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Traveler's warning for San Francisco

Warning for all blog readers and decent, state-fearing folk- a radical band of east coast provacateurs has been reported operating in the San Francisco / Bay Area. The latest report on the ground is that this radical cell will be meeting somewhere downtown on Saturday, September 16. Honest citizens should beware that this group is armed with philosophy, economics, and copious amounts of alcohol. To aid in recognition, here are the latest known pictures of these dastardly villains:

Jonathan Wilde

Reclusive leader, rhetorical swordsman

Brian W. Doss

Mad scientist, evil hand issues

Dave Masten

Hermit from the (Mojave) Desert

Trent "Moff" McBride

Developer, Alan Parsons Project 'super laser'

Sean Lynch

Technical expert, intermittent explosive blogging

Patri Friedman

Googleplex mole/infiltrator

Dr. Nick Weininger

Lefty blog comment infiltrator

Scott Scheule

Master of disguise, plastic surgery/enhancement

Matt McIntosh

Wizard, Canadian

and the most dangerous:

Brandon Berg

Master of Fugue

(but seriously folks, if you're in the SF downtown area, drop us a line in the comments if you wish to join the conspiracy. :) )

South Tower Collapses - 9:58am EDT, September 11, 2001

(Personal note- I had run home by this time, and saw this shortly after getting in the door. The horror at the moment was that my roommate's sister worked in the WTC at the time, though fortunately she had been late for work, saw the first hit, turned around and walked home. We didn't hear about this until later, but in time to tell my roommate when he finally got home.)

Pentagon hit - 09:43am EDT, September 11, 2001

(personal note, at this point after hearing that there had been a 'bomb' at the Pentagon, I had run to a colleague's office who had a corner view towards the Pentagon from our offices in Rosslyn, VA, and got there in time to see the initial black as night plume of smoke curling up from the skyline.)

First plane hits WTC - 8:45am EDT, September 11, 2001

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Its College Football Season again!

Kickoffs this Thursday, and the first game of the season from a VT-centric perspective is Saturday, September 2nd, as VT tees up for a no-win clash with 'mighty' Northeastern. Eh, doesn't matter, it's football.

9th Planet Lost

So that's what all that August 22nd hullabaloo was about. Folks thought it was going to be a nuke in Tel Aviv, but in actuality they took out an entire planet. Fiends!

fn1. I mean, are we sure the International Astronomical Union isn't an Iranian front?

We\'re #1!

And by we, I mean us Virginians :)

And by #1, I mean #1 in Forbes Magazine's first ever ranking of Best States for Business.

The oldest state in the Union strikes again! (Delaware can bite me with that 'first state' nonsense.)

George Will does the Lord\'s work

I second Gene Healy's praise of George Will's latest column in his ongoing and principled break with the Bush administration's unconservatism. Read more »

Miracles of modern science

For the prevention of vice, and promotion of virtue

Will Wilkinson weighs in: Read more »

Analytical Vice

Interesting discussion on analytical vices, libertarian and otherwise, started by one of the blogosphere's leading suppliers of public goods, Tyler Cowen-

Tyler starts things off by claiming that a libertarian analytical vice is to assume that the quality of government is fixed and thus reduce all arguments to (fixed) government quality vs. market solution quality.

Henry Farrell at Crooked Timber responds with a mention of Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, saying that allowing exit (in his view, analagous to the market) undermines political voice (by letting dissidents flee instead of being forced to be rabble rousers at home).

Called out by Tyler in his post as an example of the vice in action, Glen Whitman responds by saying that government quality is not a fixed point, its analagous to thinking of government quality as a bell curve distribution that, on the right tail beats some market outcomes, but has a mean quality lower than market outcomes (defined by Glen as "any solution not governmental").

Back at home, Alex Tabarrok counters by saying not only is Tyler wrong, but he's 180 degrees wrong- libertarian analysis has been primarily aimed at improving government quality, and is not about assuming one static level of governmental quality or even one static distribution of governmental quality. And, not only has libertarian analysis been mostly about improving governmental quality, its been a phenomenal success. Read more »

Arnold Kling is wrong, by the way

Lest anyone keep getting the wrong idea, let's set a few things straight. Arnold's post goes way too far by conflating the Islamist terror threat with all muslims and Islam. I do not support the idea that muslims per se are a threat, that islam by nature is violent and a death cult, nor do I support the idea that an entire religion's adherents should be generally disarmed or otherwise made a permanent underclass as part of a strategy for peace.

My objections to the nature of prior objections to Arnold aside, let me now address Arnold directly. As Baylen Linneken pointed out politely in response to a testy comment I made, what good points Arnold could have made were, if not invalidated, certainly overshadowed and defeated by the over-the-top conflation in two paragraphs- "Disarm Muslims" and "Winning Hearts and Minds?"

Prior to "Disarm Muslims," Arnold states the plain truth that "Today in reality, Islam contains a fanatical religious cult whose chief warrior seeks nuclear weapons." Which is fine, because yes, there is a fanatic death cult within Islam that is a threat to the world. The problem is that his answer to this is akin to the TSA's approach to
airline security- disarm *all* muslims, wherever and whoever. Read more »