TCS Daily : May 2004 Archives

Fortress Warsaw

The recent European Economic Summit in Warsaw was a meeting marked by paradoxes. The elite politicians and businessmen who attended remain convinced that the most effective way to regulate the economy is through central planning, protectionism and interventionism. Read More

Boom Time

Baby boomers, as all of us born between 1946 and 1964 know very well, constitute the most important generation of the most important country on the most important planet in the most important universe in all of history. Call... Read More

A Conservative Case for "The Swan"

For generations the story of the ugly duckling has reassured children and preteens unnerved by pimples, horn-rimmed glasses and retarded development. In every ugly duckling, parents reveal, may lie a beautiful swan. The promise of transformation provides hope to.. Read More

Sell High, Buy Low! (Actually, Don't Buy at All)

"A simplistic quick fix," according to the May 19 New York Times. "Political theater," says the May 20 Wall Street Journal. The editors of these august newspapers were referring to a proposal to sell oil from the U.S. government's... Read More

The Catastrophic Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

In 1883, America's foremost hydrologist feared life on the Mississippi was nearing extinction. Judging by what silt had done since the Civil War, he averred the mighty waterway must have shrunk 99.9%, losing over a million miles in the... Read More

An Interview with R. Glenn Hubbard

As he prepares to become the dean of Columbia Business School, Duane Freese of TCS sat down with former Chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) R. Glenn Hubbard to discuss the his new job, the economy,... Read More

The Builders of Iraq

"All are architects of Fate,/Working in these walls of Time;/Some with massive deeds and great,/Some with ornaments of rhyme. Nothing useless is, or low;/Each thing in its place is best;/And what seems but idle show/Strengthens and supports the rest."... Read More

Stigma and Superstition in Asia's "Wild West"

Last year, five orphaned seven-year olds could not enroll in their village school in Thailand's northeast because their caretakers at the orphanage informed the school of their HIV positive status. Enraged community leaders, teachers and parents protested en masse Read More

The Forty Years War

"Political debate began to decline around the turn of the century [1900], curiously enough at a time when the press was becoming more 'responsible,' more professional, more conscious of its civic obligations." -- Chistopher Lasch, The Revolt of the... Read More

Dishing It Out, But Not Taking It

When it comes to criticism, Morgan Spurlock, director of "Super Size Me," can dish it out, but he sure can't take it. Ask him a tough question, and he turns to blubber. Suddenly, journalists are beginning to catch on... Read More

Are We Out of Gas?

With gasoline oil prices seemingly rocketing to Jupiter, and with newly-published books like "Out of Gas: The End of the Age of Oil" and "The End of Oil," it seems fair to ask if the world's fuel tank needle... Read More

Thank Poor Al Gore

Poor Al Gore. First he blows an election, failing to carry his home state. Then he backs Howard Dean. Next, he goes to New York to promote the Kyoto global warming treaty, and it turns out to be the... Read More

Blame Shame

Michael Berg finds himself in the horrible position of outliving his own child. As the world now knows, a video shows one of the world's most wanted terrorists -- Abu Musab al Zarqawi, a high-ranking al Qaeda leader --... Read More

First, Do No Harm Reduction?

Half a century of tobacco regulation has had dramatic effects on smoking behavior in the United States. But at the beginning of the twenty-first century, according to the Center for Disease Control, a definable "hard core" of cigarette smokers... Read More

Bad Cartoons Make Bad Citizens

Bad cartoons tend to make bad citizens. And my generation suffered from the worst cartoons of all. Pity the poor male children of Generation X: there we sat, on Saturday mornings in the '70s and early '80s, clutching our... Read More

Out to Lunch

Sometimes one reads serious press releases from the European Commission and wonders whether to laugh or cry. Take this one: On May 22 David Byrne, the Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner (a wonderfully Orwellian title), announced that it is... Read More

Spitzer v. Grasso

In light of the filing of New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's long-awaited suit against former New York Stock Exchange CEO Richard Grasso, two thoughts come to mind: (1) The government has no business setting executive compensation. Granted, Spitzer... Read More

Iraqis Need to Bear the Burden

How's this for conscientious objection? If the new Iraqi army does not want to participate in military operations in Iraq, it doesn't have to. Americans will do the work instead. One might think such an arrangement would be the... Read More

Spinning for Al Qaeda

At the very moment Americans are rightly incensed at the Iraqi prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib, Al Qaeda cut off Nick Berg's head in front of a camera, plastered the snuff film all over the Internet, and claimed the... Read More

Uganda's New War

KAMPALA, Uganda - "It's a war, and we need the best weapons." As he is a soldier, it comes as no surprise that Uganda's Minister of Health, Brigadier Jim Muhwezi, describes his country's efforts to control malaria thus. But... Read More

Russia's Vacillations on Kyoto

For more than a year the Kremlin has been dithering about signing the Kyoto Protocol, which aims at curbing CO2 emissions in order to counter purported man-made global warming. During that period many prominent Russian opponents of Kyoto have... Read More

Will Tomorrow Ever Come?

No greater aim has science fiction -- or any form of fiction -- than to make big money. Profit and drama rank highest, well ahead of any science learning. Indeed, the science in science fiction is often just a... Read More

An Anti-Growth Pact?

Russia announced at its summit with the EU last Friday that it will speed up its accession to the Kyoto Protocol in return for Brussels' support for Moscow's bid to join the World Trade Organization. The deal represents another... Read More

A Nanotechnology Turnaround?

I've written some pessimistic columns on nanotechnology lately. In essence, my concern was that the nanotechnology industry was pursuing an ostrich-like strategy, trying to deny the potential risks posed by nanotechnology in the hope that nobody would notice. The. Read More

The Kyoto End-Game Begins

On Friday May 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced to the world that, in order to gain EU backing for Russia's entry to the WTO, he would "speed up movement towards ratification of the Kyoto protocol." Many have interpreted... Read More

The Real Health Care Robbers

The medical diagnostic representative told me, "No, the story isn't true." The "story" was one I'd overheard at an American Enterprise Institute forum in the capital on access to AIDS drugs in developing countries the week before. It had... Read More

Measuring Santa Monica's Feet

Back at the turn of the month Santa Monica City Council proudly announced that they had reduced the ecological footprint of their pleasant urb by 167 square miles. As the city occupies only 8.3 square miles, perhaps a little... Read More

Right on Science?

"Papers are getting it right on science," crowed the Globe and Mail, citing the results of a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) (Picard, 2004). But even in covering a study about media accuracy, the Globe... Read More

Stuck in Purple America

SAN FRANCISCO -- As I walk around Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown and North Beach -- oh, especially North Beach -- I can't help but reflect on all that one misses out on by living in Red America. The City... Read More

Well at Breakfast, Dead by Dinner

Sue-Anne Sanig is one of those special people that from time to time you have the privilege to meet in life. At our first meeting she recounted in a controlled but sensitive way how her son Stephen was perfectly... Read More

If You Know Nothing, You Can Still Know Something Important

The stock market has been suffering, like the rest of us, from the terrible news out of Iraq, but it's also suffering from the good news out of the U.S. economy. This may be puzzling, but your mission as... Read More

The Destabilizing Oil Speculator

"John Kerry's quick-fix suggestion that the strategic petroleum reserve be opened is simply another example of political opportunism; he made more sense in 2000 when he opposed opening the reserve." -- James Robbins, National Review Online, 5-19-04 "In short,... Read More

A Real Harlem Renaissance

No sooner had Columbia University made its public announcement about plans to build a new section of its campus in West Harlem, then activists, both from the Harlem community and within Columbia itself, started their not unpredictable tirades against... Read More

The Real Explanation for Google's Success

What's left to say, now that Google's plans to go public has evoked the predictable reactions -- everything from encomiums for the principals' decision to spread the wealth beyond the usual investment banker suspects to contrarian predictions that the... Read More

Indonesia's Year of Living Electorally

In Indonesia, the third biggest democracy in the world with 147 million voters, this is The Year of Living Electorally. No new laws, no policy direction, probably no complete government line-up, until 2005. For after the first round of... Read More

Fund Follies

Investors punished mutual funds in the 2003 late-trading and market-timing scandals the old-fashioned way -- by withdrawing their money and going somewhere else. For instance, shareholders last year pulled $29 billion out of the funds of Putnam Investment Manageme Read More

Who's Afraid of RFID?

Imagine a technology that promised to deliver diapers, baby food, and medicines to young parents less expensively. Every caring person should embrace it, but recent developments risk thwarting such a technology. Radio frequency identification tags (RFID) are the s Read More

Technological Tap Dance

"Public safety is not negotiable." -- Joseph Adelstein, FCC Commissioner It sounds to me as though Commissioner Adelstein and others are digging into a position that providers of Internet-based telephone service -- Voice over IP, or VOIP, for short... Read More

The Arab Street and the Murder of Nicholas Berg

The events of the past few weeks in Iraq, culminating in the grotesque murder of Nicholas Berg, have left many of us with a bitter taste. The morality of our mission has been sullied by the vulgar inhumanity exhibited... Read More

The Better Part of Life

"The better part of one's life consists of friendship." This adage comes from Rumsfeld's Rules, which the man currently under fire attributes to that other Illinois politico - who was once under even more fire -- Abraham Lincoln. Don... Read More

The Neglected Point of Abu Ghraib

Currently, there is much confusion and dispute about what is and is not abusive treatment. Some activists consider sleep deprivation to be abuse while the Pentagon lawyers do not. Some news anchors consider forced kneeling or even nakedness to... Read More

Reaping What Biopharming Sows

Want safer, cheaper drugs? Don't we all. Well, biotechnology applied in an ingenious new way might be the answer -- if activists and regulators don't get in the way. Gene-splicing techniques increasingly are being used to program common crop... Read More

Liberalization and the Indian Elections

Last week's election results in India caught virtually everyone unawares. Nearly as surprising was the dramatic drop of 11% in India's leading stock market index, the Bombay sensex. While the drama in the aftermath of the election continues with... Read More

Go Tech, Young Man!

Did you ever see a dream walking? Well, during NASDAQ's recent 12th investor program for the technology sector at Merrill Lynch's London headquarters, the dream was walking, talking and power-pointing all day long. In twelve presentations, a number of... Read More

"A Travesty of a Mockery of a Sham"

Explaining U.S. policies and actions to the world -- and fighting the lies being told about us -- has never been more important. But never have we botched the job so badly. This job -- promoting the national interest... Read More

The Connecticut Con

Despite the valiant efforts of a few state legislators to bring fiscal responsibility back into government, the Connecticut state legislature's recent passage of a controversial bill is best described as an exercise in rational ignorance. The bill, SB 595,... Read More

Prison Abuse, Language Abuse

"The soldiers who were guarding the bridge took turns to see who could hit my face the hardest. After the contest, they tried to force dog dung through my teeth, bounced rocks off of my chest, jabbed me with... Read More

The Top One Percent Includes You

Presidential aspirant John Kerry likes to discuss "the wealthiest one percent". In this he is following in the footsteps of Al Gore who, when running for president, excoriated the one percenters to drive a wedge between them and the... Read More

The New Imperatives of Non-Proliferation

A little more than a decade after the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a young Harvard professor named Henry Kissinger predicted that this new technology would quickly proliferate: "Within a generation... Read More

"Evidence-Based Scientific Research"?

One of the lovely things about being a Green preacher is that the media usually lets you get away with being a sanctimonious hypocrite. The Australian media recently reported the righteous anger of one David Risstrom -- a candidate... Read More

Dead Moratorium

The moratorium on authorizing new genetically modified (GM) products for the EU market is about to end as the European Commission announced its approval of the GM maize product known as Bt-11. The Bt-11 corn, produced by the Swiss... Read More

Gas Prices Might Not Be the Only Ones Rising

Recent articles in The Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times are begging the question: Are the White House and federal regulators going to allow the local Bell operating monopolies -- SBC, Verizon, Bell South and Qwest -- to... Read More

The Day After "The Day After Tomorrow"

Everyone loves to talk about the weather, and leave it to Hollywood to capitalize on our fascination with the atmosphere. Some of the greatest movie scenes of all times have featured incredible lightning, hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, dust... Read More

Overmatching the Gods

"Against stupidity," Friedrich Schiller wrote, "the very gods themselves contend in vain." The world is full of examples of this phenomenon, but today I'm going to mention just one: the wave of anti-vaccination sentiment that has led to the... Read More

Lessons of a Murder

Last week we witnessed the brutal murder of Nick Berg -- a medieval beheading videotaped and posted to the Internet for the world to see. Meanwhile in Gaza terrorists decapitated a Israeli Defense Force soldier and waved the head... Read More

Expiating Liberal Guilt

A recurring theme in liberal thought is that wealth and poverty are undeserved. Where we end up in the social hierarchy, liberals say, depends far more on happenstance than on merit. Some people are born to advantage, others to... Read More

Pondering Animals

In the 1960s and 1970s, amid reports of sign-language-using chimpanzees and big-brained dolphins, an expansive picture of animal intelligence took hold in public opinion and among parts of the scientific community. The view that some nonhuman species possess consi Read More

Paris, Taxes

An interesting policy debate is taking place in Paris. On one side is an international bureaucracy that opposes tax competition. This organization wants to hinder the flow of jobs and capital from high-tax nations to low-tax jurisdictions. It endorses... Read More

Buying a Car in Pakistan

Last week, the Pakistani government placed an order for a luxurious Mercedes Cardiac ambulance at a cost of more than 13 million rupees (about $225,000). The vehicle, first of its kind, will be used exclusively by a select group... Read More

Rude Awakening for Hybrid Dreamers

Hybrid-electric cars are the flavor of the moment for environmental campaigners. Activists like Arianna Huffington, Larry David and Leonardo DiCaprio urge us all to "break the chain" and drive them. Al Gore, meanwhile, used the previews last week of... Read More

Is It 1988 Again?

The Democrats will nominate a dark-haired fellow from Massachusetts as their presidential candidate, and the Republicans have picked as their standard-bearer a Texan named Bush. How many times do we have to watch this picture? Will the story in... Read More

The Lowdown on Sweet

Sugar has definitely gotten a bad rap over the years. It has been blamed for causing (among other things) tooth decay, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, it is common knowledge as reported by parents, teachers and other experts... Read More

Call Me Paranoid

As a psychiatrist, I have developed a knack for sniffing out paranoia in others. Lately, however, the psychosis seems to be emanating from me. While politics and personal mental illness do make strange bedfellows, election season events prove that... Read More

Peddling Dope: Open Source Drug Development

A recent article in The Guardian was entitled "We're patently going mad - Lifesaving drugs must be developed differently - for all our sakes." Written by James Love and Tim Hubbard from, respectively, the Consumer Project on Technology and... Read More

Islamism's Malaysian Setback

The Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition's resounding victory in the Malaysian general election on 21 March 2004 has given a strong mandate to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, five months after succeeding Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the post. It has also... Read More

The FCC's Muffled Voice

Beware regulators promising clarity. The Federal Communications Commission's rejection of AT&T's voice over IP (VoIP) petition is supposed to end confusion in the telecom industry. It will do exactly the opposite. VoIP is the future of communications. Some 200 Read More

Muslim Silence... and Muslim Noise

I had intended to follow my last TCS column, on the growing crisis of American Islam -- i.e. on the problem of extremist domination of the American Muslim community -- with some long-developed reflections on the silence of the... Read More

A Proposal to Fight Cultural Segregation

"The growing insularity of the elites means, among other things, that political ideologies lose touch with the concerns of ordinary citizens... Both left- and right-wing ideologies, in any case, are now so rigid that new ideas make little impression... Read More

"Beyond Personal Responsibility"

This June, Time magazine and ABC News will host a three-day summit on obesity. ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, who last December anchored the prime time special "How to Get Fat Without Really Trying," will host. Judging by the... Read More

Saud-Free Arabia

Saudi Arabia helped out in the second Gulf War more than most of us had any idea. Unnamed officials say the Saudis allowed us to use three air bases inside their territory, supplied us with cheap oil, and permitted... Read More

Why the Shredded Wheat?

There's dancing and singing in the streets of the Land of Biotech Bashers. Monsanto, the world's largest seed company, has announced it will delay commercialization of gene-spliced wheat. "This is great news for the environment, for farmers and consumers,"... Read More

Greenpeace Health Police

Greenpeace has been increasing its pressure tactics ahead of the European Commission's key meeting on genetically modified (GM) food set for 19 May. At this meeting, the Commission will decide whether to give the go-ahead for an application by... Read More

The Real Obstacles

Editor's note: What follows are remarks delivered by James K. Glassman at a recent conference at the American Enterprise Institute. Welcome to the American Enterprise and our conference on "The Real Obstacles to Treating AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis in... Read More

The Sage of Santa Fe

Five or six years ago, a friend I have known since high school -- let's call him R. -- rhapsodized about a money manager who lived in, of all places, Santa Fe, N.M. "Find Garrett Thornburg," said R. "This... Read More

Super Size Thanks

Everyone talks about obsessive, self-destructive behavior like it's a bad thing. Not so! Sometimes, the compulsive twitchings of certified idiots illustrate the advantages of restrained, rational behavior, even as they underscore the oft-neglected point that some Read More

The Futures and Their Enemies

The use of futures markets, while still relatively sparse, represents an excellent method to help determine the best approach to key policy issues, and to predict certain policy outcomes. Instead of merely relying on a small coterie of individuals... Read More

The Camera Never Blinks

Sitting on my desk is a little Olympus digital camera. It takes great pictures, is smarter than I am and cost a couple of hundred dollars. It will even record 30 seconds of low-resolution video. For a few dollars... Read More

Leaving the Educrats Behind

"All great teachers are outlaws" -- William J. Bennett, former Secretary of Education William Bennett, speaking at the 2004 Milken Institute Global Conference, expressed pessimism about working within the system to reform public education. He argued that the burea Read More

What's German for Economist?

So, your economy is in the tank, you're Chancellor of Germany, you've an election coming up and, to put it frankly sir, you're stuffed. While you may have the third largest economy in the world, a reputation for visiting... Read More

When the Bank of China Wakes

Judging by recent global market jitters, Napoleon might very well have been referring to the Bank of China and the global economy when he uttered his famous warning some two hundred years ago that "when China woke the world... Read More

Maybe Clarke and Rice Are Both Right

"Your government failed you, those entrusted with protecting you failed you, and I failed you." -- --- Richard Clarke, March 25 "The problem is that the United States [government] was effectively blind to what was about to happen."-- Condoleeza... Read More

"Clear the Air"

In early April, Senator John Sununu (R-NH), introduced S 2281, the "VoIP Regulatory Freedom Act of 2004." Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS) introduced a companion bill in the House. The legislation would clarify the legal status of VoIP. Today, with... Read More

Branching Out

Technology is proving to be a goose that lays golden eggs for Africa. Trends being adopted in Africa are catalyzing the continent's social, economic and political development. What remains to be seen is how soon and fast Africans can... Read More

It's Still the Economy, But Are Voters Stupid?

It's been a miserable month in Iraq, but a wonderful month for the American economy. "The April employment report confirms unambiguously that the labor market is back," said, the respected website, on Thursday. Some 288,000 net new jobs... Read More

Baghdad Boil to Return?

It's heating up in the Southern Iraqi desert and sand flies are returning. They bring with them "Baghdad Boil," a nasty disease, more properly known as cutaneous leishmaniasis. They go about their ghastly business of extracting a blood meal... Read More

Machine Politics

Whatever happened to the notion of participatory democracy? You know, the idea that "all people had basic rights to participation, or that democracy was the system best suited for respecting human dignity"? You know, the radical '60s stuff of... Read More

The Prussian Revolution

Recently, and all too quietly, the 200th anniversary of the death of Immanuel Kant passed. It is ironic that, in a world in which science has acquired the status of an ideology, moral issues are debated with febrile intensity... Read More

The War of Images

It is often said that we are fighting a war of ideas. We are not. We are fighting a war of images, and right now our enemy is winning this war, while we are losing it, and losing it... Read More

Cheer Up, Hawks

There's a hint of hopelessness in the air, understandable given the shocking images and casualty reports that continue to come out of Iraq. While the neurasthenic natterings of the likes of Maureen Dowd would be of little note, much... Read More

Fortuyn's Legacy

Two years ago, on May 6 2002, the flamboyant and openly gay Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was murdered by an animal rights activist. It was the first political assassination in Holland since 1584. The event happened only nine days... Read More

VoIP of the people?

Want more proof that things are different on either side of the Atlantic? Just take a look at the way regulators are dealing with one of the hottest new technologies around, Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP. In an... Read More

Prescribe This for the Governors

Being a Kahhlefornia (Pronunciation courtesy of the Governator) native, I thought I left silly governor issues behind me. Little did I know that by accepting the offer to attend the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business that I... Read More

Ready or Not?

I had a worrisome conversation the other day with a former administration official about homeland security. My complaint was that things remain futile and stupid, with airport security checks confiscating tweezers and engaging in other pointless but inconvenient m Read More

Performance Rules

If we listen to the whining issued from the cosmic thinkers in Manhattan and in the halls of Congress, one would be led to believe that Americans are being starved for high-mileage automobiles. But due to the avarice and... Read More

Don't Resign, Rumsfeld

"This administration needs to undertake a total overhaul of its policy; otherwise, it is courting a total disaster for us all. That overhaul needs to begin with President Bush firing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- today, not tomorrow... Read More

Justice Delayed, Justice Denied

Justice delayed is justice denied. That wisdom applies to government regulation, just as it does to criminal justice. And yet another injustice is done when regulators act like legislators -- or redistributors. A third injustice comes when outsiders --... Read More

The Growing Crisis of American Islam

While the attention of most Americans, and much of the Islamic world, has been focused on the scandal of American soldiers' conduct at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, other events signal a deepening and dangerous crisis for American... Read More

Adolf Lomborg?

Back in 1990, Mike Godwin, then legal counsel for the advocacy group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, noted that online discussions on the various USENET fora suffered from a problem. After a while, many discussions would involve someone posting a... Read More

World Bank, No Thanks

The Montenegrin parliament is ready to approve a package of free-market reforms designed to improve the investment environment and encourage small and medium "informal" businesses to enter the formal market. The package includes a reduction of employers' payroll t Read More

That's What Friends Was For

During every election season, politicians make pains to appeal to the younger set. We are told to "Rock the Vote," to make our voices count, to care about the future so that the narcissistic Baby Boomers don't saddle us... Read More

Whine, the Beloved Country!

George (Jack Nicholson): You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it. Billy (Dennis Hopper): Man, everybody got chicken. That's what happened, man. -- (from the film "Easy Rider," 1969)... Read More

Hunting and Gathering

Last fall the Nielsen television ratings service reported men in the demographic sweetspot between 18 and 34 were watching less television. Much less television: for 18-24 year olds the decline was 20%. It is not just television or young... Read More

Canvassing Human Rights Around the World

So you saw that Sudan has retained that country's place on the United Nations Human Rights Commission, even as it conducts a genocidal campaign against the inhabitants of its own Darfur region? Your jaw dropped and once you had... Read More

The War Over the War in Iraq

Why are there different views of the morality of war in Iraq? Some people support it; some don't. Those who support it don't do so (as a rule) because they think war is good in itself. They support it... Read More

Shrinkage and Synthesis

Fiscal conservatives often dream about shrinking the size of government. At least one part of bureaucracy recently laid out a plan to do so voluntarily. However, the strategy is more likely to give conservatives a sinking than a shrinking... Read More

The Internet Goes Hollywood

With the winners of the 8th annual Webby Awards -- the Internet awards show dubbed the "online Oscars" by Time Magazine - slated to be announced on May 12, there is perhaps no better time to contemplate the growing... Read More

Plus Ça Change...

STRASBOURG -- You know the political times are changing in Europe when a parliamentarian stands up during a solemn opening ceremony and gives props to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It wasn't exactly evidence of a seismic shift in... Read More

Tax Europa

The historic enlargement of the European Union with the addition of ten new countries on May 1 was a cause for celebration in many national capitals, but the accession party could be followed by a hangover. Joining the EU... Read More

Prisoner Abuses and Bilateral Logic

"The horrors experienced by many young inmates, particularly those who are convicted of nonviolent offenses, border on the unimaginable. Prison rape not only threatens the lives of those who fall prey to their aggressors, but it is potentially devastating... Read More

Sympathy for the Mosquito?

"Save Our Mosquitoes," isn't a plea one expects to see these days with the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus killing hundreds and making thousands of people sick. But someone posted that very appeal on a sign in Chargin Falls, Ohio.... Read More

Down Payment Debate

Free markets are so successful because individuals and businesses constantly mutate in response to changing economic conditions. Sometimes the process can lead to very surprising and interesting developments. Just as a visit to the Galapagos Islands can present on Read More


Rising interest rates have meant falling stock prices for real estate investment trusts, or REITs (pronounced "reetz"), which are companies that own portfolios of property or, in a few cases, mortgages. In fact, REITs have gotten clobbered. Between April... Read More

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

There is no doubt that the reform movement in Iran has suffered some recent defeats as a result of hardline efforts to marginalize the pro-democracy faction in Iranian politics, and the failures of reform politicians like Iranian president Mohammad... Read More

The Greening of Higher Education

This May a conference in New York City titled Integrating Environmental Ethics into Environmental Studies: Ethics, Science, and Civic Responsibility will bring together faculty from higher education institutions to discuss how they can "incorporate an understandin Read More

Faith-Based Activism on Patents?

The international debate over how best to combat deadly diseases in the developing world such as HIV/AIDS just got more interesting courtesy of new research that argues that "poverty, not patents" imposes a greater restriction on access to treatments... Read More

Second Hand Joke

Smoking is a filthy habit. It causes bad breath. It stains the fingers and the teeth. It rots the lungs and it takes the breath away. Spend a day in any doctor's office and you can quickly spot the... Read More

Tipping the Scale

When I saw Morgan Spurlock at the Washington, D.C., International Film Festival last Sunday, the first thing I noticed was that he's thin again, having shed the 25 pounds he deliberately gained during the month-long McDonald's eating binge featured... Read More

The Recall That Matters

Can democracy exist when people outside the government play by the rules, but people inside the government change them when they do not like the results -- or just ignore them altogether? This question underlies the petition drive to... Read More

Street Fight

Gotta love it. Two 30 year olds, armed only with Lava lamps and 100,000 cheap PCs spitting out Google searches, are flipping the proverbial bird to blue-blood suspender-wearing Wall Street. And why not? Google is the most profitable company... Read More

Revolutionaries Join Europe

BRUSSELS - "If Mr. Glassman hates Europe so much," said the head of the Belgian farmers' union, "then why doesn't he leave?" Touchy! Actually, I love Europe - the vistas, the culture, the food, the history, even the people.... Read More

The Peculiar Prosecution of Frank Quattrone

Former star investment banker Frank Quattrone was found guilty Tuesday of allegedly trying to obstruct a federal investigation into Credit Suisse First Boston's IPO allocation processes. USA Today noted that Quattrone "is the first prominent Wall Street insider to Read More

Second Best is No Solution for Iraq

"So it is time, perhaps, to stop thinking about the best imaginable outcome, and instead settle for the best possible one, considering the state of world politics and the moral limitations free societies like ours place upon their war-fighting... Read More

Prison Dilemma

"What took place in that prison does not represent the America that I know," President Bush told Arab television viewers Wednesday in an address about abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. personnel. Yet what took place in Abu Ghraib... Read More

If Memory Serves...

I don't know about you, but I have always thought that war memorials should be above ground. That's why I like the new World War Two Memorial in Washington DC more than the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which sits just... Read More

The Innovationist

"Mother Teresa helped many people, but Michael Milken helped more." -- John Stossel, "In Defense of Greed," Forbes, Feb. 2, 2004 * On April 26-28, I attended the Milken Institute Global Conference, held in Beverly Hills, California. The conference... Read More

Which 'Legacy' Regulations?

Whenever someone calls for unburdening telecommunications of old legacy regulations, the best thing to do is ask: Which ones? Your safety, your wallet and your telephone service may be on the line. Last week, in two days of hearings... Read More

Patents and Life

On May 1 new legislation on genetic patents entered into force in Sweden. The law is based on a controversial EU directive from 1998. The majority of the EU's member states have not adopted this directive and it is... Read More

When Is Global Warming Really a Cooling?

Much media attention is focusing on the forthcoming big-budget climate disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow" and how much scrutiny the "science" on which it is based deserves. But there are some developments in the world of serious climate... Read More

Biotech's Antagonists

Editor's note: This is the first article of a two-part series. Controversies continue to engulf the "new biotechnology" -- also known as gene-splicing or genetic modification (GM) -- applied to agriculture and food production. Perhaps pseudo-controversies would be Read More

"I Love Humanity; It's People I Can't Stand"

Part 1 of this series discussed the misconceptions and misrepresentations that are promulgated by anti-biotechnology NGOs. Their significant distortions and omissions of facts are not limited to statements about the nature or risk of the technology itself. The act Read More

The Passing of a Landmark

It was a sad thing and barely noticed, last Thursday, when the last Oldsmobile rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Mich. Oldsmobile, one of the oldest and most venerated names in motordom -- one of the brands instrumental... Read More

Naming the Enemy

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root. -- Henry David Thoreau Who are we at war with? That's the question anti-war liberal blogger Keith Berry asked when he... Read More

Weight Loss in the Supermarket

Soon, in addition to parking rage outside and trolley rage in the aisles, British supermarket shoppers are to be introduced to an exciting new source of in-store fury: exercise rage. Supposedly worried about the excess baggage being hauled around... Read More

Welcome To The Post-Bias Media

There's been a curious pattern of "me too-ism" visible on the left recently. Al Gore is launching a liberal cable TV channel to compete with Fox News. Al Franken launched Air America, his nascent liberal talk radio network, to... Read More

Clearing the Air

The first thing to be clear about is that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Rather, the presence of this trace gas in Earth's atmosphere is vitally important for the growth of plants. And in extracting carbon dioxide from... Read More

How to Create a Lunar Klondike

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the role of the X-Prize in promoting private space efforts, and noted that those efforts were likely to be cleverer, and cheaper, than government programs have been. Now there's a prediction that... Read More

A Big Con Man

Two weeks ago, I flew to a film festival in Austin, Texas, to watch what could be one of America's hottest movies this spring: an engaging documentary called "Super Size Me," which shows what happens when you stuff yourself... Read More

Do Straw Noses Break?

One reason bullies and domestic abusers pick on smaller, weaker victims is because these victims can't fight back. Likewise, those who construct and attack straw men during an intellectual battle of the wits do so because straw men can't... Read More

Google's "Winner's Curse"

Google intends to auction off around $2.7 billion worth of its stock, but warns potential investors of the winner's curse. This winner's curse should cause participants in Google's IPO stock auction to lower their bids. To understand the winner's... Read More

A Bridge Too Far

It was probably never to be, this Quixotic mission of President Bush and Tony Blair and the rest to remake the social and political milieu of the Arab world. Full marks to them for trying; something had to be... Read More

The "Mad Dog of Tripoli" Barks

For a man increasingly hailed as an enlightened despot, Muammar Qaddafi was severely lacking in the former. Making his first appearance in Brussels last week, after 15 years of continental cold shouldering, Qaddafi came with a mission: To shatter... Read More

Savoir Fair

If there is one area in which healthcare reform could be successful in France, it is in promoting the availability of medical information to consumers. Indeed, Bernard Fragonard, the president of la Cour des Comptes (the French State Auditors)... Read More

State of the Scare, Once Again

The American Lung Association may be the only institution in the country that still gives out failing grades, but you have to hand it to them -- they do it with gusto. "State of the Air 2004" continues ALA's... Read More

9/11 Meets the Son of Election Crisis 2000.

The terror strike in Madrid has evoked a nightmare scenario in which catastrophic terror could be used to undermine the legitimacy of democratic elections by attacking them at their weakest spot, namely, the popular elections. What no government could... Read More

Mideast Media Mess

Since the shock of September 11th, and parallel to military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. government officials in various agencies have sought to "win hearts and minds" in the Arab and Muslim world by crafting publicity schemes and... Read More

Judging Human Rights Abuses

I write this as George Stephanopoulos, George Will, and General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discuss the abuses perpetrated by certain American troops on the Iraqi captives they were charged with guarding and interrogating. At... Read More

Revolutionizing a Revolution

WICKFORD, RI - Researchers have recently started the process of revolutionizing a revolution. Engineers from Lucent's Bell Labs -- allied with collaborators at the University of California/Santa Cruz, Lehigh University, and Agility Communications -- stand poised t Read More

Property Matters

Is private property, a right protected both by the Constitution and basic human liberty, under assault in America? In some places, it seems that it is. Connecticut's Supreme Court, making law rather than interpreting it as the judiciary should,... Read More

Throwing Tomatoes

You may have noticed the fun we're having over here in Europe over the new constitution. You may even be aware that some of us have our doubts about the wisdom of that particular document. What you are less... Read More

Climate Change: A Longer View

Over the last two years, the scientific framework within which an assessment of climate change is made has undergone dramatic revision. Not all at once, but inch by inch, in increments of understanding. First has come the rigorous external... Read More

TCS Daily Archives