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And so should you.

I spent years studying and flirting with anti-government philosophies on the right (libertarianism) and left (anarchism). But like so many philosophical notions, they sound appealing but lack empirical support.

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I came across a 61 year old study of police brutality that is still relevant today. The study, “Violence and the Police,” was part of a PhD dissertation by William A. Westley and published in the American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jul., 1953), pp. 34-41. This paper focuses on how police come to legitimize their illegal use of violence on the citizens they are to protect.

While Westley does not identify the city, he describes it as “a municipal police department in an industrial city of approximately one hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants.”

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Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 08:10 AM PST

The Nye - Ham debate

by SocioSam

A couple of years back, I toured the Creation Museum and interviewed two of their scientists as part of my sabbatical project. I have also read some of their literature including books and watched DVDs they produce.

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Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 09:28 AM PST

Abortion bumper sticker wars

by SocioSam

“Abortion is Murder” “Abortion stops a beating heart” “Choose life: Your Mother Did”
“Keep Abortion Legal” “My Body My Choice” “Pro-child. Pro-Family. Pro-Choice.”

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Mon Nov 25, 2013 at 01:47 PM PST

Live free AND die

by SocioSam

A common sign at Tea Party rallies is “Live free or die.” But when you carefully examine their positions on public policy what they really mean is “Live free and die.” Granted, governments can be evil and oppressive but good governments can do great things.

For a long historical view on the benefits of government, I recommend reading Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday: What we can Learn from Traditional Societies and Steven Pinker’s  The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. I have no desire to live in a society with a weak or no government. Think Somalia.

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Wed Oct 30, 2013 at 01:58 PM PDT

Men, time to Man Up

by SocioSam

This is a follow-up on last night's health care rant, but much shorter. As background, three things triggered this.

First, a facebook friend (female) went nuts that ACA requires health care premiums to be the same for males and females. She said any woman who would take a policy that charged her more than males deserved it because she was stupid.

Second, was watching the Sibelius hearing where a GOP Congresswoman went off about single men having to pay for pregnancy.

Third, my better half, Sheila commented, "Time for men to man up!"

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Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 03:23 PM PDT

My health care rant

by SocioSam

Back in the 1970s when I took my first graduate course in health policies, I was surprised to find the U.S. was not first in stuff like life expectancy and infant mortality. I think we were 5th in infant mortality and about 12th in life expectancy.

What surprised me even more was to discover our health and medical personnel were as ignorant as I had been. I landed a research assistant position with the College of Nursing in Cincinnati. I advised graduate students on their master’s theses and some faculty on their research. One day the Dean asked me to give a lecture to the graduate students on how to read statistics, graphs, and charts they were likely to come across in their readings.

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I’m wondering if the left and right are taking the opposite positions they should on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). If President Obama wins, health insurance remains a for-profit commodity pushing single payer back for decades to come. If the right wins and overturns ACA, a European style single payer model will get a huge political boost.

There is a great deal of  irony in how the parties have aligned themselves in choosing sides on ACA. The ACA is a market solution and largely a copy a plan originally proposed by the conservative Republican Heritage Foundation. Exchanges are all about free enterprise competition. Sure there is some government oversight to protect consumers from ripoff companies but that is what governments should do. The government requires safety features for automobiles, airplanes, and building codes. Lead is now banned from paint and there are rules for electrical wiring in homes and public buildings. There are limits on rat feces in our breakfast cereals and the amount of mercury allowed in our water. The ACA is no more socialist or communist than our grocery stores or auto dealers and manufacturers.

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Just saw this post from a facebook friend, who if I understand correctly is not posting anything today. What is all the fuss? Seems they are protesting facebook standards that don't allow, “Hate Speech, Bullying and Harassment, Graphic Content, Nudity and Pornography, Intellectual Property, Phishing and Spam, Violence or Threats, Self-Harm, Identity and Privacy, and Security."

I'm all for the 1st Amendment but it seems a bit odd to oppose these standards. Anyone else aware of this? It was the first time I'd heard of it.

But I can see their point of view. These rules don't leave them with much to post about.

You can read more about it here.


What most upsets you about these limits on "freedom"?

7%5 votes
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18%13 votes
4%3 votes
2%2 votes
28%20 votes
34%24 votes

| 69 votes | Vote | Results


Sat Aug 24, 2013 at 02:44 PM PDT

Wild Wings Foul Service

by SocioSam

I’m surprised but I didn’t a story on this. Twenty-five (25) African Americans were denied service in a Charleston, SC restaurant (Wild Wings) because a white customer said they scared him.

I went to the Wild Wings web page and found a Wild Wings restaurant in Charleston and called them. The manager was very polite. He told me that it was not his restaurant - there are 4 in Charleston. He seemed genuinely upset and said corporate had instructed all employees to say nothing about this. Corporate is panicked and trying to control this.

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Or am I over reacting? We live in a little “Village” surrounded by the city of Louisville, KY. It is a strange political situation where we have our own town council, garbage & recycle contracts, and a mini police force (part time retired officers). But Louisville provides fire, sewer, more police, and we much obey all Louisville metro laws.

The area is largely white working and middle class. Largely home owners with some rentals. And most neighbors know each other by sight (maybe, but more likely by car or dog if they walk it). There are not a lot of neighbors socializing with each other.

One of my neighbors gets real upset when people park in easement areas and calls the police regularly. Now, it is illegal in all of Louisville but not enforced in lower income areas. But because of his calls our Village police check out our block somewhat regularly and I joke with visitors to not let their tires touch one blade of grass if they park on the steet.

Jump across the orange easement and I’ll get back to the incident that got riled up.

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Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:14 PM PDT

Driving through Texas

by SocioSam

Texas is a big State and we will have to drive through it in January 2014. So, we are now researching how to get through the State without spending a nickel in any district with a TEA/gop Congress person.

We plan to purchase no gasoline, no food, no drink, and no motels/hotels.

I'm sure it is possible. Hopefully, someone more web savvy than I will post routes for people like us.

All people in Texas are not evil. But let's spend our $$$ only in districts that are Blue.

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