Wednesday, March 29, 2006

How Culture Happens

Maggie Gallagher explains how Hawk/Dove game theory applies to the marriage debate and culture in general.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A New Consensus on Immigration?

James C. Bennett think there may be a new consensus on immigration forming and points to an article by Glenn Reynolds. Bennett writes:
There is a good deal of sympathy with the idea that Mexicans and others should be welcome to come here, as have other immigrants throughout our history, and join the American community. It's quite another for them to demand that they have a right to do so regardless of the wishes of the citizenry, or that they should not have to learn English or adopt the broad framwork of laws and assumptions that make America. It's not even a matter of assumptions of superiority: there's no implied superiority or moral imperative that, for example, favors driving on the right or the left side of the road, but it is vitally important that everybody keep to the same side.

Monday, March 27, 2006

"Jobs Americans Won't Do?"

Rich Lowry applies his scalpel to one of the central talking points of the pro-illegal side--that only illegals will do some jobs:
"According to a new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, illegals make up 24 percent of workers in agriculture, 17 percent in cleaning, 14 percent in construction, and 12 percent in food production. So 86 percent of construction workers, for instance, are either legal immigrants or Americans, despite the fact that this is one of the alleged categories of untouchable jobs.

Oddly, the people who warn that without millions of cheap, unskilled Mexican laborers, this country would face economic disaster are pro-business libertarians. They believe in the power of the market to handle anything — except a slightly tighter labor market for unskilled workers. But the free market would inevitably adjust, with higher wages or technological innovation.

Take agriculture. Phillip Martin, an economist at the University of California, Davis, has demolished the argument that a crackdown on illegals would ruin it, or be a hardship to consumers. Most farming — livestock, grains, etc. — doesn't heavily rely on hired workers. Only about 20 percent of the farm sector does, chiefly those areas involving fresh fruit and vegetables.

The average 'consumer unit' in the U.S. spends $7 a week on fresh fruit and vegetables, less than is spent on alcohol, according to Martin. On a $1 head of lettuce, the farm worker gets about 6 or 7 cents, roughly 1/15th of the retail price. Even a big run-up in the cost of labor can't hit the consumer very hard."

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Time to end "don't ask, don't tell"

Michael Barone and Ed Morrissey think it may be time to re-evaluate (and ultimately end) the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy towards homosexuals in the service. I agree given that attitudes have changed and it's just not a pragmatic approach when we need all that are willing to serve in a time of war. For the record, I was never particulary gung-ho about the idea anyway. If a person can do the same job (as defined by the same standards) then let them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Who Wants To Be A Superhero?

Aahhhh, were that I was a bit younger......

Who Wants To Be A Superhero?

The SCI FI Channel, Nash Entertainment (Meet My Folks, For Love or Money, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?), and legendary comic book creator Stan Lee (Spider-Man, Hulk, The Fantastic Four, X-Men) will produce a six-episode, one-hour weekly competition reality series that will challenge a lucky few to create their very own Superhero and reward the winner with the best reality competition prize yet: immortality! All you’ll need is an original idea for a Superhero, a killer costume, and some real Superhero mojo. The winner of this six-week competition will walk away with their Superhero immortalized in a new comic book created by Stan Lee himself. It gets better! The winning character will also appear in an original Sci Fi Channel movie!

In nationwide open casting calls, potential heroes will arrive in costume to prove their mettle – revealing the true nature of their superhuman abilities and invoking the noble credos by which they live. Make no mistake, you don’t have to love comic books to be the Superhero we’re looking for. If you have a great imagination, love adventure, and have a hero hiding inside of you, we want you on this show. Students, teachers, firemen, soccer moms, you’re all invited to try out to see if you’ve got what it takes. From thousands of hopefuls, Stan Lee will choose 11 lucky finalists to move into a secret lair and compete for the opportunity to become a real-life Superhero!

Finalists will leave their former lives behind and live as their brainchild heroes 24/7, all under Stan Lee’s watchful eye. Each week, our aspiring heroes will be challenged with competitions designed to test their true Superhero abilities. Don’t worry, no one will be leaping over tall buildings in a single bound. Our Superheroes will be tested for courage, integrity, self-sacrifice, compassion, and resourcefulness, all traits that every Superhero must possess. In the end, only one aspiring Superhero will have the inner strength and nobility to open the gates to comic book immortality forever!

Sounds like a real-life Mystery Men meets Survivor. (via Elisabeth Carnell)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Me and the Sci Fi Channel

Now that my studies are done and it's all over but getting the degree, I've enjoyed reacquanting myself with the SciFi Channel. Now, I never totally left it, the ressurection of Battlestar Galactica successfully played on my nostalgia for the classic series of my boyhood and got me hooked with it's excellent writing and plot. And then I got TiVo. Since then, I've been able to record those shows I regrettably missed. (For instance, I'm way late to the Firefly phenomenom, but agree that it's a good show and Andromeda is also pretty good....but by the same token, I can't get into the 57 varieties of Stargate that are out there). And now I see that SciFi is resurrecting another favorite from my youth: Dr. Who. I remember watching the good Doctor on my local PBS affiliate on Saturday afternoons. It was weird and had bad special effects, but it had that dry Brit "humour" and, heck, it was science fiction and there just wasn't much of that on the tube in those days. Finally, SciFi has been promoting the heck out of something called Dark Kingdom. Guess what? It appears from the promo that it is at least tangentially related to my Master's thesis topic. I'll just have to watch to find out.

Inconsistent Careful Consideration

While Senator Chafee toyed with the idea of censuring the President--based on the alleged illegality of the NSA wire-tapping program--he has since stated he's against the idea. Nonetheless, he's still convinced that the program is illegal...even though the Senate hearings on it have not yet concluded:

When Chafee was interviewed in January about the wiretaps program, he criticized it but said he would draw no conclusions about its legality or constitutionality until the Senate Judiciary Committee completed its inquiry.

Why, Chafee was asked Tuesday, has he come to the conclusion that the program is illegal, with the committee's inquiry still under way?

Chafee answered by reiterating his initial criticism of the program. "From what I've seen," he said, the wiretap program "is outside the parameters" of the Constitution's ban on unreasonable searches and existing law governing such programs.

I recall that also back in January, Senator Chafee refrained from making another decision until he "heard all the facts" and considered them carefully. In that case, it was whether or not he was going to support now-Justice Alito and he stated that he wanted to wait until after the Senate Judiciary hearings were finished before making a (finger in the wind) decision. Apparently, he doesn't feel the need apply the same careful consideration here, does he? Maybe it was a January thing?

Cross-posted at Anchor Rising.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I'm Back

Ocean State Blogger is back. I've decided to keep the ol' girl going as a blogging clearinghouse. If it piques my interest, no matter what it is, it'll be here. Any lengthy bloviation will be done at either Anchor Rising or Spinning Clio, but OSB will be my virtual notebook for nascent ideas and passing thoughts. More to come shortly.