?

The answer is clear: those who are ignorant of history, possibly intentionally.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Semi-Random Paradox

With apologies to proper grammar and diction, this quote may literally make my head explode:
A witty saying proves nothing.