damnum absque injuria

October 30, 2009

General Mills, Graduate Management Admission Council, What’s the Diff?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:40 pm

Ed Morrissey confuses GM with GMAC. Lame.

Dude, There Went Your Recession?

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 5:04 pm

Matt Drudge links to a Yahoo! article noting that after only four consecutive quarters of negative growth, we’ve finally had one whole quarter in which growth was positive. As is his wont, Drudge
throws in a misleading headline of his own that goes far beyond anything stated in the linked article. In this case, the heading is “Economy grows in Q3, unofficially ends recession…” Apparently, for Drudge, it takes two consecutive quarters of recession before the recession really counts as a recession, but only one consecutive quarter of non-recession to end it. Really?

I hereby declare Matt Drudge an idiot. Unofficially, of course.

Twitter is Evil

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:04 am

The Bloggess (h/t: Robb Alllen) has the proof. Meanwhile, I’d like a little grammatical help from you, the reader. Which of the following is the most appropriate past tense for tweet?

  1. twate
  2. twote
  3. tweeten
  4. twitten
  5. tweetered
  6. [Censored]
  7. Other (specify)

October 24, 2009

Saving Marriage

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 7:34 pm

Ed Morrissey whines but I say heh. One side of me almost hopes this initiative passes. Yes, I really do hate California that much.

Sorry, Greensboro

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 11:04 am

If there’s one thing worse than winning second place in a beauty contest, is placing fourth ugly pageant. TotalBeauty.com compiles statistics on education, exercise habits, smoking rates, sales of contraceptives, etc. and concludes there is less sex going on there than in any other city except Miami (!), Hagerstown, MD, and El Paso. This methodology is questionable. For one thing, some contraceptive purchases are unduly optimistic. For another, controlling for contraceptive purchases but not birth and abortion rates only indicates the rate of “safe” sex going on, not necessarily the rate of any kind of sex. Maybe Greensboro residents are less likely to take precautions? Or maybe they take silly “precautions” like Glenn Reynolds’s infamous “pull-out” method, which allegedly works just as well as the “use a broken condom” method but is significantly less effective than the “don’t stick it in there in the first place” method TotalBeauty assumes everyone is using instead. Similar problems may exist with Greensboro’s “bad teeth” rating; does fewer visits to the dentist really mean the teeth are worse, or coudl it mean they are healthier and fewer visits to the dentist are needed? And how do smoking rates tell us anything about nookie? It’s not as though we have some way of tracking which individual cigarettes are smoked after sex and which ones prevent sex from occurring in the first place by making the smoker smell like an ashtray.

And last but by no means least, how on earth do they reach the conclusion that “no sex generally equals less hot guys?” Are they suggesting that only men make up the obesity, smoking, bad teeth rates, etc., or that men find these traits attractive (or at least neutral) in women? Or do they think women will only do hot guys, while men will [censored] anything that moves? If anything, I think the opposite is true, looks-wise. I see ugly guys with hot women every day. When was the last time you saw the reverse? While TotalBeauty may claim to be “trusted” by 12 million women, one wonders whether such trust may be misplaced. After all, if their metrics really do measure ugliness effectively, but the ugliness ratio applies to both sexes equally, a high ugliness rate should not deter a reasonably attractive, non-uglyphilic member of either sex from seeking love in Greensboro. All it means is you won’t find as many attractive individuals to chase, but you’ll also face that much less competition over the attractive individuals you do find. In other words, a wash.

This is the point in the post where I would normally toss in a snarky remarky about Winston-Salem not being in Greensboro (even if Sitemeter can’t tell the difference), but author of the article has done it for me:

Winston-Salem got by unscathed, either because we’re so much lovelier on this side of the county line or because folks in Santa Monica, Calif., (where TotalBeauty’s editorial board is based, near as we can tell) don’t realize there’s more than one city in North Carolina.

October 20, 2009

Why We Need Socialized Medicine

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 10:38 pm

Because private carriers sometimes … um … deny claims.

October 19, 2009

Doing vs. Inducing

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:42 pm

My post on tortious interference with contract vs. alienation of affection led to an interesting discussion, but not really the one I was aiming for here, so let’s try one more time, taking this to a more abstract level. This is NOT about whether you support or oppose alienation of affection laws. If you want to weigh in on that issue, feel free to do so here, here or here (though if you do, know that A of A does not require the defendant to be romantically involved with a married person; anyone who encourages anyone else to divorce a third party is potentially liable). Setting aside the specific topics of divorce and breach of contract per se, is there any other X for which it can reasonably said that either:

  1. It is morally acceptable to X, but morally unacceptable to encourage others to X; or
  2. It is morally unacceptable to X, but worse to encourage others to X.

And if the answer to either #1 or #2 is “yes,” I’d really, really like to know why.

Bonus question: is there any other area of law apart from divorce and breach of contract, where either of the above principles is public policy? For example, does any state impose a stiffer penalty on those who suborn perjury than on those who commit it themselves? Punish the person who solicited a murder with death while the person who actually carries it out can only get life? Etc. The only other examples I can think of are drugs and prostitution. The former rests on the mildly paternalistic but perhaps defensible view that people who throw good money at a a bad habit don’t know what they’re doing, while those who profit from this bad habit do. The latter rests on the equally paternalistic, but fundamentally much sillier, notion that people who throw good money at a different bad habit do know what they’re doing, while those who manage to profit off that bad habit somehow don’t. Or is there some other, less ridiculous rationale for this disparate treatment that I’m missing?

October 18, 2009

Tortious Interference With Contract

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 8:57 am

I’ve bitched about alienation of affection laws in the past, both because I think any emotional harm of seeing one’s ex move on with his/her life should be damnum absque injuria and, more importantly, because to the extent there is a compensable harm in there, the person primarily responsible ought to be the offending spouse who violated his own wedding vows, not the (relatively) innocent third party who never took any to begin with. In an alienation of affection state, leaving your spouse is not a tort, but encouraging someone else to do so. That makes no sense to me whatsoever.

But this post is not about alienation of affection laws, at least not primarily. In the last A of A discussion, Phelps raised an interesting point about tortious interference with contract, a business tort which rests on a similar premise. As with alienation of affection laws, tortious interference with contract rests on the theory that while X (in this case, breach of contract) is itself not a tort, inducing another person to X may well be. While the overwhelming majority of states have abolished alienation of affection, and even North Carolina has recently scaled them down a bit, I’m not aware of a single state that has done so for its business counterpart. This means that in most states, you can can sue a business for “maliciously” stealing your business partners but not for stealing your wife. Can anyone justify that? If anything, I think it would make more sense to split the baby the other way, on the theory that marriage deserves protections above and beyond those applicable to ordinary contracts. What say you?

October 16, 2009

Drugs Are Bad

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 2:34 pm

Professor Louisa Degenhardt of the University of New South Wales has conducted a study determining that Australia, New Zealand and North America are the countries that consume the most pot. The study does not, however, say how much pot one must consume to think North America is a country.

October 8, 2009

Holy Crap

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 9:39 am

The Los Angeles Times has weighed in against Chicago’s unconstitutional handgun ban. Odder still, they are doing so for basically the right reason: exempting cities and states from one inconvenient constitutional right would open the door to losing the rest. Is anyone whose last name isn’t Daley or Sotomayor actually supporting Chicago’s position in this case?


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