Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Small Bites

Human migration out of Africa may have been in two waves

"Modern humans are known to have left Africa in a wave of migration around 50,000 years ago, but another, smaller group -- possibly a different subspecies -- left the continent 50,000 years earlier, suggests a new study. "


Free Press Stiffled at UN

Well, no kidding. The UN is not a democracy or a republic. Its a bureaucracy composed mostly of various tyrannies and their sycophants.


Gun-Rights Showdown

"Significantly, then, both sides in Heller are making only originalist arguments. The challengers of the law contend that the original meaning of the Second Amendment protects an individual "right to keep and bear arms" that "shall not be infringed." In response, the District does not contend that this right is outmoded and that the Second Amendment should now be reinterpreted in light of changing social conditions. Not at all. It contends instead that, because the original intention of the Framers of the Second Amendment was to protect the continued existence of "a well regulated militia," the right it protects was limited to the militia context."

"So one thing is certain. Whoever prevails, Heller will be an originalist decision. This shows that originalism remains the proper method of identifying the meaning of the Constitution."

This is significant. At least the "Living Constitution" arguement is not being put forward. Probably because the "Living Constitution" arguement is nonsense that only impresses ignoramuses at cocktail parties.

For two centuries, it was obvious to everyone that the Second Ammendment was an individual right. This view of the Second ammendment was unchallanged for all that time, and the resulting LACK of rulings to set the precedent on the obvious is actually a problem now. Its only been in the last couple generations when anti-gun agitators have claimed that the second ammendement is a 'collective right', a risable claim that should have been rejected outright. The body of evidence about the Founders intent and meaning of the Constitution leave no doubt as to their meaning. You can't tell that to lawyers. Lawyers care about rulings from courts. While the First Ammendment has been again and again, no such body of rulings girds the Second, and law schools have been teaching BS about the Second for decades now.


A Nation of Givers

Questions and answers, comparing American charitable giving to others.

Money quote:

Q. Why shouldn’t the government expand to cover our current charitable giving through taxes, as is done in Europe?

A. First, there is evidence that giving makes people happy. A number of studies have concluded that giving affects our brain chemistry. People who give often report feelings of euphoria, which psychologists have referred to as the “Helper’s High.” They believe that charitable activity induces endorphins that produce a very mild version of the sensations people get from drugs like morphine and heroin.

Second, there is evidence that private giving is implicated in economic growth. Per-capita charity and per-capita GDP in America have moved together over the years. Evidence that the two forces cause each other comes from an analysis of how past values of one variable affect future values of the other. This analysis shows that a 10 percent increase in current GDP per American would lead to a 9 percent rise in charitable giving. At the same time, a 10 percent increase in giving per person would provoke a 3 percent increase in GDP. Given the size of our economy, this means $1 given privately would increase GDP by about $15.

In sum, if we substituted our private charitable giving for government redistributive programs, we would pay a price in terms of economic growth, personal prosperity, and even happiness. Charitable giving should be seen not just as a nice detail about American life, and even less as a mere tax deduction. It should be seen as a national priority.

Emphais mine. Charity belongs at home, at the discretion of the individual. I feel the need to repeat the quote I posted yesterday:

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." - James Madison

That was fun, lets have another:

"That government is best which governs least." - Thomas Paine