Now that Elon Musk owns Twitter, the time has come to shape how the platform will move forward to meet his goal of it being a public forum that is free from algorithmic manipulation, bias, and meets the spirit of of freedom of speech. But, as the first week has come and gone, it hasn’t been without controversy and a little backtracking.

How can Musk take the platform to its next stage while meeting his philosophical goals, but not allow it to completely fall apart? I have some thoughts and ideas, stemming from my own past as a community admin.

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I see a lot of commentary these days from liberals regarding the “globalism” boogeyman. I don’t get what’s so bad about countries competing to attract business to themselves. This even happens within a country. For example, in the U.S. Texas or Florida might attract businesses from Connecticut. There have actually been some high-profile wooing from both states toward CT businesses in the past several years. I’ve seen some snark and some grumbling about it, but never the same level of concern that “globalism” brings out.

Perhaps what is most concerning to these folks is that it’s easier for businesses to move than it is for people to move. This is even true within the U.S., though the obstacles for it are fewer. To move countries requires a lot more time, documentation, and money. It’s one thing to take a vacation in Europe for a while – an activity for which U.S. citizens have arguably the easiest of times – but it’s much more difficult to move countries on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.

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So today the road in front of my house was full of police.  No, they weren’t there to investigate a crime.  Well, sort of, but more in a minute.  However, the crime wasn’t one of murder or even robbery.  No, the police were there to look out for cars, and specifically, drivers in those cars.  What kind of drivers?

Those not wearing seatbelts and those using cell phones while driving, of course.

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I just finished reading Michael van der Galien’s article at Poligazette [ed: removed dead link] and at Hot Air’s Green Room on the Obama administration’s plans to spend over $100 billion from the stimulus bill on education reform.  I’ve also read Andrew J. Rotherham’s article at US News where he suggests the efforts the administration are putting forth are not enough:

The recent economic stimulus bill contains more than $100 billon in education spending, a historic investment equal to about 16 percent of the nation’s annual expenditures on public elementary and secondary schools. In exchange, states are required to report more information about student performance and make “assurances” that they will work to improve schools. However, the law requires little in the way of actual changes.

Michael criticizes Rotherham:

Rothberg [sic] does not actually offer a solution – that would be taking responsibility and that is of course above the good man – but he implies that more government interference is the answer. […]

[…] not more money nor government interference but less of both is needed to improve American schools. They suffer not from too little money and too few checks, but from a tremendous lack of competition. It has to become easier for parents to send their children to private schools: this will help those students receive a better education, and research shows it helps the public school they left behind improve as well, because teachers feel pressure to improve the quality of their work if they want to keep their students (and they do).

I agree with Rotherham that the bill doesn’t do enough to make actual reforms.  It’s basically a continuation of No Child Left Behind.  Money while collecting information does little to actually change anything.

However, I also agree with Michael that Rotherham doesn’t suggest any solutions himself.  Conversely, I disagree with Michael that school choice is the ultimate solution to the education problem.  The problems with education in America are multi-pronged and will require a multi-pronged solution of which school choice is just one part.

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(Cross-posted from Poligazette)

Liberals are shocked!  Shocked, I tell you.  Why?  Well, a recent Supreme Court concurring opinion to a ruling that will allow patients to sue drug companies for injuries related to the drugs was written by none other than Clarence Thomas, that avowedly conservative justice.

Of course, without even having to read his opinion, this LA Times article tells you all you need to know about why Thomas supported the right to sue.  In short, he supports state law:

Four years ago, for example, the court, with Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony M. Kennedy in the majority, upheld the power of federal agents to raid the homes of Californians who grow marijuana for their personal use — legal under state law but not federal law. Thomas disagreed. […]

“If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything,” Thomas wrote in dissent. ” . . . Our federalist system, properly understood, allows California and a growing number of other states to decide for themselves how to safeguard the health and welfare of their citizens.”

Basically, Thomas is a federalist, a supporter of limited federal government interference into state affairs.  So, knowing this, his concurrence with the majority isn’t so surprising.

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I’m so glad the Catholic Church has got its priorities straight here.

A nine year old girl from Brazil was raped by her father and became pregnant as a result.  The mother opted for an abortion at 15 weeks as her doctors believed her life to be in danger.  Then the church steps in and excommunicates the mother and the doctors.

While I understand the Church’s position on abortion, I just can’t agree with them here.  Instead of excommunicating them, perhaps the church should have praised the mother for saving the life of her nine year old daughter.

Of course, this poses another question: What exactly are they putting in the water that a nine-year-old can even get pregnant?  I remember when everyone was going wild about 12 year olds developing faster than they used to.  A nine year old shouldn’t ever have to worry about the distinct possibility of becoming pregnant.

This article was cross-posted from Poligazette.

In the past, I’ve written about ‘militant atheists,” or those type of atheists who spend their time ridiculing and disrespecting believers for their beliefs.  But, I’ve also taken pains to point out that not all atheists are this way.  Not all of them going around laughing at Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc. for belief in a deity.  Some are content to “live and let live.”  Freddie DeBoer, an atheist of the non-militant flavor, ponders the motives behind his more vocal comrades:

I’m left with three possibilities when I consider the atheism of disrespect. Either people like Richard Dawkins, PZ Meyers, Bill Maher, and assorted don’t know that the way they are confronting these issues is disrespectful, in which case they are tone deaf to a frankly absurd degree; or they think that, tactically, the way to get the kind of change they say they want is to ridicule people into believing as they do, in which case they have a dramatically underdeveloped understanding of human psychology and sociology; or they are more interested in producing ridicule than in producing change.

Freddie goes on to say that he really would like to wish that the third choice wasn’t reality.  But, I doubt number one is, since people like Dawkins are far too smart to be unaware of what they’re doing.

(H/T Andrew Sullivan)

This article was originally posted on Poligazette.

Watching CSI: Miami on Monday, I was intrigued by a question: Do state mandated safety regulations trump free market choice in the medical field?  Or should consumers be allowed to choose to undergo a medical procedure that might cost less than what you could get at a hospital, even though it might not meet all the standard safety requirements?  For those of you wondering what in the world I’m talking about, I’ll see you after the jump, so CSI junkies don’t try and murder me.  For those of you on the RSS feeds, you have been warned: spoilers abound.

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As I take a break from packing for a work trip I’ll be on next week, I’ve been reading tons of blog posts around the Internet about this latest Israeli-Palestinian war.  Then I saw this comment by our own Jason Steck.  The following is the portion that piqued my interest:

If the Palestinians had elected a government that was open to peace with Israel in ANY form, you might have a legitimate point. But they didn’t. They elected a government that openly declares its desire and intention to commit genocide. There can be no compromise with that.

I have no misconceptions on the goals of Hamas.  They wish to see the State of Israel utterly destroyed, and would do it today if they could.  This is simply a fact.  However, I do have some questions.

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I meant to write this yesterday, but I’m glad I waited until today, since I now have more material to reference.

Basically, Jon Stewart sat down on Monday morning for breakfast with a bunch of journalists from all across the media spectrum and spoke about his disdain for cable news, and offered a warning to newspapers that they shouldn’t follow their lead.

There were several different reports filed about the speech, but the one I like the best comes from Comedy Central blogger Daniel DiClaudio (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).  Just a warning that it is a bit long winded, and reeks of Stewart fanboyism in some parts (DiClaudio claims to not work for or represent The Daily Show), but I also think it’s the most extensive coverage of the breakfast.

Other media reports fill in the gaps DiClaudio missed, such as this one from the WaPo and this one from the Wall Street Journal.  I’ll provide some key quotes after the jump, and some brief analysis.

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