Wm. Bennett, Aborted Black Babies, and Crime Rates

Bennett, on his radio show, “Morning in America,” was answering a caller’s question when he took issue with the hypothesis put forth in a recent book that one reason crime is down is that abortion is up.

“But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down,” said Bennett, author of “The Book of Virtues.”

He went on to call that “an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.”

From the Washington Post.

I’m glad that the defender of Virtue realizes genocide is immoral. Kudos to him. Rock on. Always good to see that in a right-wing moralizing pundit and Republican heavyweight.

Disappointing that he thinks that genocide of blacks in America would be an effective, if morally reprehensible and ridiclous and impossible, way to reduce crime.

(UPDATE: Most excellent summary of the incident, the spin and backpedaling and outright lies Bennett’s defenders have come up with, and other stuff, in Slate.)

A Terrifying Prospect

I’ve been meaning to comment on this for some time…

Paul Graham, relentlessly self-promoting Lisp hacker and Internet startup gazillionaire, wrote an essay in which he suggests that it’s a bad idea to try to eliminate massive economic inequality, because the existing system encourages innovation: for example, Mr. Graham started his company “ViaWeb,” now known as “Yahoo Store,” in order to gain financial security. If you try to eliminate inequality, you end up taxing rich people, and making poor people more financially secure. This would eliminate all the motivation for people like him to create startups and achieve financial security.

All I could think when I read this is “I for one shudder, I shudder, to imagine a world without Yahoo Store. All the economic inequality in the world is worth it because it gave us Yahoo Store.”

Which I guess was his point.

(Mind you, there’s a lot of good stuff in the essay, I just found the “threat of a world without Yahoo Store” argument against economic equality pretty comical.)

Ubuntu: Threat or Menace?

Some dude frets about Ubuntu going its own way and doing its own thing rather than existing meekly as a strict derivative of Debian.

Kudos to Ubuntu. I’ve spoken here before about how I used to be a huge Debian fan but after a couple very, very bad experiences helping friends install Debian on their boxes I wrote them off. I’ve used Sarge, the new version of Debian which finally finally finally appeared, and it’s a huge improvement, but it’s still not as good for the desktop as Ubuntu.

Baby Boomer Jerk vs. Generation Y Jerks

Penny Arcade! today recounts the encounter between “Gabe” of Penny Arcade and Harlan Ellison, who was apparently annoyed to find that he shared guest of honor status with Gabe and Tycho.


He’s a ridiculous man, a little goblin who pokes his head out of dark holes and scowls at all the Earth. There is no room in my life for that kind of person.

From Tycho summarizing the incident:

Let’s be clear here. We’re talking about a person that a couple total assholes find rude.

There’s not that much to the exchange of hostilities, but if you’re curious, follow the link to read it.

Goldilocks and the Invisible Monster

I’ve tended to leave the family off the blog, but what the hey. Here’s daughter Katie reading from a book she just wrote (where writing = a bunch of scribbles) about Goldilocks and the Invisible Monster.


Since this will appear in the RSS feed, can I claim she’s the first 4 year old podcaster?