Monthly Archives: December 2005

an aesthetic question

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Why does a distant mountain often look beautiful? It is a simple shape, maybe an inch high if you look at it next to your hand–not unlike a mound of grass-covered earth that’s a few feet away, … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy | Leave a comment


Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0For every law passed by Congress, executive branch agencies write some 25 regulations. All proposed regulations are now being presented on one site––built under a very handome contract from OMB. The potential advantages of bringing the regulatory … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Schelling’s Nobel speech

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Our colleague Tom Schelling received the Nobel Prize on Saturday, so many of us in the Maryland School of Public Policy gathered in our common space this morning to watch the ceremony. Schelling’s speech was a forcefully … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

a political strategy

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0At a meeting earlier this week, a colleague proposed a political strategy that I will summarize here, even though I find the implications at least somewhat disturbing. He said that if you want to change educational policies, … Continue reading

Posted in advocating civic education | 2 Comments

what’s wrong with torture?

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0For anyone who wonders why torture is wrong, an excellent argument can be found in David Luban’s “Liberalism, Torture, and the Ticking Bomb,” Virginia Law Review, vol. 91 (Oct. 2005), pp. 1425ff. Here I’ll paraphrase a central … Continue reading

Posted in The Middle East | 3 Comments


Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0Yesterday, 6:00 am: In a dark house with a sleeping family, unable to rest myself, I’m working on a proposal to the National Science Foundation. 8:30 am: The Metro train is jammed because everyone is large in … Continue reading

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on McCain in ’08

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0The other candidates, including all the Democrats, are going to have to show why they’re preferable to John McCain in 2008. McCain takes positions to my right on certain issues, notably abortion. However, I am not yet … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments


Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0For one free annual subscription to this blog, what is wrong with the following passage from a front-page article in the Sunday New York Times? “Mr. Vald?z, a k a La Barbie, does not look like a … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

effects of faculty ideology

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0In the debate about the alleged liberal bias of universities, some people say that it doesn’t make any difference if most professors are left-of-center, because most of their students soon become moderates or conservatives. In other words, … Continue reading

Posted in academia | 4 Comments

“privatizing the neighborhood”

Facebook0 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 0In several books and articles, my colleague Bob Nelson has made an interesting proposal that he neatly summarizes in a new Forbes Magazine column (Robert H. Nelson, “Privatizing the Inner City,” Dec. 12). I would rephrase his … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment