Blogroll

I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading.

Disclaimer: Reproducing an article here need not necessarily imply agreement or endorsement!

Billy Graham’s New Home

Anglican Ink - 2 hours 6 min ago

Testimonial for his father from Franklin Graham

Funeral arrangements for Billy Graham announced

Anglican Ink - 2 hours 11 min ago

Dr. Graham to be buried alongside his wife in the Prayer Garden at the Billy Graham Library

Mixed messages following the death of Dr. Billy Graham

Anglican Ink - 2 hours 18 min ago

Graham lauded and damned for his ministry by church leaders and critics

Beta: Alt-PHP updated

CloudLinux - 2 hours 37 min ago

New updated Alt-PHP packages are now available for download from our updates-testing repository.

Changelog:

alt-php52-5.2.17-116

  • ALTPHP-450: fix for Bug #71335 Type Confusion in WDDX Packet Deserialization.

alt-php53-5.3.29-73

  • ALTPHP-450: fix for Bug #71335 Type Confusion in WDDX Packet Deserialization;
  • ALTPHP-451: fix for CVE-2016-7478 Unserialize Exception object can lead to infinite loop.

alt-php54-5.4.45-53

  • ALTPHP-450: Fix for Bug #71335 Type Confusion in WDDX Packet Deserialization.

Install command:

yum groupinstall alt-php --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing
Categories: Technology

The Content Cluster Muster (02.22.18)

Blog & Mablog - 3 hours 11 min ago

New Pictures of Jupiter

The Socialist Pipe Dream

GraceAgenda 2018

Watch this interview with Dr. Ben Merkle about his upcoming talk at GraceAgenda2018, April 13-14, 2018. Then click the button below to register.

REGISTER HERE

Though It Is Probably Just a Driveway

More here.

Language is Wonderful

i am upset by ueue pic.twitter.com/YbkukuHuBq

— Matthew Inman (@Oatmeal) February 21, 2018

The post The Content Cluster Muster (02.22.18) appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

Why Revisionist History Is Important

Mises Institute - 3 hours 12 min ago
By: Chris Calton
books_1.PNG

In the early 1990s, historian Eric Foner and Lynne Cheney were interviewed on the talk show Firing Line about the National History Standards, which was enjoying some national attention at the time regarding what account of history was being included in public school textbooks. During the interview, Cheney accused Foner of being an historical revisionist.

The next day, a reporter from Newsweek called Foner up to ask him about the accusation. “Professor Foner, when did all this revisionism begin?”

Foner answered (according to his account of the phone call): “Probably with Herodotus.” Herodotus, for those who may not be aware, is the ancient Greek historian generally considered to be the father of the discipline of history.

The Newsweek reporter responded, “Do you have his phone number?”

I don’t know if the story is true, since we only have Foner’s account of his personal wit, but I certainly hope it’s true. Whether or not Foner is coloring the story to make it more comical, it does provide a good opportunity for instruction on what it means to be a “revisionist” historian.

In another interview Foner gave, he put the matter more bluntly:

It’s hard for people not versed in history to get the point on why historical interpretation changes. In the general culture “revisionist historian” is a term of abuse. But that is what we do. Revising history is our job. So every historian is a revisionist historian in some sense.

Revisionist history is a label that the Mises Institute does not shy away from, nor should it. Mises scholar and historian Jeff Riggenbach has an entire book devoted to the subject of American revisionist history. Murray Rothbard himself wrote an essay on the importance of revisionist history. But of course, the label of “revisionist” will probably always be levied against Mises scholars as a pejorative, just as Lynne Cheney used it against Eric Foner.

So why is revisionism so important to the discipline? As Mises explains in Theory and History, our knowledge of historical events is not and can never be perfect. Documentary evidence is always necessarily incomplete, and no historian is capable of acquiring all of the potentially relevant evidence that does exist. The best that historians can do is to try to uncover new evidence and reexamine old evidence informed by sound theory so new interpretations can be offered.

And if an historian is doing his or her job, then the natural result will be a revision to history. To contribute to the scholarship on the subject, historians cannot simply restate the narrative that already exists; they must expand, refute, or revise the existing narrative according to new evidence and new analyses. This is exactly what the profession of history entails.

A bad work of history is rarely the product of incorrect or fabricated evidence (though the recent hack job by Nancy McClean demonstrates that such histories can still receive wide praise as long as they support the approved ideological bias). More often, though, as Jeff Riggenbach reminds us, a bad history is one that omits relevant evidence or lacks sound theory with which to properly interpret the evidence and accurately weight its relevance. A good history is that which improves on these human errors through sound revision.

So why does the Mises Institute tout revisionism so much?

Mises offered the historian an additional tool for our scholarly toolbox that few professional historians have taken advantage of: praxeology. History, as Mises tells us and Rothbard reminds us in the previously linked writings, is not an a priori science. But when analyzing the empirical evidence of history – the primary tool of the historian is documentary evidence – the Misesian historian can apply the a priori knowledge gained from praxeology to the analysis. Armed with proper theory, then, a Misesian historian is able to offer a new interpretation of history that fits both the empirical evidence and the sound theory of human action.

Equipped with the theoretical insights offered by Mises, Murray Rothbard was able to offer a revision to the history of the Great Depression that was compelling enough that acclaimed historian Paul Johnson wrote the forward to the later edition. Rothbard revised the history in a way that made an important contribution to our understanding of these events.

America’s Great Depression is only one of Rothbard’s great historical revisions, of course. Another great Misesian scholar, Robert Higgs, applied similar insights to revise our understanding of the relationship between the Great Depression and World War II. The examples could continue almost ad infinitum, but I list these two because they served as among of the most important revisions to my own personal understanding of the way Misesian insights can improve our understanding of history.

The label of “revisionist history,” then, should be neither a pejorative nor a compliment; it should be a redundancy. History that offers no revision is not history at all – it is merely regurgitation of another person’s contributions (for pedagogical purposes, this can have its own value, if somebody is able to take complex ideas and make them available to a wider audience, of course). But to call somebody a revisionist historian, if the claim is true, is to merely call them an “historian” at all.

It is important to keep in mind that revisionism is no more a compliment than it is an insult because it takes more than “revision” to make a good historian. Tom Woods makes this clear in his introduction to 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask.  He tells the famous story of H.L. Mencken’s bathtub hoax, in which Mencken intentionally published a fake history of the bathtub in 1917. Mencken was – as always – being funny, but he was surprised to find that his story was enthusiastically received, and he was even letters by people offering corroborating “evidence” to his fake history!

For many years, Mencken’s fake history of the bathtub “revised” the history of the bathtub – a consequence that Mencken himself did not anticipate. When this historical narrative was corrected, the correction was also a revision – a revision of the history that Mencken fabricated as a joke. For history to be good history, it has to be more than merely “revisionist;” it must also be honest and accurate.

The Mises Institute proudly embraces the revisionist history of its scholars, but it does this because the scholars recognize that there is more that can be done to improve our understanding of accurate history by applying the lamentably neglected insights of Ludwig von Mises to the field of history. As long as mainstream history neglects sound economic theory – or more specifically, Austrian economic theory – there will be history in need of corrective revision.

 



Categories: Current Affairs

Reseller Limits Beta is now available for Plesk!

CloudLinux - 3 hours 19 min ago

You asked — we do! LVE Manager version 3.1-3 with Reseller Limits support for Plesk is released to Beta! CloudLinux OS team has been working on this feature for over twenty months and we are happy it is now available for more customers!

All the Reseller Limits features and improvements that were previously introduced to the cPanel users are now available in Plesk too. Now Plesk hosters can set limits for the resources each reseller can operate with and provide controls to the reseller on what resources each end user will have.

 

We encourage you to help us with beta testing and to install this feature on your servers. We’d be extremely grateful for any feedback provided!

Please note that to use Reseller Limits you would have to install kernel that supports the feature. The latest stable kernel with Reseller Limits support is 3.10.0-714.10.2.lve1.5.12 (we also recommend to try our newest beta kernel that includes Meltdown / Spectre fixes for Xen PV). If you use CloudLinux 6 kernel you would first have to migrate to a Hybrid kernel since the feature is only supported in CloudLinux 7 and CloudLinux 6 Hybrid kernels. Follow the instruction below to do so at https://docs.cloudlinux.com/index.html?hybrid_kernel.html.

To find out more on how to operate Reseller Limits, please read this documentation article. We also recommend watching the CloudLinux Academy webinar where our CEO and Founder Igor Seletskiy reviews the Reseller Limits functionality.

If you've missed the previous Beta releases of the feature for cPanel and its advantages, please follow the links to check information on its Production release.

To install new beta from our update-testing repository, please use the following command:

yum update lvemanager lve-stats lve-utils alt-python27-cllib --enablerepo=cloudlinux-updates-testing

Please find a changelog below.

lvemanager-3.1-3

  • WEB-879: fixed title of reseller options for faults notify;
  • WEB-809: adapted the "Users" tab of reseller plugin in Plesk;
  • WEB-869: fixed an error while trying to open statistic frame for reseller with no limits on Plesk;
  • WEB-874: fixed report text in Resource Usage for CPU usage (DirectAdmin, user's plugin);
  • WEB-858: fixed an issue when sorting is not working;
  • WEB-884: fixed an error entry into LVE Manager plugin via direct link in Plesk's sidebar (wrong checking of csrftoken).

lve-utils-2.1-3

  • LU-460: NameMap is now used instead of ClPwd to get reseller id;
  • LVES-818: implemented reseller limits to lvectl for Plesk;
  • LU-572: missing user without package in 'getcontrolpaneluserspackages' commands (Plesk).

alt-python27-cllib-1.3-4

  • PTCLLIB-105: main domain is now first in 'userdomains' result (Plesk);
  • LVES-770: fixed an issue when cloudlirnux-top doesn't work on Plesk with reseller;
  • LU-448: implemented resellers method on Plesk.

lve-stats-2.8-2

  • LVES-878: fix for reseller historical usage request on Plesk;
  • LVES-846: fixed reseller's name field in cl-top and cl-stats (Plesk);
  • LVES-861: hoster's period is now used to notify reseller about user's faults.
Categories: Technology

Pope Tawadros receives Anglican Interfaith Commission

Anglican Ink - 3 hours 24 min ago

Coptic Orthodox Patriarch meets Anglican leaders in Cairo

Bishop Anis awarded Hubert Walter medal

Anglican Ink - 3 hours 30 min ago

Bishop of Egypt honored for his work in promoting "reconciliation and interfaith cooperation"

Forget managing time – manage your energy

Ministry Nuts and Bolts - 4 hours 14 min ago
Three keys to energy management (apart from diet and exercise), to help you build out from a solid core of time when you are at your best, focussing on what’s most important.
Categories: Friends

#PressForProgress - International Women’s Day 2018 | A Cloudflare & Branch Event

CloudFlare - 4 hours 25 min ago
#PressForProgress - International Women’s Day 2018 | A Cloudflare & Branch Event

Almost a year ago, I began my journey in the tech industry at a growing company called Cloudflare. I’m a 30-something paralegal and although I didn’t know how to write code (yet), I was highly motivated and ready to crush. I had worked hard for the previous two years, focused on joining a thriving company where I could grow my intelligence, further develop my skill set and work alongside successful professionals. And finally, my hard work paid off; I landed the job at Cloudflare and booked a seat on the rocket ship.

After the initial whirlwind that accompanies this fast-paced field subsided, motivation, inspiration, success, momentum and endurance began to flood my neurons. I loved the inner workings of a successful startup, felt the good and bad of the tech industry, related to and admired the female executives and most importantly, wanted to give something back to the community that adopted me.

#PressForProgress - International Women’s Day 2018 | A Cloudflare & Branch Event
Venus Approaching the Sun Source: Flickr

During a routine chat with my dad, I pitched what I thought was a crazy idea. Crazy because I was so used to being told “no” at previous jobs, used to not having my ideas taken seriously, and also used to not being given opportunities in my career. My idea was simple: “Wouldn’t it be great to have an International Women’s Day event at Cloudflare?” We talked and texted for days about the idea. It had merit and as scared as I was, I wanted to pitch it! As my dad and I discussed the idea further, it evolved into a full-blown plan of inviting renowned female influencers to attend and share their experiences and accomplishments of working in the tech industry. I wanted it to be a motivational celebration.

After receiving a quick green light from my supervisor and chatting with executives, it happened. Cloudflare got behind the event. 100 percent. And why wouldn’t they? Cloudflare relies on the best and the brightest to do what we do, no matter what. Of course Cloudflare would support an event for kick-ass women!

#PressForProgress - International Women’s Day 2018 | A Cloudflare & Branch Event
Source: Pixnio

Please join Cloudflare and Branch as we join forces to celebrate the evolution of women in technology at our first annual International Women’s Day event!

From Ada Lovelace to Grace Hopper to Katherine Johnson to the incredible panel we’ll hear from at this event, women in technology have always pressed for progress.

The road isn’t always easy to navigate, but it’s more important than ever to remain steadfast and push forward to equity and parity regardless of gender.

At this lunchtime social, we’ll take a short trip and highlight three legendary women in technology over the last 50 years, and then dive into a panel discussion with three female founders. We’ll hear a little about each one’s journey in their respective industries and touch on their view of what it means in today’s climate to press for progress. We’ll open it up at the end for Q&A from the audience.

Lunch will be provided, and there will also be time for networking and connecting with other women in technology.

#PressForProgress - International Women’s Day 2018 | A Cloudflare & Branch Event
Source: Branch.io

Had this 30-something paralegal not pressed for that better job and instead bottled my voice and refrained from sharing my “crazy” idea, no progress would have been made. Working in the tech industry, and specifically for Cloudflare, has allowed me to pursue my dreams, live out my ideas and pave the way for the women of tomorrow. I’m so excited to bring this event to fruition, and I can say on behalf of Cloudflare and Branch that we hope to see you there!

Categories: Technology

Don’t Toss Aside the Hull and Mast

Children Desiring God - 7 hours 11 min ago

Children Desiring God Blog // Don't Toss Aside the Hull and Mast

One of the things I’ve noticed about children’s and youth ministry in the past few years is a renewed and increased evangelistic impulse—an urgency to teach children about Jesus and the Gospel so that they might be saved. This is a wonderful change from the all-too-common emphasis on Gospel-less moralism of the past. My concern, however, is that sometimes for the sake of urgency—wanting our children to get saved as soon as possible (a really good desire)—we may be minimizing the very foundation on which that salvation depends. I found this illustration, from an article over at 9Marks, to be really helpful:

Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, that you are on a ship sailing to a faraway town to warn the people of impending doom. If you don’t get there in time, everyone dies. Needless to say, you want your ship to sail as fast as possible. You avoid any excess cargo that might slow your progress. You don’t waste time worrying about clean decks or polished brass. The urgency of the task requires you to operate with efficiency and leanness.

People…argue that the urgency of the Christian mission requires us to trim our theological sails and jettison the heavy freight of doctrinal precision.

…Doctrine is not freight on the ship. It’s the hull and mast.

A church’s doctrine determines the character and quality of its witness. Its theology shapes its goals and the way it tries to achieve those goals.

So the question is this: does disciple-making require churches to know and teach doctrine?

Critics of doctrinal necessity sometimes snidely remark that surely God is not going to open up people’s heads on the last day to ensure the right doctrinal formulas are inside. No, probably not. But he will ask them something like, “Were you trusting me? The real and true me, and not a made-up version of me?” In other words, God is very much interested in whether we are trusting in certain truths, because with God doctrinal truth is personal truth.

To experience Christ’s salvation, a person must believe and trust real truths about the real God. If someone has not turned with his or her whole heart to God and trusted him, he or she cannot be saved (Rom. 10:13–17). Doctrine is required for salvation!

(Mike McKinley, “In Poor Communities Does Doctrine Matter?,” www.9marks.org )

So, along with a renewed evangelistic impulse in our ministry to children and youth, let us also have a renewed discipleship impulse that must concern itself with a slow, progressive, precept-by-precept teaching of doctrinal truth. These essential truths are the hull and mast of the ship!

 

 

Categories: Christian Resources

Questioning Simplicity

Peter Leithart - 8 hours 11 min ago
Matthew Levering devotes a dense chapter of his Engaging the Doctrine of Creation to a defense of divine simplicity. As one would expect from a leading Catholic thinker, Levering relies on Thomas. God, Levering argues, must be pure act in order to be something other than “a being among beings”: “God can be the source […]
Categories: People I don't know

Do Public Unions Make Police More Dangerous?

Mises Institute - 8 hours 12 min ago
By: Tate Fegley
7018433967_ff0d0fe976_b.jpg

Of all the factors that contribute to police brutality and misconduct, one that has been relatively neglected but has received a growing amount of attention is police unions. Their influence became harder to ignore after all of the anecdotes of police unions making it more difficult to investigate and discipline misconduct.

Notable examples include Pittsburgh officer Paul Abel, who, after being sucker-punched through his car window while driving under the influence, took off in pursuit of whom he thought had punched him, pistol-whipped him and accidentally shot him in the hand while doing so. He was fired but later reinstated through arbitration as allowed by his union contract. Oakland officer Hector Jimenez shot and killed two unarmed men on separate occasions, one of them in the back. Even though Oakland paid a $650,000 settlement and Jimenez was fired, he was reinstated by an arbitrator, who also decided he should be given back pay. The Baltimore officers involved in the killing of Freddie Gray, according to Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights which unions successfully lobbied for, could not be interrogated in the five business days after the death occurred. Obviously, this is very different from how any non-police officer is treated in the course of a homicide investigation.

While these stories may be anecdotal, more systematic research is supporting the idea that police unions contribute to greater amounts of officer misconduct. Earlier this month, Dhammika Dharmapala, Richard McAdams, and John Rappaport of the University of Chicago Law School provided an early draft of their research suggesting that collective bargaining among police agencies is associated with increases in the number of citizen complaints.

They exploited a legal change in Florida that provided a natural quasi-experiment to measure the effect that allowing collective bargaining among policing agencies has on complaints against the police, among other things. Prior to 2003, sheriff’s deputies (but not municipal police officers) in Florida were prohibited from engaging in collective bargaining, as they were considered appointees rather than employees. This changed with Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association v. Williams, where the court decided that sheriff’s deputies do have the right to engage in collective bargaining, any prior statute or legal decision notwithstanding. Thus, Dharmapala et al. had a treatment group (sheriff’s offices) that was affected by this legal change to compare with a control group (police departments) that was not affected.

The Williams decision led to substantial unionization among sheriff’s offices within three years, after which it stabilized. Using a difference-in-difference estimation lagged for three years and controlling for agency and year fixed effects, as well as an extensive set of other controls, Dharmapala et al. found that collective bargaining rights led the typical sheriff’s office to have a 27% increase in the number of complaints received.

The magnitude of this result is notable, given that Florida has a Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR), which already provided substantial protections to sheriff’s deputies, and Florida is a right-to-work state, thus requiring unions to rely on voluntary dues from members. Florida’s LEOBOR provides officers and sheriff’s deputies a number of protections, including a 180-day statute of limitations on internal affairs investigations, a requirement that officers be provided all of the evidence against them prior to an interrogation, delays such interrogations until all other witnesses have been interviewed, limits the number of interrogators to one, prohibits that interrogator from using “offensive language” or threats of discipline or promise of reward, and prohibits civilian participation on complaint review boards. With such privileges, how can collective bargaining have such a large effect on misconduct?

Dharmapala et al. suggest that a possible causal mechanism is that some of Florida’s sheriff’s offices’ collective bargaining agreements go beyond Florida’s LEOBOR by providing sheriff’s deputies the ability to appeal disciplinary action to an arbitrator, thus decreasing management’s ability to discipline officers. As well, some collective bargaining agreements require that disciplinary records be expunged after a certain amount of time. This can be crucial, as arbitrators consider an officer’s work history when making their decisions on whether to uphold or overturn disciplinary actions.

Given the anecdotal evidence we have seen regarding the ability of arbitrators to allow police officers with demonstrably questionable decision-making ability to keep their jobs, perhaps it should not be surprising that they found collective bargaining agreements to have such a large effect. Those hoping to reform policing ought to keep this in mind. 



Categories: Current Affairs

Do Not Be Anxious

Peter Leithart - 9 hours 11 min ago
The following excerpt is taken from the first volume of my Matthew commentary, recently published by Athanasius Press. Jesus announces the new law from the mountain; He is Moses on a new Sinai. But in this passage, Jesus assumes another role for a few moments – the role of Solomon the sage. The end of […]
Categories: People I don't know

IVF is the final frontier of capitalism?

Adam Smith Institute - 13 hours 11 min ago

It is possible, we suppose - if you squint very hard and define yourself carefully - to insist that in-vitro fertilisation is indeed that final stage of capitalism. That's not the way we think this is being said:

Kennedy recalled going in for treatment in a state of “blind panic and emotional chaos”, which she said was common for most people.

“It is a very charged time and I came out of the experience feeling brutalised. It was nothing physical, it was the attitude of the private sector … It felt like it was all about money,” she said. “It is the privatisation of reproduction, the final frontier of capitalism.”

We're really pretty certain that reproduction has been, over time, something of a private matter. In fact, the only time it has really been a public matter - in the sense of state governance of it, not social approval of different methods - has been when the eugenecists started to prevent the poor, feeble minded and generally, by their lights, undesirables from reproducing. Other than that we've all rather let people who wish to make the two backed beast get on with it, haven't we? Including the insistence that it is a private decision to bring any result to term or not.

We'd also, just because we enjoy being snide, note that the Medical Research Council refused to fund that research into IVF itself.

Reproduction as a private sector activity does seem to us to be fairly well established as the norm in human society.

But then we squint a bit and define ourselves carefully. Before 1978 those infertile - in some manners at least - had no chance of having children. Some parts of their current ability to do so have been, we'll agree, state funded and or provided. But it is only this roughly capitalist, roughly market based, socio-economic system which has led to a level of technology which provides that new found ability for them to be fecund. So if you want to call this, that the childless can become with child, a final frontier of capitalism we'll accept that. As long as you're using the same definitions we are.

What bliss it is in this dawn to be alive, eh? As some 5 million people born using the treatment are able to say.

Categories: Current Affairs

The Center is not the Circumference

Blog & Mablog - 18 hours 11 min ago

“I put a distinction between the Church and the Kingdom. The Church is at the center, Word and sacrament, and only sacred things are sacred. Because what the Church does is potent, this transforms the entire world—but it doesn’t turn the world into Church. That’s not the transformation. The Church turns the world into what the world ought to be. The Church doesn’t bring auto mechanics into the sanctuary. The Church teaches in such a way that auto mechanics grows and matures into what auto mechanics really should be like” (Empires of Dirt, pp. 183-184).

The post The Center is not the Circumference appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

Categories: People I don't know

Guns and Schools: Can the Market do Better?

Mises Institute - Wed, 21/02/2018 - 20:15
By: Jeff Deist
police

There is no epidemic of gun violence in America; quite the opposite in fact. But last week’s shooting at a high school in Florida was a grim and jarring reminder of deep cultural problems lurking just beneath the veneer of our materially comfortable society. Those problems are beyond the scope of libertarianism per se, but again we see that greater liberty will require a renaissance in civil society: nihilism and hopelessness among any segment of the population is far more dangerous than “assault rifles.” The less we are governed internally, the more we invite external governance from the state.1

Millions of guns already exist everywhere in American households, so enacting laws “like Europe” won’t work. Voluntary turnovers of guns to police won’t even scratch the surface, much less entice criminals. Involuntary confiscation is both a political and practical nonstarter.  

There are no top-down political solutions available from Washington. Gun control doesn't actually prevent crime, but it does provide the political class and media with another diversionary bitter cultural debate. Americans are deeply divided on guns, just as they are deeply divided on abortion and climate change and scores of other issues. And why should we expect otherwise, in a far-flung country of 320 million people with wildly diverse geographies, economies, and cultures?

Real federalism, long abandoned by progressives and conservatives alike, is one approach with the potential to reduce political conflicts over guns. Manhattan and Montana might have different perspectives here, and both can manage things without Congress. Contrary to popular belief, the Second Amendment neither “federalized” gun laws nor created a right to private ownership of firearms. It simply enshrined the notion that “the people” need to be armed to defend themselves potentially against the state itself.

We don’t need a constitution to recognize all humans have an innate and pre-existing right to self-defense. To make that right effective (especially for weaker members of society) tools must be employed. Guns are simply those tools, inanimate objects that cannot be imbued with innate qualities of good or evil. The right to own guns flows naturally from self-ownership of our bodies.

The libertarian response to mass shootings, in particular school shootings, is to allow teachers and other personnel to carry weapons on campus. In fact, the broader libertarian program is to have most people armed, or at least potentially armed, to create a safer (not to mention more polite) society. If we cannot snap our fingers and produce crime-free cities and neighborhoods where nobody needs to carry a gun, then at least we allow everyone the ability to dissuade or defend against criminal shooters.

This is all well and good, but ignores the market impulse to outsource services to specialists. This is why neighborhoods hire private security patrols, and why celebrities hire professional bodyguards. Not everyone wants to carry a gun or train themselves in gun proficiency. And there is the issue of scale, where individuals might find themselves arrayed against organized criminal gangs.     

Rather than endlessly debate the fraught political process of crafting illiberal gun control laws, we ought to think about private-market solutions that focus on controlling crime. We should think in terms of market economics, where private property and correct incentives give us what government and laws cannot: a mechanism to determine possible harms and the cost of protecting against or preventing those harms. People want safe neighborhoods and schools, which is just another way to say there is a market for them.

Generally speaking, the US legal system imposes premises liability on property owners whose negligence (or willful conduct) results in someone getting injured on that property. This arose conceptually through common law courts and juries applying general negligence concepts,

We accord different degrees of legal responsibility (“duty”) to landowners based on the identity of the injured party: a trespasser, for example, has less recourse to sue for injury than a business invitee (i.e., a customer). The law considers whether the injured party had a legitimate purpose being there, and in some cases whether they contributed to their injury through their own negligence.

Generally speaking, the duty to make one’s property safe from a particular harm relates to the foreseeability of that harm. Leaving spilled milk in a grocery aisle too long could well subject the owner to paying damages for a shopper who suffers a fall — a fall that was quite predictable and clearly caused by the wet floor. But intentional criminal acts by a third party, much like acts of God, generally absolve the property owner of liability. After all, no shooter ever entered the grocery before, so why must the owner guard against this most unlikely event?

But should a public school district have a higher duty to keep students safe than the grocer for shoppers? Arguably yes, in that society values children’s lives, well-being, and innocence perhaps more than adults. And we force children into school attendance via truancy laws and meddling protective services agencies.

Furthermore, are school shootings now foreseeable even though they remain exceedingly rare? Does the media attention and notoriety given to such shootings change the calculus? At some point, perhaps today, school shootings could become foreseeable in the eyes of a jury.

We can’t necessarily draw conclusions here, but the question is whether the owners of public schools — generally municipal or county school districts — should be immune from lawsuits for school shootings simply because they are political subdivisions of states? Should sovereign immunity apply to them, or should they be forced to consider security measures just as private owners must? After all, it seems clear that a mass shooting at a prestigious private school would result in litigation.

It seems clear that imposing tort liability on school owners and operators, even government owners, would both improve security and provide a ready source of compensation for the families of victims. Private security agencies, which have a market reputation to develop or protect, almost certainly would provide more efficient service than government police — for the simple reason that more crime punishes their bottom line, while it often creates calls for increased police budgets. And private security models like Disneyland benefit from wanting to create a peaceful and happy environment, where security forces have every incentive not to escalate situations or incur liability.

Furthermore, private insurance models could help schools rationally allocate funds relative to the risks involved. Since school shootings are rare, premiums to cover such an event should be constrained. But other lesser types of crime in schools could be insured against as well, helping administrators better understand what they’re up against. And insurance companies would bend over backward to offer advice on avoiding shootings, since they would bear the cost of liability payments.

Admittedly, public schools using taxpayer funds to hire private security and pay insurance premiums muddies the waters. But at least it moves all of the parties involved — school districts, administrators, teachers, security providers, and parents — toward a market-based approach to safer schools. Tort liability, however imperfectly administered by government courts, offers one way to align the interests of parents and school owners in preventing further horrific events.

A rational system of private security and criminal control would focus on market solutions that actually reduce crime generally and provide meaningful compensation to victims. In other words, it would focus prevention and restitution. The marketplace can provide both far better than the state, with its amorphous and broken system of criminal justice and mass incarceration — paid for by the taxpayers it claims to represent as “the people” in criminal cases. 



  • 1. Surprisingly, the late Murray Rothbard did not write as copiously on guns or gun culture as he did on many subjects. In For a New Liberty he attacks gun control both conceptually and empirically, characterizing it as a snobbish impulse for those fortunate enough to live in safe areas and wealthy enough not to worry much about the loss of property (such as losing their wallet in a mugging or having their car stolen). And in Making Economic Sense he decries a Clinton-era proposal to radically increase federal permit fees for gun dealers.

Categories: Current Affairs

JSON API - Moderately critical - Multiple Vulnerabilities - SA-CONTRIB-2018-015

Drupal Contrib Security - Wed, 21/02/2018 - 20:12
Project: JSON APIDate: 2018-February-21Security risk: Moderately critical 13∕25 AC:Complex/A:User/CI:Some/II:Some/E:Theoretical/TD:AllVulnerability: Multiple Vulnerabilities Description: 

This module provides a JSON API standards-compliant API for accessing and manipulating Drupal content and configuration entities.

  • The module doesn't sufficiently associate cacheability metadata in certain situations thereby causing an access bypass vulnerability.

    This vulnerability is mitigated by the fact that an attacker cannot trigger an exploitable situation themselves.

  • The module doesn't sufficiently check access in certain situations.

    This vulnerability is mitigated by the fact that an attacker must have permission to create entities of certain content entity types.

Update: This is fixed in 8.x-1.10 not 8.x-1.9Solution: 

Install the latest version:

Reported By: Fixed By: Coordinated By: 
Categories: Technology

Central Bank Musical Chairs

Mises Institute - Wed, 21/02/2018 - 20:00
By: Doug French
music.PNG

If recent stock market volatility is interrupting your sleep, Jim Bianco and CNBC’s Rick Santelli are saying, get used to it.  The total assets of all central banks hit $16.4 trillion plus (an all-time high) and these banks now, collectively, own 33 percent of all the world’s sovereign bonds (someone/something had to buy ‘em).

Santelli’s question to Bianco was, if the aggregate size of the world’s central banks is at an all-time high, and these bank’s have purchased a third of all government paper, will these banks be able to “normalize in size” (shrink) without “going through a lot more stock market anguish?” Bianco’s response was a flat, “no.”  

Reversing trillions of dollars worth of securities purchases will create market turmoil.  And now that price inflation has entered the equation, the ride is bound to be bumpy. So, who should 401k investors be worried about and keeping an eye on? Bianco and Santelli agree, that person is ECB head man Mario Draghi. Santelli believes Draghi may be caught without a chair in this game of monetary musical chairs. By the way, it’s not all about the Fed any more. “All central bank stimulus is fungible,” says Bianco, “it doesn’t matter who does it.”  

The patron saint of central bankers, John Maynard Keynes, wrote in The General Theory,

“For it is, so to speak, a game of Snap, of Old Maid, of Musical Chairs — a  pastime in which he is victor who says Snap neither too soon nor too late, who passed the  Old Maid to his neighbour before the game is over, who secures a chair for himself when  the music stops. These games can be played with zest and enjoyment, though all the players know that it is the Old Maid which is circulating, or that when the music stops  some of the players will find themselves unseated.”

Surely central bankers aren’t just speculating with funds created from nowhere? However, the once “lenders of last resort” are now engaging in social policies, boosting the collective wealth effect, while keeping the under-capitalized, over-leveraged, and less than competent operators in business.

While the Fed is loaded with Treasuries and Mortgage-Backs, the Swiss National Bank is “in a very risky position. Some 94 percent of its balance sheet assets lie outside the country. According to SNB data, about 20 percent is invested globally in equities, including $88 billion in U.S. stocks,” wrote Mark Grant for Bloomberg last last year.  

Draghi’s ECB has a taste for even gamier paper. “According to UBS, the ECB holds 26 bonds rated below investment grade, or “junk,” amounting to $21.2 billion in notional debt,” Grant wrote.

Writing in early December, Mr. Grant, a managing director and chief global strategist at the investment bank B. Riley FBR Inc., concluded, “Regardless of the protestations made by the Fed, and the other central banks, the flow of ‘pixie-dust money’ has not relented. I remind you of the Wall Street adage: ‘Act on what they do and not on what they say.’”

The latest volatility reflects the worry that inflation make cause Draghi to stop the presses (not just talk about it), creating a market event.   

Lord Keynes continued in Chapter 12 of General Theory,

“Thus the professional investor is forced to concern himself with the anticipation of  impending changes, in the news or in the atmosphere, of the kind by which experience  shows that the mass psychology of the market is most influenced. This is the inevitable result of investment markets organised with a view to so-called ‘liquidity’. Of the maxims  of orthodox finance none, surely, is more anti-social than the fetish of liquidity, the  doctrine that it is a positive virtue on the part of investment institutions to concentrate their resources upon the holding of ‘liquid’ securities. It forgets that there is no such thing  as liquidity of investment for the community as a whole.”

On the issue of liquidity Evariste Lefeuvre, Chief Economist for Natixis North America and Global Head of Cross Asset Research Expertise in international management, wrote an illuminating piece for Seeking Alpha in 2015. Stepping beyond Murray Rothbard’s “Mystery of Banking” Lefeuvre wrote,

traditional banks engage in credit intermediation between ultimate savers and borrowers. Modern banks engage, as dealer banks, in collateral intermediation: financing bond portfolios with insured money markets instruments. The list of actors involved is quite long: investment banks, brokerage houses, MMMFs, asset back conduits, SIV, hedge funds…

He (again, writing in 2015) concluded,

The longer sovereign yields remain low and the longer the scarcity of safe assets (something very likely given that there is no sign of reduction of the size of the balance sheets of many central banks and, meanwhile, fiscal imbalances are being corrected - see chart below), the most likely is a rise in the percentage of illiquid assets in the portfolios of many investors. Given that the collateral absorption of dealer is dwindling and that repo and MMMFs remain quasi-money claims, the divergence between investors' needs (yield pickup), central bank policy targets (safe asset negative yields) and regulation outcome (asset light and lower security inventories), the next crisis might not be driven by credit and funding scarcity but rather by illiquid assets and collateral freeze.

If you’re tossing and turning; you should be.   



Categories: Current Affairs

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