Welfare State Triptych

Back when Will Wilkinson still found it convenient for people to think of him as a libertarian, Todd Seavey, perhaps sensing that the Dark Side was strong in that one, noted that his "shtick" was "arguing that libertarians ought to accept elements of the welfare state". Wilkinson surprised a lot of people when he eventually…

The Minimum Wage Distraction

Via a link in a comment on one of Noah’s Facebook posts, I came across this very stupid article on the Minimum Wage by Kevin Drum. Not that it’s being stupid distinguishes it from most articles one reads about the minimum wage. As political issues go, minimum wage laws are among the most pointless to…

For a Bigger Tent with many Booths

A post that’s been making the rounds in Generative Linguistics circles recently is Gillian Ramchand’s academic manifesto, explaining both why she identifies with the generative tradition in linguistics and what she thinks is wrong with the current state of debate over it. I agree with most of it. These are the things I would have…

STTNG – The Host (Review)

Hey, here’s a new one: the Enterprise is transporting an ambassador to stop a conflict between warring factions of a planet! OK, you got me. I was being sarcastic just then. That actually happens on Star Trek all the time. Here’s something that doesn’t, though: Beverly Crusher, of all people, is sleeping with the ambassador!…

STTNG – The Drumhead (Review)

A lot of the reviews of The Drumhead like to say that it’s "remarkably prescient." It’s not, though. It knows it’s not. And it flat-out told you in the final scene that it’s not. The whole point of it is that it’s not. The message, rather, was that the events of this story are a…

Reindexing Assumptions

Generative Grammar has a kind of bad reputation among other Linguists – for a lot of reasons, really, some deserved, but most not. But I think if you boil down most of the criticisms, they amount to people just not feeling it in their gut. GG explanations for things rely on a lot of abstract…

STTNG – Qpid (Review)

Picard is looking forward to giving the keynote address at some archaeology conference the Enterprise is hosting. PLEASE tell me some kind of emergency is going to happen? There’s a ring at the door and … … it’s Troi. And she’s come to tell him to get some rest. And to tell him what a…

Look Who Doesn’t Like Free Trade

They said the Second World War ended. I can’t help but notice a certain, um, theme to this graphic: It’s graphic representation of the results of a Pew Survey of popular support for a free trade agreement with the United States in Europe. Notice how support is both strong and broad: nearly all member states…

Tough Movement is Tougher than you Think

Benjamin Bruening has an interesting squib in the fall 2014 issue of Linguistic Inquiry about "defective intervention." That’s when a phrase blocks a movement or agreement process even though it is incapable of participating in it.1 More accurately, "has been rendered" incapable of participating in it: in most examples taken to be instances of defective…