What We Missed.

Gabriel Arana on redefining marriage.

Turns out several of the women in the Long Island body dump case were sex workers.

Paul Krugman on the right-wing fight against logic.

Tracing the trend to curb abortion nation-wide. Scary. Shit.

Courtney’s newest and as usual must-read piece at the Prospect on the necessary discomfort in a time of nationalistic rhetoric.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    The Prospect article seems draw attention to details that really aren’t relevant to the points, but in an attempt to extract what I can glean from it (which is through a filter built on quite a lot of existing information), here is what I take:

    *) Don’t get (emotionally) manipulated or buy into bullshit reasoning. Keep a clear head.

    *) Outcomes cannot be neatly categorized as “successes” and “failures.” Unless your criteria for success is unambiguous, such classification tend to be muddled in shades of gray. If the number of murders per year in your city over 10 years decreases from 100 to 60, is this change a “success,” or is it still unacceptable for being more than 50, 20, 5, or 0?

    *) I don’t know if it was ever clearly articulated in the article, but people tend to have their own criteria for success. Sometimes such criteria can be blatantly self-serving, but it can also arise from more reasonable differences of opinion.

    *) Even when you have clear criteria for success and failure, success may be assured through multiple outcomes, or no successful outcome may be possible. Not recognizing the latter allows people to take an unsuccessful outcome and turn it into something worse.

    *) To the point above, we do not always know the consequences of our actions. Just like with gambling, there is risk, and while we may be able to accurately estimate the odds of different outcomes, we don’t know which outcome we will necessarily get. When you operate under a one percent doctrine, you allow that you could be wrong up to 99% of the time… even when you apply accurate estimates.

    *) It does not seem to be clearly articulated in the article, but sometimes politicians/leaders pose an issue through a false dichotomy, that there are only two choices. You often have more choices than two, and there may be other dimensions worth exploring.

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