[Signifying Nothing]

Thursday, 18 September 2014

What could a federal UK look like?

Assuming that the "no" vote prevails in the Scottish independence referendum, the next question for the United Kingdom is to consider constitutional reform to implement a quasi-federal system and resolve the West Lothian question once and for all. In some ways, it may also provide an opportunity to resolve the...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 8:32 pm CDT)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Soccer queries answered

Kevin Drum asks a bunch of questions about soccer: Outside the penalty area there's a hemisphere about 20 yards wide. I can't recall ever seeing it used for anything. What's it for? On several occasions, I've noticed that if the ball goes out of bounds at the end of stoppage...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 8:04 pm CDT)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The mission and vision thing

Probably the worst-kept non-secret is that the next stage of the institutional evolution of my current employer is to some ill-defined concept of "university status," which mostly involves the establishment of some to-be-determined master's degree programs. In the context of the University System of Georgia, it means a small jump...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 5:58 pm CDT)

Monday, 27 August 2012

Paulites don't act like Republicans, surprised RNC doesn't treat them as GOPers

More mildly amusing reportage from Paulista/desperate book shill/journalist Brian Doherty on the Rodney Dangerfield-level of respect the Paulite delegates are receiving at the sorta-kinda-still-on GOP convention in Tampa. Shockingly, an institution designed on the premise that everyone airs their disagreements in the nomination process and then comes together behind the...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 1:49 pm CDT)

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

On the duty of advocates to be honest with the public

TollRoadsNews, a staple of my daily Google Reader diet, is an interesting blend of news on developments in the toll road industry (as the name would imply) with the often-unhinged rants of site proprietor Peter Samuel on developments in the toll road industry. Of late, most of these rants have...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 8:08 pm CDT)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

cnlmisc 0.2 for R

The oft-promised update of the cnlmisc package for R is now posted. New in this release is a convenience method, sepplot, that produces separation plots using the separationplot package; this method works directly on model fit objects as a post-estimation call, and works with both binary and ordinal models at...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 10:38 pm CDT)

Monday, 2 April 2012

Why read the minds of the Framers when we can read what they wrote?

In the midst of a rant against Team Red, James Fallows makes the following observation: As with equal representation for all states in the Senate, real-world circumstances have changed so dramatically in the past 230+ years that the practical-minded drafters of the Constitution would never have suggested that the details...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 2:24 pm CDT)

Friday, 30 March 2012

Rooting for laundry counterfactual

Assume, for the moment, that the Supreme Court rules that the mandate does not exceed Congress' powers under the commerce and necessary and proper clauses. (This assumption was probably a safe one for most progressives until Tuesday morning.) The ruling sparks howls of outrage and Republicans win comfortable majorities in...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 9:37 am CDT)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

To live or die on the mandate

As everyone knows, it's Obamacare Week at the Supreme Court (perhaps the less interesting version of Teen Week on Jeopardy!), and today was the main-event showdown over the constitutionality of the mandate. All observers agree it wasn't the Solicitor General's finest hour, but Supreme Court cases aren't really decided by...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 9:21 pm CDT)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Back to the olden days

Michael Waterstone in a post about a Supreme Court case that I really don't know anything about one way or another writes about Justice Scalia's concurrence in the judgment in said case: But to Justice Scalia, this means that (except for race discrimination, which he views as different for stare...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 1:17 am CDT)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Cheap costume for your local Mass Effect 3 midnight opening

Here it is, in all its glory: Go to your local office supply store and get some Avery 5395 labels. Print this on them. You're welcome.

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 3:19 pm CST)

An aside comment on the "Best Star Wars Film" debate

While I don't want to wade too deeply into the argument, seemingly initiated by Kevin Drum's rather absurd notion that Return of the Jedi is the best of the six* Star Wars films, regarding the relative merits of the various films in the series (see also: Doug Mataconis at OTB...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 12:23 am CST)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

In which I risk seeming in agreement with Rick Santorum

It seems to me that if one's goal is to reduce the escalating costs of health care (or at least reduce the rate of escalation of those costs), it would be rather counterproductive to increase people's consumption of health care resources. Yet a number of policies, all implemented or encouraged...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 5:07 pm CST)

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Perusing the shelves at Wal-Mart this weekend I picked up Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Next Level, which is a very long-winded title for something relatively simple: a three-episode preview of the upcoming Blu-Ray transfers of the series. Unlike TOS, where they took the original film and replaced...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 10:46 pm CST)

Friday, 3 February 2012

On false equivalencies

A public service announcement, in absolutely no way inspired by the current debate over Komen's funding of Planned Parenthood, follows: If you are comparing your contemporary domestic political opponents (say, pro-choicers or pro-lifers) to the Viet Cong, the Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, or the Taliban, it seems to me...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 11:43 am CST)

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

You had me until the last paragraph

This NYT article on Pomona College dismissing 15 workers who were unable to present evidence of their legal presence and right to work had me mildly sympathetic to the various workers' plight, until the second-to-last paragraph rolled around and I had a "WTF?" moment: Still, it does little to reassure...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 3:27 pm CST)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

(Not) achieving the impossible

Mike Munger catches the government doing what government does, rather oafishly: in this case, fining companies for their failure to use enough cellulose-based ethanol, a product that is not even commercially available. The mind boggles. On the other hand, imagine the possibilities of such an "incentive" program. Fine Boeing a...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 10:49 pm CST)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Obama's medical marijuana policy going to pot

The folks at Reason have been keeping a rather keen eye on the escalation of the Obama administration's war on medical marijuana; the latest salvo is apparently going to involve aggressive prosecutions of those advertising dispensaries, along with targeting landlords and other property owners whose tenants are dispensing pot, regardless...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 7:58 pm CDT)

Thursday, 29 September 2011

See you November 7, 2012

When you read a blog post about the dollar coin and realize that the reason the author--who is a presumably intelligent mainstream Republican who was instrumental in reviving the dollar coin in the first place--only is arguing against any aggressive effort to replace the dollar bill with the dollar coin...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 7:25 pm CDT)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Forest of the dead

If my Facebook feed is anything to judge by, this interview with political science professor Benjamin Ginsburg on the growth of administrative bloat in American universities has struck a bit of a nerve. Ginsburg advances his thesis in a new book, The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 5:05 pm CDT)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Silence in the library

Paul Burka at Texas Monthly connects all the dots in Rick Perry's plan to remold Texas' two flagship higher education systems. At some level, though, I can't blame Perry as much as the allegedly-well-meaning liberals down the food chain who spend a lot of time before faculty distancing themselves from...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 6:10 pm CDT)

Saturday, 10 July 2010

So long and thanks for all the fish

A few parting comments as I "virtually" turn out the lights: First and foremost, there's no immediate reason to worry about me. There's no specific reason for my decision; nobody's come to me and said "X would have happened if you didn't have a blog." Nor am I embarking on...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 5:03 am CDT)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Making the beast dead

In what some have said is an "end of an era" and others have suggested is an event 4-6 years overdue, Signifying Nothing will be signing off--if not permanently, certainly for the foreseeable future--by the end of June. I still plan to contribute to Outside the Beltway (perhaps even on...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 7:18 pm CDT)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Another year bites the dust

My sixth year of full-time teaching is now at an end. Overall I think it went well, although I missed my target grade distributions in both of my upper division classes (too tough in Congress & The Presidency; too easy in Political System of the USA). One of these decades...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 10:23 pm CDT)

Monday, 10 May 2010

Being Nick Clegg

The Liberal Democrats' two choices: Door #1 (aka Nick-and-Dave, kissing-in-a-tree): at least two years in government, at worst a referendum on the alternative vote, most of your fiscal agenda (where you and the Tories agree) enacted into law, and probably some of the blame for the next year or so,...

(Posted by Chris Lawrence @ 10:39 pm CDT)