St Pat's Day Open Thread

NCAA tourney: Buh-bye Duke!

Plame-gate and Gonezales are being well covered here, already.

Any good new movies out there?

And now I am off to buy even more new pieces for my house. Then some green beer.

Valerie Plame was a covert agent

HankP's picture

In opening statements by Rep. Henry Waxman, and confirmed by current CIA Chief Gen. Michael Hayden:

WAXMAN:

... This hearing is being conducted in open session. This is appropriate, but it is also challenging. Ms. Wilson was a covert employee of the CIA. We cannot discuss all of the details of her CIA employment in open session.

I have met, personally, with General Hayden, the head of the CIA, to discuss what I can and cannot say about Ms. Wilson's service. And I want to thank him for his cooperation and help in guiding us along these lines ...

Jorge Luis Borges, Ein deutsches Requiem.

Borges gives us the story, the title is from a Brahms piece in seven movements

Let's Talk About US Attorneygate Some More!

Up til now, the White House has insisted that the idea for sacking the U.S. Attorneys came from White House Counsel Harriet Miers in February 2005, and that the idea was "immediately rejected" by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Not so fast. According to ABC News, a new document dump will be made as soon as tomorrow (Friday), contradicting both those stories.

O Brave New World, that Hath Such Creatures In't

WaPo covers a fascinating marine biology project.

Every 200 miles, the team pumped 200 liters of seawater through a layered filter system that separated viruses and various kinds of cells by size. Yesterday's analysis covers about one-quarter of the samples -- from Nova Scotia to the Galapagos -- and only the viruses and smallest cells.

Yet DNA analyses on even that limited sample, conducted on an immensely powerful supercomputer designed for the project by the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, tallied genetic coding for more than 6 million new proteins, doubling the number already tabulated in the world's genetic databases.

Do tax cuts pay for themselves? No.

We’ve had some debates here about tax rates and tax cuts and one of the sub-debates within that is whether tax cuts pay for themselves, meaning that tax cuts spur enough growth that total tax intake is at least as high as it would have been without the tax cuts.

The short answer is no. No serious economist either on the left or the right believes that. In fact many conservative economists have gone out of their way to point out that the “tax cuts pay for themselves” argument is false and to please not mix them together with the cranks (mainly at National Review or the Bush administration) that still claim or imply this.

What Makes a Building Beautiful?

HankP's picture

Alexander Nevski, cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria © 2006 Neva Micheva Licensed for redistribution

I've always been fascinated by architecture, and I can (and have) spent hours poring over architectural photographs and renderings. One of the things that I enjoyed about the week that I spent on jury duty was that it gave me an hour or so every day to walk around the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle, which has most of the architecturally interesting buildings in the area. While my tastes are as idiosyncratic as anyone else's, I've always wondered what it is about some buildings that makes them (almost) universally accepted as epitomizing beauty. There are many examples: the Taj Mahal, the Hagia Sophia, the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg, the Cathedral de Notre Dame de Paris, the U.S. Capitol Building, Versailles, Ankor Wat, the list goes on. One thing that I think is missing from this list is representation by modern buildings. In this sense I think most architectural theories and designs of the past 50 years have been monumental failures.

It's On!!!

M Scott Eiland's picture

The brackets are official: anyone wishing to participate in the Forvm's struggle for March Madness bragging rights should go here:

http://tournament.fantasysports.yahoo.com/men/register/joingroup

and enter 25939 for the group # and "perfection" as the password. You'll then be able to enter your own bracket picks and thereby make your bid for supremacy. The first game won't be until Thursday, March 15th, so you have until then to make your picks. Good luck!

Sincerely,

M. Scott Eiland
Commissioner, The Formidable

Secret Societies, the Tinfoil Hat Factory and the Right to Privacy

What are we to make of the Bilderberg Society, Skull and Bones, the Klan, Freemasonry and the like? I would like to think most rational people would observe BlaiseP’s Corollary to Occam’s Razor: never attribute to conspiracy what stupidity will adequately explain. Yet I am a member of a church which forbids its members to be affiliated with a secret society. This emerged from the unfortunate corollary between certain churches and the Klan, and I generally approve of this prohibition.

I put no stock in these conspiracy theories, personally, and know nobody who does.

Yet the world is not a rational place. The world’s elite has always attempted to hold onto power and grasp at new power where it can. We laud Magna Carta as one of the founding documents of western democracy, but it was no such thing. The barons cornered King John and made him subject to law, their law, Parliament’s law. Is it completely irrational to believe today’s financial barons are no less powerful, able to sway the world’s governments? It all seems so ridiculous. I refuse to believe the world can be manipulated by a handful of hereditary elites within secret societies. It would seem the vagaries of the market and forces beyond the control of anyone would foil any attempt at such manipulation.

Illiberal Liberalism

David Frum asks:

Can Religious Freedom Survive Gay Liberation?

He answers:

"...the gay rights movement is inherently...illiberal." Because "when you decide to extend your nondiscrimination principles to behavior condemned by your society's majority religion, you are embarking on a course that will sooner or later require the state to police, control, and punish adherents of that religion."

Case in point:

"...the British Parliament voted earlier this year to require all adoption agencies, including Catholic agencies, to place children with homosexual couples if requested. Now an influential committee of the British Parliament is recommending that Britain take the next logical step. The Joint Committee on Human Rights...released a report on Feb. 26 that advocates drastic further increases in state supervision of religious organizations and religious schools."

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