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Monday, January 25, 2010
The Dreams Of Children
Hmm, I dunno.

Via Andrew Sullivan's blog, we get this report on the dreams of small children:

Preschoolers’ dreams are often static and plain, such as seeing an animal or thinking about eating. There are no characters that move, no social interactions, little feeling, and they do not include the dreamer as an active character...Preschoolers do not report fear in dreams, and there are few aggressions, misfortunes and negative emotions. Children who have night terrors, in which they awaken early during the night from SWS [slow-wave sleep] and display intense fear and agitation, are probably terrorized by disorientation owing to incomplete awakening rather than by a dream. Thus, although children of age 2–5 years can see and speak of everyday people, objects and events, they apparently cannot dream of them.

When I read this I thought back on the sorts of dreams I'd had as a pre-schooler. They certainly didn't seem static or plain. Often, these dreams were filled with the anxieties common to children trying to make sense of an unfamiliar world. Of course, it's difficult to judge the age at which your childhood nightmares occurred. So, I thought, maybe I've got it wrong. Maybe children really do have very static, very plain dreams.

A few hours later my five-year-old daughter told me of a nightmare she'd had the previous evening. In the dream, she said, a bad man had taken over the world. He had filled all the holes in the world with snakes, and had covered all the oceans with plastic, so that the fish couldn't breathe.

Okay, I thought. That's pretty intense, for a five year old. Or for anybody, really.

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Republicans: Obama Isn't Acting Like A Grown-Up, He Was Born In Kenya And He's Probably The Antichrist

There exists in the mainstream media a very persistent notion that the lack of bipartisanship in Washington is entirely the fault of the Democrats. The Republicans would like to make a deal, this theory goes, they really and truly would, but the Democrats have been so arrogant and so unreasonable that it simply hasn't been possible. But now that Scott Brown has won the Senate election in Massachusetts, maybe Reid and Pelosi and The One will come to their senses and starting acting like grown-ups.

E.D. Kain of the Ordinary Gentlemen blog lays it all out for us:

And yes, even though it may cause healthcare reform to die in its tracks, I still think that the right person won in Massachusetts. I also think that there are ways the Democrats could scale back reform and get some conservatives on board with a much more modest, more market-friendly reform that still helps a lot of people who need help.

Earth to E.D. Kain: the health care reform bill in the Senate was modest and market-friendly. It was not socialized medicine. It was not a single-payer system. It didn't even include a public option. It was about the most anemic excuse for "reform" ever to come out of Washington -- and that's saying something.

Does Kain really believe the Republicans would have voted for a more modest bill?

Kain and his fellow Republicans claim that they are not advocating obstructionism except as a way to protect the Constitution from the machinations of Obama and his socialist agenda.

So let's put that idea to the test.

Here's what I propose: let's go through the Constitution, line by line, and look for the word "filibuster". If the Constitution doesn't provide for it, it doesn't exist, so our strict-constructionist friends on the right claim. So maybe we can dispense with this nonsense that a supermajority is required to pass legislation in the Senate.

Friday, January 08, 2010
Go Ahead And Laugh At Charles Murray, America! YOU'RE NEXT!

Via Matt Yglesias, AEI's Charles Murray adds his two cents to the tiresome right-wing "Eurabia" meme:

Last night, having been struck by how polyglot Paris has become, I collected data as I walked along, counting people who looked like native French (which probably added in a few Brits and other Europeans) versus everyone else. I can’t vouch for the representativeness of the sample, but at about eight o’clock last night in the St. Denis area of Paris, it worked out to about 50-50, with the non-native French half consisting, in order of proportion, of African blacks, Middle-Eastern types, and East Asians.

Ah, the "native" vs. "non-native" French.

Setting aside the un-self-conscious racism and the paranoid implications (you're next, America!) the really weird thing is Murray's lazy-ass research methods. He starts doing a head-count of ethnic groups while walking down the street? And assumes that everyone he sees lives in Paris, and isn't a tourist? And further assumes that all the whites he sees are native-born, while all non-whites are immigrants?

And is it possible that Murray's sample wasn't exactly random? It is possible he decided to begin his head count at a moment in which he was struck by the multi-ethnic crowd he found himself in, because that would assist him in making the case he and his cohorts are always making -- that Europe has fallen to the Muslim hordes, and that America is the last bulwark against their insidious campaign of cultural assimilation?

I have to assume that the French government conducts a periodic census, and that the information Murray is looking for could easily be obtained by, you know, looking it up.

But really, where's the fun in that?

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