The Jeffersonian

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"Lee died in the service of his country."

“Lee died in the service of his country.”

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. ~ Maya Angelou

That goes for institutions as well as people. When a person or an institution reveals something that makes you think, “That can’t possibly be true,” don’t think that if you overlook it, the truth will go away. It won’t.

I’d like to apply this insight to the way our government treated Lee Oswald. Lee’s mother,…

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Don’t try to wish war away

Don’t try to wish war away

Russia invaded Ukraine yesterday. What was the headline in Reuters? Ukrainian prime minister Poroshenko accuses Russia of invading Ukraine. The US and EU still do not want to acknowledge what has been true since Russia invaded Crimea: Ukraine and Russia are at war. We still talk about separatists and Russian troop movements, but we can’t speak about the truth: Russia wants at least eastern…

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Like for like

If someone shoots a tear gas canister at you, throw it back. Use the state’s own weapons against it.

When did it become alright in our country to use gas to disperse non-violent protesters? Who will demonstrate that this kind of police behavior is not okay? Edward Crawford shows us what we need to do. Turn the state’s own power back on itself, and exploit its weaknesses. That is how we citizens…

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Can I?

Brother, can you spare a laparoscopic power morcellator?

Brother, can you spare a laparoscopic power morcellator?

Here are some thoughts related to Johnson & Johnson’s decision to stop selling its power morcellator, long after the FDA approved it to remove fibroid tissue inside a woman’s uterus, because evidence indicated it could spread cancer in women.

Laparascopic power morcellator.

Power morcellator, closeup.

We recognize a general tradeoff between innovation and regulation. That is, we are usually…

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May I have a permission slip?

We have a fairly new phrase to add to our political vocabulary. In addition to the surveillance state, we also have the permission state.

May I have a permission slip?

We have a fairly new phrase to add to our political vocabulary. In addition to the surveillance state, we also have the permission state.

When war comes to your village

When war comes to your village

A long time ago in graduate school I worked as a teaching assistant for a professor named Lane Davis. I handled the discussion groups for his introductory class in politics. For that class, we would read pieces of the canon, such as the Melian dialogue in Thucydides’ History of the Pelopponesian War, and Socrates’ famous dialogue with Thrasymachus in The Republic about the meaning of justice.

Aft…

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Aug 9

Our foreign policy reeks of impotence and dishonesty

Our foreign policy reeks of impotence and dishonesty

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, [and humanitarian aid].

Let’s parse the latest from the White House. What are targeted air strikes? I guess those are different from untargeted air strikes, like the ones we conducted for years in Afghanistan, where we mistakenly murdered people at weddings and funerals.…

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Aug 5

Science and money: competing elements of 9/11’s aftermath

Science and money: competing elements of 9/11’s aftermath

What is the purpose of science? What is the purpose of scientific reasoning? The purpose of the whole enterprise – the logic, the testing, the evaluation of evidence – is to make the inexplicable, explicable. Before science, existed magic, superstition, and we have to admit it, religion. Before science, the sun – the source of life on our planet – had no rational explanation. We did not know why…

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No apologies, no condolences

No apologies, no condolences

Putin and company mounted their usual round of lies and accusations after Russians in eastern Ukraine shot down MH17 last week. How do we let them get away with this kind of thing, evading responsibility with relative ease? While we engage in quasi-legal proposals and expressions of concern about securing the crime scene, conducting an international investigation, and tampering with evidence –…

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