1. This is why I'm against official news publications that don't use bylines (I know, a bit hypocritical, but I don't claim to be offering news or facts, just non-expert analysis).
I think these non-bylined "AP" stories are often ways of promoting mythologies, in ways that would be undermined if it could be attached to an individual to affect our valuation of their credibility and biases.
This particular story seems to me to be a powderpuff reprint of a press release. What do we need the "AP" for? Why can't it just say whitehouse.gov?
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Barack Obama
considers Tom Daschle's tax troubles to be a "very serious"
matter. But the president's spokesman says Daschle remains the
right person to lead the Health and Human Services Department.
Daschle expressed remorse on Monday about failing to pay more
than $120,000 in back taxes. And Obama says he "absolutely"
stands by him.
But White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that Daschle
had made a "serious mistake" that he then fixed. Gibbs said the
White House is "not insensitive" to the news of the unpaid taxes
by a potential Cabinet secretary.
Gibbs said that if Daschle is confirmed he will closely follow
the ethical guidelines and rules of the administration.
2. Recommendation from Anonym, an occupant of overcomingbias comment threads, on a good introductory book on probability and statistics
3. Response to recent TGGP comment:
We agree that regulation is about rules. Although the omission of a rule is a de facto rule, too (here perhaps paternalists and libertarians part ways?)
In that sense I think paternalists are more honest about comission/omission bias.
If one's goal is to reduce existential risk, for example, it makes sense to balance rules that increase or decrease existential risk with omissions of rules that result in existential risk at a certain amount.
However, the more libertarian one is, the more one may be concerned selectively about rules that increase existential risk.
I think here I'm more in Professor Sunstein's camp, butressed by research of people like Professor Ariely -I care more about outcomes than I do about reduction of rules. Reduction of rules seems to me to be a weak or sometimes negative or uncorrelated measure of outcomes.
Although I don't care much about liberty as an end in itself, it seems to me the empirical evidence strongly suggests that functional liberty for many people involves a certain level of paternalism -they don't experience a complete lack of paternal regulation over their own behavior as "liberating".
That's why I like opt-out paternalism (grounded in empiricism) better than libertarianism.
But I'm open to what the best evidence and expert analysis indicates will maximize my persistence odds.