Linked and Loaded

Links to what I’ve been reading.

Ron Paul For The GOP Nomination

Andrew Sullivan

Which brings me to Ron Paul. Let me immediately say I do not support many of his nuttier policy proposals. I am not a doctrinaire libertarian. Paul’s campaign for greater oversight of the Fed is great, but abolition of it is utopian and dangerous.

[…]Breaking the grip of neoconservative belligerence on conservative thought and the Republican party could make space again for more reasoned and seasoned managers of foreign policy. Embracing the diversity of a multi-cultural, multi-faith America is incompatible with Christianism and the ugly anti-illegal immigrant fervor among the Republican base. But it is perfectly compatible with a modest, humble libertarianism that allows a society to find its own way, without constant meddling and intervention in people’s lives. Just as vitally, no other Republican (or Democrat) would end the war on drugs, one of the most counter-productive, authoritarian campaigns against individual liberty this country has known since Prohibition.

How Do You Prove Someone’s a Witch in Saudi Arabia?

Uri Friedman

In yet another reminder that the phrase “witch hunts” isn’t only used figuratively these days, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced on Monday that it had beheaded a woman named Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser for practicing “witchcraft and sorcery.” The London-based al-Hayatnewspaper, citing the chief of the religious police who arrested the woman after a report from a female investigator, claims Nasser was tricking people into paying $800 per session to have their illnesses cured.

So, how did Saudi authorities prove Nasser was a witch? The government hasn’t gone into detail, but a look at the kingdom’s past witchcraft cases suggests the bar for proving someone guilty isn’t very high. Witch hunting is fairly institutionalized in Saudi Arabia, with the country’s religious police running an Anti-Witchcraft Unit and a sorcery hotline to combat practices like astrology and fortune telling that are considered un-Islamic.

Modeling a Skyrim Shock to the US Economy

Matt Yglesias

I don’t think Dave Banks seriously believes that the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been a disaster for the American economy, but if we pretend to take him seriously for a moment I think it has some interesting consequences[…]

Meet the big-bank critic Republicans love.

Suzy Khimm

Partisan warfare has erupted over Richard Cordray, Obama’s nominee to lead a new consumer finance watchdog, whom Republicans filibustered in the Senate last week, raising concerns that the agency would become a “Stalinist” enemy of Wall Street. But waiting in the wings is another Obama nominee who’s long raised hackles of the country’s biggest financial institutions. And this time, Republicans have resoundingly embraced him.

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