• Oliver Stone’s Bookmarks – After being profiled the recent Chronicle of Higher Education cover story "Professors of Paranoia?"  leading 9/11 conspiracy theorist Steven E. Jones has launched the Journal of 9/11 Studies, which is billed as "a peer-reviewed, open-access, electronic-only journal covering the whole  of research relating to 9/11/2001." Articles from the premiere issue include Frank Legge’s "9/11 – Evidence for Controlled Demolition: a Short List of Observations" and "The Flying Elephant: Evidence for the Involvement of a Third Jet in the WTC Attacks," by an English prof named Dixon Reynolds.  Time being finite,  I see little reason to waste my hours poring over the technical arguments raised by these fringe academics, which of course is not to suggest that their arguments can or should be dismissed out of hand.  In a perfect world, I suppose the grassy knoll speculation about controlled demolition and government complicity could be put to rest by a blockbuster episode of Mythbusters, but until Adam and Jamie are blessed with a multi-billion dollar production budget, your best bet for informed skepticism is probably 911Myths.com.

Time to start drinking.

Two Cheers for Peter Singer

Peter Singer, the esteemed utilitarian expositor of  animal liberation and euthanistic infanticide, has proffered a qualified defense of bonafide thought criminal, David Irving, who continues to while away his hours in an Austrian jail cell

Singer’s essay is parsed with the requisite caveats,  but it comes down to this:

…even while the protests about the [Danish] cartoons were still underway, a new
problem about convincing Muslims of the genuineness of our respect for
freedom of expression has arisen because of Austria’s conviction and
imprisonment of David Irving for denying the existence of the
Holocaust. We cannot consistently hold that it should be a criminal
offense to deny the existence of the Holocaust and that cartoonists
have a right to mock religious figures. David Irving should be freed.

For more on the ongoing censorship and persecution of dissident Holocaust historians (a widespread phenomenon to which the Irving case is but a high-profile footnote), forget everything you know and check out the archive at Historians Behind Bars, especially this important and overlooked overview.   

It’s worse than you think.

Race, Crime, Punishment, and Unintended Consequences

The mysterious underground statistician known as La Griffe du Lion flexes his super-numerate cerebra in explication of the empirical realities
lurking behind the widely publicized racial disparities of America’s
prison population.  The equations are birdscratch to me, but the
central explanandum stems from the ironic finding that "contrary to
expectation, the
highest disparity ratios turned up mostly in politically progressive
while the smallest ratios were mostly found in conservative

La Griffe’s conclusion?

…variations of disparity ratios among the states are well described by a
model in which racial groups have characteristic, geography-invariant,
Gaussian distributions of criminality. Incarceration data for the fifty
states and the District of Columbia have been made to yield criminality
distributions for both whites and blacks. The model predicts the
disparity paradox, showing it to be the unintended result of setting
high incarceration thresholds.

other words, more liberal incarceration policies tend to exascerbate
the very inequalities they’re ostensibly devised to correct.  And this
isn’t merely a statistical artifact, but a predictable consequence
informed by underlying racial differences in criminality. 

Tune in your left brain and read it twice.  You’ll see.

Time and Money

Apologies for the light posting of late. There’s a slow-simmering vat of reliably irresponsible crimethink on the back burner, so if you’ve been brooding over Stalin’s abandoned plot to breed a caste of semi-simian warriors; or if you’re given to speculate about the gratuitous permutations of contempory horror cinema; or, if you’ve been searching in vain for a libertarian argument against procreation, The Hog, once again, begs your patience.