TCS Daily : February 2003 Archives

Bush the Barbarian?

Q: What is best in life? A: To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. No, those are not the words of George W. Bush. Film buffs immediately recognize Conan... Read More

Man vs. Beast

At Camp Pendleton in Southern California, the U.S. Marine Corps' premier amphibious training base, troops practice the type of beach assault they might one day have to execute on a distant, foreign shore. They swiftly approach across the waves in... Read More

Speak No Evil

Ever since President Bush spoke of the Al Qaeda hijackers as "evil doers," a chorus of academic authorities have derided the President for his choice of words, some claiming that it was simplistic, some claiming that it was Manichean, some... Read More

Space Odyssey

A "good old girl," is how former NASA engineer Homer Hickam eulogized the Space Shuttle Columbia. Columbia has joined her sister ship Challenger in the history of the fallen. Where do we go from here? Three things will come from... Read More

'My Dear Watson' - and Crick

I won't ever forget where I was on November 22, 1963, or what I was doing when I learned John F. Kennedy had been shot. The same goes for September 11, 2001, the day mass terrorism came to America.... Read More

Abundant Goodness

In his famous Natural Theology of 1800, English theologian William Paley advanced the so-called argument from design on behalf of the existence of God: if I should come across a watch, lying in a field, would I not know... Read More

Latin America

One trillion dollars in projected expenditures for 2010. $523 billion in actual expenditures for 2002. A 58% growth rate between 1990 and 2000. The U.S. Defense department budget? Rising health care costs? High-tech investment statistics? None of the above.... Read More

Osama's 'Fresh Tops'

For a number of years, I worked as an editor and writer for what was then one of the three major networks. One of the many wonders I encountered as a new employee was the obituary file. The file contained... Read More

Cherokee Nation

You've got to wonder about the impact of the elites who run our liberal media on we the great unwashed. Day in and day out the doyens of the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, the three major... Read More


The refiling of the lawsuit for two obese teen-agers against McDonald's - Pelman v. McDonald's - brings to mind an old Bill Cosby joke. Cosby is awakened one morning by his tired wife, who tells him to go down... Read More

Don't Believe the Gripe

The first AIDS vaccine to be tested on humans may protect blacks and Asians from the deadly disease, a U.S. biotech company announced this week. And according to doctor and patient groups, a new drug about to be approved is... Read More

Digital Wrongs

Silicon Valley's movers and shakers gathered in Santa Clara last week to debate intellectual property issues and demonstrate how laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) stifle innovation in the technology sector. The "digital rights summit," hosted b Read More

France's Last Best Hope

As France continues to assert its place as the world's prime dissenter on Iraq, it's easy to wave off the behavior as typical of that nation's perennial political opposition to U.S. policies. Slice through this crust, though, and it turns... Read More

Enabling Enron

Will members of Congress ever make the tax code so ridiculous that they themselves cannot understand it? Trick question. They already did. The Joint Committee on Taxation ("JCT") issued a 2,700-page report on Enron's complicated tax schemes. JCT members... Read More

Guerrilla Media

One of the interesting things about this war is that - presumably because people feel that "mainstream" media aren't talking about the things they think are important - ordinary Americans have gone out of their way to express themselves. In... Read More

A Defense of the French

Everyone hates the French now, and always has. Perhaps. But I would like to say a word in their defense, and if you don't want to forgive the ones who are alive today, at least consider forgiving the ones... Read More

Cooperative Extension

"Great discoveries and improvements," Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, once said, "invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments, I... Read More

Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxicology may sound like the most boring of subjects, but it governs most of the environmental laws and regulations on the books. Thus if it miscalculates, society may spend billions too much to clean up toxic substances. Indeed, it may... Read More

Blue Blockers

Inspector Gregory: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" Sherlock Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time." "The dog did nothing in the night-time." "That was the curious incident,"... Read More

The Great Leveler

A friend whose judgment you trust tells you about an interesting stock. Or you read a newspaper article about an intriguing business, or run across one at work or at the mall. Or your dentist tells you that there's this... Read More

Tolerating Intolerance

On February 5, the Wall Street Journal published a remarkable story about how taxpayer-supported operations within prisons are used to spread radicalism and sedition in America. Although the story focused on one chaplain, Warith Deen Umar, it could be... Read More

A Toy Story

The Consumer Product Safety Commission did the right thing last week in ruling rubber duckies and other children's vinyl toys pose "no demonstrated health risk" to children. This should end a long-running controversy contrived by environmental extremists. "Consumer Read More

Enterprise 101

In Europe, where people are looking for any excuse to make fun of Americans, there's a story going around about President George W. Bush's first meeting with French President Jacques Chirac. Seems Bush confided afterwards to British Prime Minister... Read More

Information Awareness

Thomas Bayes, an 18th-century pioneer in statistics, has been in the news quite a bit lately. This story, for example, describes Microsoft's plan to incorporate Bayesian analysis. "The technology will be embedded in future Microsoft software and is intended... Read More

GI Joe as Superman

This isn't quite Superman's X-ray vision. But it's close enough to bring giggles to anyone who's ever read a comic book. The U.S. Air Force and Army are co-funding a project that allows, in a limited way, its troops... Read More

Good American Hypocrisy

"The first pictures of 'liberated' Baghdad will show Iraqi children making victory signs to American tank crews." Except for the mocking quotation marks around 'liberated,' it would be hard to guess that the author of this remark was Robert... Read More

'Technically Unsound'

Question: How can science prove that the apocalypse will happen in a century from now? Answer: Use models, introduce some small biases in the beginning and because of the logic of compounded interest one will surely end up with the... Read More

Mixing Apples and Oranges

Editor's note: For another take on legacy admissions, "Harvard via eBay", click here. With the Supreme Court's decision to hear a lawsuit against the University of Michigan School of Law's policy of race-based admissions, and with the Bush administration's... Read More

North vs. South

While continued European political opposition to genetically modified food may soon cause a trade war with the United States, European policy is already contributing to starvation in Africa. Rejection of American GM food aid is exacerbating the current food crisis. Read More

Are We at War Yet?

It is often assumed that the absence of a shooting war is something called "peace." In the abstract, "peace" exists before the shooting starts. When you send in the troops, and engage in combat, you are at war. Yet in... Read More

Boston Free Party

The Libertarian Party is not exactly known for its electoral successes. Libertarian candidates lose most elections badly and those few that they do win tend to be for local offices. They have never held more than a handful of state... Read More

Get 'Forrest Gump'

So what are we to make of these Osama bin Laden audiotapes? For more than a year the pundits and experts have spent an enormous amount of time studying every new alleged recording and hypothesizing why bin Laden refuses to... Read More

Moderate No More

That stint on the Democratic Ticket - and the concomitant six months on the road with "Earth in the Balance" author Al Gore - made quite a mark on Senator and presidential aspirant Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.). Since that time... Read More

Shredder for Hire

Auditors have taken a beating lately, with good reason. A few guardians of the investor class collaborated with crooked executives in the world's largest accounting scandals. Why would a few rogue auditors gamble so recklessly with the livelihoods of 85,000... Read More

Parlez-Vous Frangais?

Since the end of World War II, France has pursued two main foreign policy goals. The first has been to prevent intra-European conflict-and especially conflict with Germany-through the creation of a united Europe that, under French (or as it developed,... Read More

Foundering Fathers

In 1787, the greatest statesmen and political minds from across a continent gathered in Philadelphia to lay the groundwork for a new nation conceived in liberty. They were led by George Washington, already a hero of the nation both for... Read More

A 'Commons' Misconception

In The Mystery of Capital, Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto argues that poorly defined property rights contribute to poverty in underdeveloped countries. In those countries, poor people live in houses to which no one has clear title. As a... Read More

'The Biggest Show in Town'

Last February, the EU convened a 'Future of Europe' Convention made up of the 15 member states and 13 candidate countries to decide how an enlarged Union of 28 nations should operate. Under the chairmanship of former French President Valéry... Read More

How To Protest A War

"War is not the answer." I have noticed this sign cropping up all around the university that is near my home, and my first thought whenever I see it is, "How true." After all, think of the all the... Read More

A Poet Dissents

When the petitions came round on the Internet, asking me to join a nationwide list of poets opposed to the apparently imminent war with Iraq, I erased them at once, but gave them little thought. Perhaps I should have replied,... Read More

Profile in Conservative Courage

After months of noisy foreplay, Michael Powell has failed to produce. Today, one Republican and two Democrat members of the Federal Communications Commission forged a new working majority and thwarted their own chairman's plan to strip states of their power... Read More

The 'Central' Issue

With the FCC set to announce the policies that it will employ to further phone competition, the debate between FCC Chairman Michael Powell and commissioner Kevin Martin has received an enormous amount of press coverage. Mr. Martin's split from Chairman... Read More

Deconstructing WorldCom

The federal government and courts seem intent on using whatever heroic measures are necessary to keep alive bankrupt WorldCom, which is the home of what experts have described as the largest accounting scandal is U.S. history. But does such an... Read More

Power for the Sun

For the last four billion or so years the Sun has been producing energy from the simplest of elements, hydrogen. It is a powerful energy source and it is abundant here on Earth. But is it the answer to our... Read More

Are Fast Foods Addictive?

A number of studies have emerged recently that try to claim that fast food is "as addictive as heroin." This cancerous cluster caused the once-respectable magazine New Scientist to ask the question on its front cover, "Can Fast Food Alter... Read More

Bad Medicine

A disconcerting letter has been circulating among physicians recently. It's from a group called Physicians for a National Health Program. You might have heard of them. Their chief spokesmen are Dr. Marcia Angell, a former editor of The New... Read More

Ignorance or Bliss?

Geoffrey Sommer of the Rand Corporation thinks that ignorance might be bliss, at least in one narrow set of circumstances: In certain circumstances, nothing could be done to avoid such a collision and ensuing destruction, and it would be... Read More

The Real Wealth Gap

A new study from the Federal Reserve says that the wealth gap between rich and poor grew wider as the stock market boomed in the late 1990s. The most obvious reason is that more than half of all American families... Read More

Dune and Gloom in Iraq?

Call it the Dune Scenario. It's a vision of the future that overlaps, a bit, with the sandy sci-fi saga of Frank Herbert. That is, just as Herbert's planet Arrakis was a sort of Islamicized world -- the protagonist... Read More

France's Public Blackmail

If there were any doubts that some world powers are determined to disregard the opinion of smaller countries, try to coerce them into accepting policies that serve only the interests of the powerful, use aggressive rhetoric, and in general act... Read More

Worrying about El Niqo

The first El Niño of the 21st Century began unfolding last year, and is partly blamed for warm surface temperatures, floods and droughts. Will El Niño events intensify or increase in frequency if surface temperatures were to rise from continued... Read More

Un-Founding Fathers (and Parents)

The Founding Fathers would be mortified and ashamed by the latest litigation frolic against McDonald's. They brought forth a new nation conceived in self-discipline, heroism, and a conviction that we are masters of our fate, captains of our soul.... Read More

FCC: Preserve State Role

The Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to act this week on new rules for the implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. To look inside the FCC process, Tech Central Station Host James Glassman talked with former FCC Commissioner Harold... Read More

From Telecommunism to Telecosm

"At wavelengths running from the millimeters of microwaves down to the nanometers of visible light -- is the new frontier of the millennium, empires of air and fiber that command some 50,000 times more communications potential than all the... Read More

Asia Major - but Ignored

What ever happened to Asia? Last time I looked, 3.5 billion people lived there -- three times as many as in North America and Europe combined. Asia is the fastest-growing part of the world and already accounts for one-quarter of... Read More

Global Warming Trends

Global warming has to be one of the strangest policy debates the country has ever seen. Sure there are always two or more competing sides, pandering, demagoguery and outright dishonesty in every policy debate. But in the case of global... Read More

Digital Divide Myth

I hear the term "digital divide" used all the time, but it has this vague, elusive definition that just doesn't sit well with me. In fact, I believe a "digital divide" doesn't exist. The term is often used to define... Read More

The Worst Form of Violence

Poverty is the worst form of violence; this notion comes from the pacifist philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. The United Nations estimates that to avoid famine some 13 million of the poorest of the poor in countries across southern Africa will... Read More

The Death of Common Sense

People like me write these columns for a reason. We believe we can make a difference. We identify gaps between public opinion and common sense, and we try to reconcile these differences. Maybe a particular change in the tax code... Read More

The Fatal Conceit Revisited

Only you know the fine points of your life. Only you know the changing details. Only you can know. That's one of the classic economic arguments against government intervention. The vital stuff of the economy is unknowable to bureaucrats... Read More

Inter Modal Monopoly

On Feb. 7, just before the Federal Communication Commission is due to report out the triennial review, word leaked that SBC is in talks to buy out satellite operator DirectTV from General Motors Hughes for a handy $10 billion. What... Read More

Degrees of Freedom

Daniel C. Dennett is a prominent philosopher with a sharp-edged public persona. He has focused on issues of evolution, consciousness and free will, and his positions could be correctly, if concisely, summed up as Darwinism, materialism and determinism. He has... Read More

Runaway Regulator

There are two powerful Powells in Washington. While Powell pere has been laying the groundwork for war with Iraq, Powell fils, the 39-year-old lawyer who chairs the Federal Communications Commission, has been getting ready for his own showdown. Two weeks... Read More

Bush's Devilish Deficits

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's criticisms this week of President George W. Bush's stimulus plan have led some in the media to attack elimination of taxation on dividends as a deficit devil. In fact, the tax reforms would make America... Read More

Service Subsidies

Decades-long efforts by the European Union to wean industries off of government subsidies face being undermined by the European Court of Justice in the next few months. Depending on how the judges in the EU's highest court rule in three... Read More

Rage Against the Machine

The war on SUV owners has reached a fever pitch of late, with ad campaigns, columnists, and star-studded advertorials raging against the machines. Now, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and far be it from me to presume that... Read More

Valentine's Day Trap

We are all in a horrible Valentine's Day trap with no solution but for men to waste large sums of money on expensive, soon-to-die, thorn-studded vegetation. Why do men give flowers to their girlfriends on Valentine's Day and why do... Read More

Security in Numbers

It's time to turn over part of the responsibility for Homeland Security to "smart mobs." That's the term Howard Rheingold gave, in his book by the same name (Perseus, 2002) to "groups of people who are able to act... Read More

The Genie's Curse

In the first third of the eighteenth century the Portuguese economy was revolutionized by the discovery of gold in its colony, Brazil, with the result that by 1720 Portugal had to pass laws to discourage the spate of emigration that... Read More

Mending Malpractice Mania

Medical malpractice insurance premiums are out of joint. Some doctors are fleeing high premium states for more physician friendly jurisdictions. In certain specialties in certain states, premiums have climbed above $250,000 annually. Other beleaguered health care Read More

To Fear and to Fund

Most invitations to press conferences are dull. But one sent out last April by the Swedish National Food Administration hinted that a cancer-causing chemical had been found in a wide range of foods. The levels of this mystery chemical were... Read More

Timing on Telecom

Timing is everything, so one adage goes. And action speaks louder than words, says another. The conjunction of the SBC bid for Hughes' DirecTV satellite operation and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell decision to delay a vote on... Read More

Join the Conversation

I've been known to forget about Valentine's Day, but I always remember that February brings with it the Economic Report of the President, produced by the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). As usual, this year's report is informative and... Read More

Smell the CAFE

Is there any public policy more durable and beloved by its supporters than CAFE? For those not intimately versed with Washington-speak, CAFE is the acronym for "corporate average fuel economy." Under these federal standards, passed by Congress in 1975,... Read More

Islam and Development

Why has the Arab civilization, which reached its apogee when Europe languished in its dark Middle Ages, been declining for so many centuries? In the Arab literature external causes have been emphasized, such as the ousting of the Arabs from... Read More

A Pack, Not a Herd (Again)

The loss of Columbia has raised a lot of interesting questions about the future of human spaceflight, and I'm gratified to see that even folks who are often dense about the subject, like the editors of the New York... Read More

Combat Checklist

One year ago [2/13/2002], the Washington Post published my article "Cakewalk In Iraq" which predicted that "demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk." Though that view has been denounced, even disparaged, by nearly everyone from Read More

Failure and Fantasy

Few things are more important for a society than the way it explains failure to itself; and in this a society is not unlike an individual. We all know people who are continually shifting the blame for their own failures... Read More

No Economic Sense

As Congress begins to consider new tax cuts, the FCC is debating what would amount to a major tax increase for each and every American household. I refer here to the very substantial telephone and broadband price hikes that will... Read More

Guns and Economics

In 1998, the new Canadian gun-control legislation started coming into force. The term "force" is not a figure of style. Since January 2001, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have become paper criminals because they did not get the renewable and... Read More

War and Peace (of mind)

Colin Powell's UN speech, while containing overwhelming proof of Iraq's continuing intransigence in dealing with UN weapons inspectors, has done little to sway political opinion in some key European capitals and in Moscow. Already, Russia - as one of the... Read More

Screen Savers

When President Bush last month called Saddam Hussein's performance with U.N. inspectors "a rerun of a bad movie," he could just easily have been talking about the year-end statements investors just got from their mutual funds. Over the five years... Read More

That's Entertainment!

Hollywood isn't looking for heroes. Actually, it's usually looking for the next villain. During the 80s Cold War, the Soviet Union made for a perfect enemy, producing classic bad guys like Ivan Drago (Rocky IV), the Russian Army occupying Afghanistan... Read More

'Normalization of Deviance'

"An Accident Rooted in History," was the title of Chapter VI of the Rogers Commission report on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Originally meant to refer to the clues in past incidents involving the fragile O-ring seals in space shuttle... Read More

Taking It Up a Level

The Bush administration has raised its terror threat level to orange, the second-highest ranking. Too bad it doesn't mean a whole lot to national defense, experts say. Local authorities and private companies are often the ones most directly responsible for... Read More

Overcoming Monopoly

Some businesses achieve dominance by skill, innovation, and daring enterprise. Such entrepreneurial genius should be encouraged, not punished. It is what has made America an economic colossus. But local phone monopolists, i.e., the Baby Bells, attained dominance by Read More

Elite Hypocrisy

From their high moral perch, European journalists, artists and intellectuals are hurling thunderbolts of invective against the Untied States. After all, the U.S. is the country that opposed the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court, that attacked the Read More

The Language Barrier

"There's been a lot of bad news out there in the world economy lately. Supposed economic superpowers like Germany and Japan have fallen on hard times; Asian tigers that thought the future belonged to them suddenly find that it belongs... Read More

Great Alaska Shootout II

Frustrated with an inability to achieve their political aims through legislation, climate change alarmists are trying new tactics. In the February issue of Scientific American, an article titled "Greenhouse suits" tells us that litigation is now "a [popular] tool. Read More

Telecom Countdown

Iraq wasn't the only one recently facing a countdown from a man named Powell. Competition in the vital telecommunications sector faces one, too. Just as Secretary of State Colin Powell has said time is running out on Iraq, his son,... Read More

Old Europe's Duplicity

"Secretary of State Colin Powell presented the United Nations and a global television audience yesterday with the most powerful case to date that Saddam Hussein stands in defiance of Security Council resolutions," intoned the ever wary, anti-Bush administration New Read More

Taking the Terror
Cult Seriously

The Bush administration was unquestionably acting with the best possible intention when it attempted to alter the term "suicide bomber" into "homicide bomber," and it is certainly understandable why people, both within and outside the administration, might flinch a Read More

Smoke Free Europe

At a recent press conference in London - launching a report by scientists from the UK and the USA - the Welsh Member of Parliament Paul Flynn called for the UK government to back a bid to over-turn the EU... Read More

Moral Courage

Despite a severe famine in southern Zambia, the Zambian government rejected maize from the World Food Program, a consortium of relief agencies. The Zambian government not only rejected the food aid but demanded that it be removed from the country.... Read More

Weasel Words

Scott Ott, the publisher of blog called ScrappleFace, was recently able to achieve the kind of fame and influence that blogs rarely enjoy. Ott wrote a parody news story in which Donald Rumsfeld apologizes for calling France and Germany... Read More

Should I Blog or Should I Go?

No matter where you go on the Internet these days, you're bound to stumble across a few web logs, those non-commercial sites where people journal their observations and thoughts for the pleasure of others. In fact, these popular pages of... Read More

When the Music Stops

Last week marked another stage in the battle between Hollywood and the technology industry when Verizon Communications appealed a judge's order to reveal the identity of an alleged music pirate to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The... Read More

Anniversary Thoughts

New England newspapers carry a standing headline nearly every winter: "Blizzard buries (or 'blasts' for the monosyllabic-minded headline writer) Boston, Thousands stranded as Logan Airport closes." New Englanders have vast experience with storms piling 10 to 15 inc Read More

'An Unbiased Jury'

Secretary of State Colin Powell has now laid out convincing, irrefutable evidence that Iraq is systematically deceiving UN weapons inspectors. Secretary Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council offered compelling proof of Iraqi intransigence, taken from te Read More

Legal Tyrannies

An important question is raised by two new books on the nation's legal outrages: What are trial lawyers costing the economy and prospects for future growth? The timing for the books by Catherine Crier, The Case Against Lawyers, and Walter... Read More

The Deficit Club

Back when my AEI colleague Newt Gingrich masterminded a Republican capture of the House of Representatives, many observers believed that his cleverest strategy was to publish a "Contract With America" that committed his party members to a number of solemn... Read More

Single Minded

Considering that ten new countries are going to join the EU in 2004, implementation of the 'acquis communautaire', the EU body of law, is of paramount importance for a well-functioning single market and a high-level playing field for all member... Read More

Size Matters

Floridians are facing a multi-billion-dollar bill over the next eight years to pay for small classes in kindergarten through 12th grade. Amendment 9 passed narrowly in the November election: By 2010, classes will be set at 18 children in kindergarten... Read More

A Revolution, Almost

Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine formally recognized that medicine is on the threshold of a revolution. The recognition was a subtle but important one. Tucked away among the headline-grabbing latest research papers for the past couple of... Read More

Beyond the Shuttle

A friend at NASA's Marshall Space flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama told me today that all his engineer friends were working on their resumes. After the Challenger disaster, NASA dithered for 2.5 years before using the shuttle again. How long... Read More

234 to 142

Much ado will be made this week about French president Jacques Chirac's continued insistence - despite British Prime Minister Tony Blair's efforts Tuesday - that he will not join an American-backed coalition to take military action against Iraq and Saddam... Read More

Realism on African AIDS

President Bush wants to help end the AIDS crisis in Africa. It's a laudable aim but will throwing $15bn of taxpayer funding at the problem ensure its demise? The answer is a resounding no. The reality is that African countries... Read More

Out of Africa

It's a welcome event in Brussels when you can get past the political posturing and double-speak and finally hear some straight, sincere talk. And, lo and behold, that's just what happened at a quiet press conference in a hotel basement... Read More

As Maine Goes...

COOPER, Maine - An old political adage says: As Maine goes, so goes the nation. It refers to the fact that, due to a short harvest season and bad November weather, Maine used to vote in September. After Maine voted... Read More

Mr. Bush's War

Not long ago, in an essay entitled "Bush's Wanton War," Mr. Michael Hammerschlag wrote that "if we invade Iraq, it will be only because George Bush wants to...." This is a statement that deserves serious consideration, though, at first blush,... Read More

Choices in Space

The immediate focus in the aftermath of the destruction of the shuttle Columbia is on mourning the lost astronauts, determining what went wrong, and figuring out near-term questions of manned space exploration: When will the shuttles fly again? Should the... Read More

Comic Book Wisdom

The X-Men, Marvel Comics' popular mutant heroes sworn to protect a world that hates and fears them, were declared "nonhuman creatures" in a Jan. 3 ruling by Judge Judith Barzilay of the U.S. Court of International Trade. This allowed Marvel... Read More

Freedom and Survival

In the wake of the Columbia tragedy, the arguments of the pro-space constituency are strong, but not strong enough. If space advocates can't bring themselves to make the most powerful arguments of all-that space is vital to human freedom, even... Read More

It's the War, Stupid

What's worrying the stock market? War. Sure, investors are disappointed that corporate profits have not rebounded vigorously and that the economy grew, as we learned Thursday, just 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. But those problems, too,... Read More

Power Politics

"A few years from now a glass of water like this could be a luxury, if politicians can't agree on a way to protect our water supplies," exclaims a fictitious assistant in a new cartoon strip published by the European... Read More

Securing the Future

The bodies have been found, and the Columbia disaster is now out of the initial phase. NASA has done a good job getting off the mark, with Homeland Security and local law-enforcement officials activated within minutes, and an independent... Read More

Reason and the Omen

That spectacular symbol of American technological triumphalism, the space shuttle Columbia, shatters over the town of Palestine, and its ghastly debris, both human and machine, rains down upon the home state of the sitting American President only weeks, if... Read More

A Modest (Nine-Step) Proposal

Recent polling data suggests we should dispense with scientific research altogether. Global warming is the problem. The three-part answer is adopting the Kyoto treaty, imposing higher fuel economy standards on SUV's, and putt-putting around town in electric cars. T Read More

Hating Why They Hate Us

Why They Hate Us is a new study from two professors at Boston University that supposedly demonstrates a deeply-held dislike of American culture among young people around the world (including the United States). There are two major problems with this... Read More


OxyContin, the potent prescription painkiller, is in the spotlight - again. Two summers ago it was news because drug addicts in New England and Appalachia were injecting it to get a heroin-like high. Pharmacies were robbed, drug-rings sprang up, unscrupulous... Read More

Slovenia's NATO Worries

An Orthodox Christmas Eve in ex-Yugoslav army barracks, now turned alternative club. Twenty- and thirty-somethings sip Serbian beer and watch a 1971 Yugoslav cult film that combines insights into the orgonomic theories of the late Wilhelm Reich with ridicule of... Read More

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