Jon Cassidy

Jon Cassidy is the Texas bureau chief for Watchdog.org.

Where Modern Democrats Lost the Plot

 

The Democrats had the best marketing strategy. Consider their general approach for the half-century ending in Clintonism. Their basic pitch was a Weberian value proposition, that simply by caring, by making a commitment (however transient), by having some emotional investment in an issue, one entered a realm theretofore known as virtue. If the good, then, […]

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U.S. Ruled by Executive, Legislative, Judicial Branches… and Richard Cordray

 

Could Congress create a fourth branch of government? Maybe break off a piece of what the executive branch handles now — commerce, say, or agriculture, or maybe even defense — and create a new office supported by its own dedicated tax stream and the authority to levy penalties? The president could still appoint this officer […]

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Trump Grasps at Power, Finds It Elusive

 

There are two kinds of power — let’s call them hard and soft. Hard power has to do with authority, while soft power is the capacity to reach beyond one’s domain and influence others. It is the power to shape events, to change minds, even to redirect history. Donald Trump is fixated on hard power […]

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Dodd-Frank Is Obamacare Bad

 

Inside Job was one of the worst documentaries ever to win an Oscar. The 2010 flick, in which Matt Damon narrates the supposed roots of the 2008 financial crash, is dumb. It’s not Fahrenheit 9/11 dumb, of course, but it’s basically the opposite of The Big Short, both book and movie versions. The latter explores […]

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Mau Mau Redux: Charles Murray Comes in for Abuse, Again

 

Phrenology is a valid science. Well, almost. In 1981, the paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould came to fame with the publication of The Mismeasure of Man, a chronicle of supposed racism in science, and a critique in particular of the idea that intelligence exists in a form that could be measured by anything so vulgar as […]

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Sophisticated Man Is Stupid

 

“Man is stupid, you know, phenomenally stupid; or rather he is not at all stupid, but he is so ungrateful that you could not find another like him in all creation. I, for instance, would not be in the least surprised if all of a sudden, apropos of nothing, in the midst of general prosperity […]

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The Case of the Stolen Stove on a California Freeway

 

Cole Wilkins has been locked up for nearly a decade on a trumped-up murder charge, and I bear some of the responsibility for that. His murder conviction was tossed in 2013 by the California Supreme Court. At a hearing two weeks ago, Judge Thomas Goethals barred the Orange County District Attorney’s Office from pursuing first […]

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Let’s Get Soft on Crime

 

Let’s get soft on crime. Who’s with me? Hello? Anyone? If someone were to ask you if you favor tougher penalties for criminals or more lenient ones, giving you no context, you would almost certainly favor the former. Now take your context. What’s the average sentence for a wife beater in your neck of the […]

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Trump Fired Science This Week

 

Somewhere in the wilds of Utah, there’s a scientist making thermal infrared images of rivers, and turning them into exhibits for a museum. Your tax dollars are involved, of course, but trust that somebody’s awareness is being raised. Some of her colleagues at a science thing called iUTAH have more empirical pursuits. They recently did […]

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Scientism’s Skeptics

 

“Science as a Delphic oracle exists only in the popular imagination and the silent assumptions of certain scientists. At any given time there are only searchers who agree or disagree.” – Jacques Barzun Scientism is the quasi-religious devotion to the idea, but not the content, of science. Like all things ersatz, it is meant for […]

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