1. I highly recommend the latest blogging heads with Rehein Salaam (may be mispelled, the Atlantic editor) and Anne Marie Cox (also may be mispelled). What was especially valuable was their articulation of the ironic left and right, vs. the earnest left and right.
2. How corrupt is Richard Daley, the center of the Chicago/Illinois political machine?
3. Bloomberg willing to pay $80 million on the next mayoral election? A disgusting announcement to try to scare away equally competent competition. NYC should be an administrative training ground for young talent on their way to being NY governor and then vying for president. What a waste to have Bloomberg in there for a 3rd term. He should be moving up (running for Governor) or moving out.
4. I notice Kennedys never seem to give up their Senate seats, except if they're assasinated or they become President (this should NOT be construed as an unlawful incitement to any type of violence or lawbreaking).
5. I jotted down the question "Is telescopic philanthropy the most efficient way to solve irrational philanthropy?" but I'm not sure what I meant at the time. Now that I think about it, I think I meant that it may sate the emotion-based philanthropic desire most efficiently -kind of like the Atkins diet approach to food. If you're going to irrationally give based on whatever sways you to pity or a maudlin state, maybe its best to sate the urge with the most extreme triggers of that state. This isn't a strong thesis on my part, more of a question, which can probably be tested empirically.
6. The myth of the existing rational explanation. I think of that most prominently with a lot of Eliezer's writings. One notices that "the rational explanation" to an unexplained phenomenon often precedes even a somewhat correct rational explanation. I thought of this watching the classic movie "Dead of Night" -the character, clearly modeled on Freud and predicting Kissinger, posits a rational explanation as a matter of faith and narrative to all matter of things, even though he himself exists as a construct in the protagonists irrational dream. Although the movie was fiction, the phenomenon seems very real in my observation. I don't think this is a new insight on my part, but I think it's something not kept visible enough in popular and even intellectual discourse.
7. Anything to avoid a smotherocracy? I'd like to see an excavation of the males behind the construction of Obama as a challenger to Hillary Clinton. It seems in my observation that he was built up as a challenger to her when she was the democratic front-runner, and that the motivation was fear of a female head of state in the world's leading power. I think a lot of the classic feminist and post-feminist talk of men fearing smothering/mothering power of women has resonance here. It would be good to go back and track the news and origins of the Obama build up from book tour to "run while you're hot, you may not be hot in 4 years".
8. It's notable that the Chinese seem to be a bit more rational in some aspects of applying the death penalty than the Americans. It seems a lot more rational and respectful of human life to apply the death penalty for massive fraud, as the Chinese do, then to limit it to someone who kills a couple people, and then to try to extend it to child rapists, as Americans have been doing. However, to take it further, might it make sense to put social networks that cause massive fraud and waste to death? Although perhaps to kill a social network, one doesn't have to kill any of the members. One could do it with a series of restraining orders and injunctions against contact with the members, borrowing from existing contract and tort law.
9. A version of the theory from that guy that thinks nuclear proliferation spreads peace: a "nobody has the balls" theory of how one can use a limited number of nukes to ensure world peace. The theory is that any state or organized network logistically advanced enough to engage in terrorist attacks that cause fear to millions of people will be socially networked enough not to have the balls to kill 1 million people. So, 1 million people of the type that volunteered to be "human shields" during the Iraq war create a city state an live directly on a nuclear bomb. They then give the "button" to every rougue state and significant terrorist network. The idea is that none of them will have the balls to blow up these million people, which may change their perceptions and behavior. They may be disinclined to engage in terrorist to kill 100 innocents when they are made self-aware that they don't have the balls, despite the ability, to kill 1 million people. I don't know if this will work, but it might be simulatable. I'd like to see the theory explored further and more rigorously.