Thoughts On A Sunday

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The roar of motorcycles has filled the air since Friday as the 90th Laconia Motorcycle Rally Week finished out. Though the rally runs for 9 days, the bulk of the bikers show up starting on Thursday and leave today.

I can say from personal observation that there appeared to be a good turnout. It helped that the weather over the weekend was superb, while the first weekend and a good portion of the week had wet weather which dampened the initial turnout.

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BeezleBub and Horse Girl attended the Trace Adkins concert at Meadowbrook Farm last night. He got home quite late so I don't know it went. The night before it was the Charlie Daniels Band and Willie Nelson, a concert that had a huge turnout. (It wouldn't surprise me to find out that a large number of visiting bikers attended both concerts.)

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In light of yesterday's post about Sarah Palin, this one seems appropriate.

Palin blasted the NSA, saying it "couldn't find two pot-smoking deadbeat Bostonians with a hotline to terrorist central in Chechnya," despite the fact that it "built an apparatus to sneak into all the good guys communications..."

Of course now that Snowden has blown the whistle on the NSA's efforts, the jihadists are taking measures to make it even more difficult to track their communications.

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If any of you out there still doubt that Detroit is a terminally ill Democrat-created basket case, there's this post by Moneyrunner at The Virginian that lays out the case line by line.

With 40% of its remaining residents wanting to leave the city, I find it incredible that most of those 40% haven't a clue as to why their city is such a hell hole. They can't seem to make the connection between how their city was governed (or mis-governed) and the conditions that exist in that once proud city. As such, it's likely that any place else they move to will suffer from their ignorance.

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As Eric the Viking notes, the White House will remain closed to tours because the President's visit to Africa will cost between $60 and $100 million.

Frankly, there are better things to spend that money on that will give a better return. Better yet, don't spend it at all because we don't really have it to begin with.

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David Starr offers his take on Obama's move to consolidate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) education programs, something David responds to with "Wow. All these cuts and we spend more money."

STEM education is something the education system in America has been failing to do well for some time. As David notes, waiting until high school to push STEM is putting the emphasis in the wrong place because most students decide what course of study to follow in middle school. Boring classes taught by someone who doesn't really understand the subject themselves, who has no passion for the subject, turns off the kids who might have otherwise chosen a STEM course of study.

If you're going to fix a problem, better to apply the fix at the beginning rather than trying to pick up the pieces after the fact. It takes a lot less effort.

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I have to add my own two cents to David's piece linked just above.

The education lobby is always screaming that teachers are underpaid. OK, by who's standards? I have no problem with merit pay for teachers, meaning great teachers get paid more than average teachers and a lot more than poor teachers. But the teachers unions work hard to prevent that, their public protestations about their support for the idea to the contrary. In the end all that helps are the mediocre and the incompetent teachers, which in turn helps no one else, least of all our kids.

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And speaking of schools and education, Stacy McCain points us to the disaster that is the Chicago Public School system and how it is imploding due to a $1 billion deficit. (That's 'billion' with a 'b'.)

As we are constantly asking, "How's that 'Hope and Change' workin' out for ya?"

(H/T Pirate's Cove)

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It's becoming increasingly clear that George Zimmerman may have a tough time getting a fair trial in his home state of Florida. At least one potential juror tried to lie his way onto the jury until it was found that he was a "justice for Trayvon" advocate.

If another such 'juror' is found, I think it would be in the best interest of Mr. Zimmerman's defense counsel to ask for a change of venue as it will be clear it will be difficult, if not impossible to empanel an unbiased jury in that jurisdiction.

As Sister Toldjah writes:

I've been actively involved in debates about this case on social media sites since the story first broke and I can honestly tell you I have not come across a more fanatical, crazed, militant, ill-informed, obtuse, juvenile, ignorant group of people in my life, and that's saying a lot. Facts mean absolutely, 100% NOTHING to these people, and the conspiracy theories they come up with rival anything the left or right could come up with on any number of issues.

It hasn't helped matters that the only pictures most have seen of Trayvon Martin were taken when he was a few years younger and not as he was the year he died. If those photos had been circulated by the media I doubt there would have been nearly as much outcry and verbal lynching of George Zimmerman.

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I had hoped to do a post about what is being called pathological altruism, a form of altruism that ends up causing far more harm than good. But Tom Bowler beat me to it and, quite frankly, did a far better job than I might have.

There have been a number of regimes that had as their basis, altruism. But the pathological side of that altruism drove them to commit atrocities, all in the name of the common good. All we have to do is look at the old Soviet Union and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, just to name two.

However, if science is truly to serve as an ultimately altruistic enterprise, then science must examine not only the good but also the harm that can arise from our feelings of altruism and empathetic caring for others. In support of this idea, it is important to note that during the twentieth century, tens of millions individuals were killed under despotic regimes that rose to power through appeals to altruism (106-110). The study of pathological altruism, in other words, is not a minor, inconsequential offshoot of the study of altruism but instead is a topic of overwhelming scientific and public importance.

Personally I prefer Heinlein's view on altruism: "Altruism is based upon self-deception, the root of all evil."

Indeed.

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And that's the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the rainy weather has returned, the bikers have left, and the sound of thousands of motorcycles has faded into the distance until next year.

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