News Roundup for 9/6/14

Here are some recent, interesting items of news and views:

IRS: “The Internal Revenue Service has lost emails from five more employees who are part of congressional probes into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status,” the Associated Press reports. Well isn’t that convenient for the IRS?

Islamic State Coming to America? William Forstchen believes Islamic terrorists will likely try to attack “soft targets” in America—movie theaters, schools, churches, and so on. He fears small groups of “professionally trained” killers may be able to “wipe out” an entire school within fifteen minutes. He has a new book out on the topic: Day of Wrath. See his interview with Fox News. Then think about how to protect yourself.

No “Immediate Threat”? Meanwhile, Colorado Senator Mark Udall believes that Islamic State poses no “immediate threat to the homeland,” reports I hope that’s not wishful thinking, but it probably is.

Marijuana Welfare: Recently I asked whether there was any good or service that the left does not want to turn into a welfare program. I’m still looking. Here’s the latest example: “The city of Berkeley has mandated marijuana dispensaries donate at least 2 percent of their inventory to low-income patients,” UPI reports.

Bag Welfare: Meanwhile, even as the state of California has banned retail disposable bags, at least one California county offers plastic bags for “free” to dog owners, as Steve Simpson points out for the Ayn Rand Institute.

Ukraine: The Ukrainians and the Russians are mostly not shooting at each other, at least for the moment, the Associated Press reports.

Indian Poop: Many Indian children suffer from a (perhaps surprising) problem: Many people “defecate outdoors” and thereby spread disease, reports the New York Times. (Hat tip to Conrad Hackett.)

Economy: Although the official unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, August job growth was sluggish and “the labor force participation rate fell to 62.8 percent, from 62.9 percent,” the Week reports.

Discrimination: “A husband and wife who were fined $13,000 and told they could not discriminate against same-sex couples after refusing to allow a gay wedding on their New York farm have announced that they will ‘no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their property,'” the Blaze reports. It’s wrong to discriminate against gay couples, but it’s wrong and rights-violating for government to force the farm owners to serve people they don’t want to serve.

No Ice for Rowe: I thought Mike Rowe offered some pretty good reasons to consider not participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The Myth of 10,000 Hours: Citing the work of Daniel Goleman, Maria Popova points out at Brain Pickings that merely spending 10,000 hours (or any amount of time) doing something won’t necessarily make you better at doing it. You also need focused practice with an aim toward improvement and good feedback on your performance.

Secular Spirituality: Frank Bruni offers a pretty good summary of Sam Harris’s new book, Waking Up, for the New York Times. Bruni asks, “Mightn’t religion be piggybacking on the pre-existing condition of spirituality, a lexicon grafted onto it, a narrative constructed to explain states of consciousness that have nothing to do with any covenant or creed?”

Technology: Check out my Objective Standard take on the video, “Kids React to Old Computers” (meaning the Apple II, which I used in school). One of kids says, “Look at how humanity has used their intellect!”