TCS Daily : July 2004 Archives

More Highways, Less Pollution

Environmental activists continue to mis-diagnose air pollution's causes and cures and to obscure or ignore positive trends in pollution emissions and ambient levels. "Highway Health Hazards," a new report from the Sierra Club, is the latest example. Of course,... Read More

The Smartest Man In Europe Is Bullish on Asia

Returning from my latest trip to Asia, I'm both exhilarated and perplexed. Exhilarated because Asia is booming, and it's a joy to see. Thailand, my main stop this time, is growing at 7 percent a year -- twice as... Read More

A Message From the Market

On July 16, the New York Times reported pharmaceutical company Schering-Plough will plead guilty to criminal charges for cheating the federal Medicaid program. Additionally, the paper reported the company will agree to pay $350 million in fines. At first... Read More

Actions and Words

Before you go to battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: ``I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way. But we had no choice.... Read More

The UN's Attack on Self-Defense

Palestinians have decided to delay, until after the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, bringing a resolution to the United Nations Security Council that would endorse the July 9th, non-binding ruling by the UN International Court of Justice that called on... Read More

Beijing Lacks Respect for Japan's Sovereignty

It is a constant refrain of officials in Beijing that no other country should interfere with its internal affairs or even pass comment on events that occur inside China. However, this insistence on "non-interference" only works one way since... Read More

It Goes to Extremes

"Darling I don't know why I go to extremes / Too high or too low their ain't no in-betweens" -Billy Joel Scientists don't know why the planet Mercury goes to extremes, but they are anxious to find out. On... Read More

The Peace That Never Was

An awestruck media gave former President Bill Clinton high marks for his speech opening the Democratic National Convention. But missed among the punditry was an opportunity Clinton and other Democratic leaders handed the Bush campaign. By reminiscing upon the... Read More

Campaign Finance Deform

Back in the 1970s Congress had an idea, and like many ideas from the 1970s, it wasn't a particularly good one. Sure it sounded nice, but it was fraught with complications and unintended consequences. Worst of all the idea... Read More

How Transitory Are Mr. Greenspan's 'Transitory Factors'?

Among Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's bolder assertions in his semi-annual report to Congress on July 20 was that the observed softness in US consumer spending of late should prove to be short-lived. This view was based on the... Read More

Mr. Multilateral

It is playing a key role in curbing and caging North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. It played a key role in disarming Libya, discovering and rolling up the Pakistani A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling network, and has become a framework... Read More

A Taxing Election

When planning a national convention, both political parties look back at their last several conventions in an effort to imitate past successes and avoid previous blunders. Even before the Democrats gathered in Boston, you could be sure that one... Read More

Boston Pity Party

BOSTON -- Remember the days when reporters were smug and arrogant and rich? Yup, the good old days. Today, however, the press is suffering from Rodney Dangerfield-ification: we're gettin' no respect. That is, we are plagued by falling ratings... Read More

The Great Divider

"Is the New York Times A Liberal Newspaper?" asked a headline on Sunday. The first sentence had the answer: "Of course it is." If that sounds like a dog-bites-man story, then consider the kicker: The article appeared in The... Read More

McNamara's Bank

In dealing with authoritarian governments, Robert McNamara's legacy as president of the World Bank has always been controversial. Mr. McNamara is back in the news as the theme of the TV series The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From... Read More

Drunk with Power

When Pennsylvanian Keith Emerich recently went to the hospital for an irregular heartbeat, for purposes of getting an accurate diagnosis, he told his doctor he was a heavy drinker -- about a six-pack per day. The Associated Press reports... Read More

Religious Differences

On a Sunday morning this past May, I stood in Beethovenplatz, in the center of Bonn, the sleepy former German capital, admiring the architecture of the Bonner Münster, the city's thirteenth century basilica. While my tour group gazed heavenward... Read More

Pirates of the European

Pirates aren't what they used to be. Ask Captain Hook who (along with Peter Pan and with other JM Barrie created characters) is celebrating his centenary this month. Piracy no longer has much to do with the high seas... Read More

Biotech's Crazed Critics

It's hard to top some of the loony things that have been said about the new biotechnology. Technophobe Jeremy Rifkin claimed, for example, that genetically engineered bacteria might disrupt weather patterns, and that biotechnology threatens "a form of annihilation Read More

Porn and Violence: Good for America's Children?

Last week, I responded to James Glassman's observation that American teenagers are doing better than they've done in decades by trying to figure out why that might be. Teen pregnancy is down, along with teen crime, drug use, and... Read More

When Is a Crisis Not a Crisis?

FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC TURMOIL SELDOM LEAD TO REAL "CRISES" Here's a tough one. Let's banish the use of the term "crisis" from all discussion relating to unhappy economic or financial conditions. Granted, it will be hard to do. In... Read More

Up With People

For reasons that are difficult to fathom, the UN Population Division is projecting that the decline in human fertility that has been ongoing throughout the developed world, and most of the developing world, for a long time is going... Read More

Understanding Political Libertarianism

In his meandering July 20th essay, Edward Feser failed totally to demonstrate the "The Trouble with Libertarianism." It's hard to pin down the argument in Feser's convoluted dissertation. I count at least four loosely confederated claims: (1) 'Libertarianism' does Read More

The 'Ruinous Sport', Round 2

The juxtaposition couldn't be more ironic. On the same day that the U.S. Senate finally moved to have tobacco regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and tobacco farmers bought out by the tobacco industry, Health and Human Services... Read More

Iran and the Election

Despite the prominence of national security and the war on terrorism as issues in the Presidential campaign -- and despite a disturbing report from the 9/11 Commission linking al Qaeda to Iran -- there has been sparse coverage on... Read More

Celluloid Bolshies

Actor Charles Grodin, in his book "I Like It Better When You're Funny," recalls a particularly devastating put-down from a critic: "If you want to feel what it is like to die sitting upright in your seat, go see... Read More

Heated Nuisance Suits

Last week, several state attorneys general and the city of New York announced a lawsuit against five of the nation's largest utilities seeking reductions in their carbon dioxide emissions. AGs from eight states -- California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey,... Read More

The Battle of the Mosque

"But the enemy is not just 'terrorism,' some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism -- especially the al Qaeda... Read More

Song of the Idle Rich

Among the more noticeable developments since the failed Seattle World Trade Organization meeting has been the significant increase in activity by the NGOs that have consistently opposed the WTO and the idea of development through free trade. Even more... Read More

Realizing the President's Management Agenda

No one thought bringing competition to Washington would be easy. Upon entering office, President Bush issued the President's Management Agenda -- a dramatic reform effort to put performance ahead of patronage in the federal government. Three years into it,... Read More

Highway Robbery

What can a 19th century French journalist teach the U.S. Congress about the 2004 federal highway bill? A lot, actually. Those who hold the public purse strings on Capitol Hill would be wise to heed the common-sense counsel of... Read More

'We Are Safer Today. But We Are Not Safe'

Everyone who came of age in the Cold World knew that War III wasn't supposed to start the way it did on September 11, 2001. It was supposed to begin with something as tremendous as it was terrible --... Read More

Will the FCC Let VOIP Flourish?

The 1996 Telecommunications Act was hailed as a dramatic update to the musty sixty-year Communications Act. With the worlds of communications and computing rapidly converging through a great digital migration, the World Wide Web taking off, and new technologies... Read More

The European Commission's Emissions

Anyone concerned about the future of freedom and wealth in Europe should worry anytime Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström opens her mouth. On Wednesday 7 July, the European Commission approved five national plans for trading emissions for energy-intensive i Read More

Milly Kondracke Remembered

"Millicent Martinez was a poor inner-city Chicago kid who grew up to be a dynamo," wrote Morton Kondracke of his wife in "Saving Milly: Love, Politics and Parkinson's Disease," a powerful, brutally frank and wonderfully redemptive book published three... Read More

The 9/11 Commission's Political Football

The most remarkable aspects of the release of the 9/11 Commission's report have been the rush by Democrats and other critics of the Iraq intervention to declare that it ends the discussion about Saddam Hussein's links to al-Qaida, rendering... Read More

The Revolution Will Be Blogged, Won't It?

In order to expand the reach of the increasingly ignored political conventions, the Democratic Party has announced that it is allowing 30 bloggers to cover the event. The Republicans have also opened up to this new medium. A spate... Read More

Triumph of the Individual

The Medicare program recently decided to abandon its policy that obesity is not a disease. This step highlights how our national debate on obesity is evolving into two camps. One emphasizes that obesity results from such factors as genes,... Read More

The Road Less Traveled

The six-year authorization of federal transportation dollars called "TEA-21" (The Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century) expired nearly nine months ago, and there still is no replacement in sight. House and Senate negotiators (75 of them, more than... Read More

The Politics of Iraq

The 9/11 Commission has issued its final report and, to no one's surprise, found manifold intelligence mistakes. The Clinton and Bush administrations share responsibility for those failings, but cannot be fairly blamed for the terrorist attacks of September 11.... Read More

The Radical Center Holds

In constitutional law, sometimes a balanced, middle ground approach can be both innovative and prudent. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a four-justice plurality of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that detention of American citizens by the federal government as "enemy... Read More

A Kennedy-esque Revision

On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) introduced legislation to reform Social Security the right way -- with large personal retirement accounts and without tax increases or benefit cuts. These reform measures would allow all... Read More

Incentives Matter: A Lesson

On Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. announced the company will double its annual dividend payment to shareholders by $3.5 billion per year, pay a one-time special dividend of $32 billion and repurchase $30 billion of company stock over the next four... Read More

Uzbekistan: US Asset or Liability?

Viewed from afar, a strategic partnership with the former-Soviet republic of Uzbekistan has much to offer the U.S. And since the atrocities of September 11, 2001, and the onset of the Global War on Terror, the country of 27... Read More

Articles of Faith

Why are children in Africa dying of AIDS? It's the "genocidal action of the drug cartels" claims Jesuit Priest Angelo D'Agostino. In fact, D'Agostino's mean-spirited accusation is a good example of the ignorant anti-freedom mentality which has caused so... Read More

A Terrible Waste of Taxes

Student: Why is society paying me to go to graduate school in economics? Professor: Society doesn't know what the heck it's doing. This interchange, which took place in 1975 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was relayed to me... Read More

Genghis Con?

Claiming in public that the combination of a character in a comic sci-fi novel with a marketing gimmick for a kebab shop can help to reveal one of the mysteries of the ages is likely to result in some... Read More

Big Brother in Your Shopping Cart?

An emerging controversy that does not seem to be getting as much attention in Europe as it is in the U.S. is that surrounding Radio Frequency ID chips (RFID). Perhaps this is for the best, as the technology has... Read More

A Real Development Agenda

This year's version of the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report has just been published, ranking the countries of the world according to a Human Development Index (HDI). As in many other welfare comparisons among countries, Sweden and... Read More

Truly a 'Nuisance Suit'

Thank you, Eliot Spitzer of New York. Thank you and your crew of fellow state attorneys general from Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, California, New Jersey, Iowa and Wisconsin, plus the office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Thank you... Read More

This Should Have Activists Seeing Red - Or Not

JOHANNESBURG -- The histrionics of the AIDS activists at the UNAIDS conference in Bangkok last week matched the events two years ago in Barcelona. Among other stunts, activists besieged GlaxoSmithKline's stand and also poured blood (or rather fake blood... Read More

Engines for Today, Engines for the Future

Perhaps within the next decade we will witness some sort of resolution regarding the ongoing struggle within the automobile industry about exactly what sort of power plant will propel your ol' flivver in the garage. Of course the motor... Read More

Kerry's Saving Grace

John Kerry knows what's important. It isn't vigilance against terrorism, or education, or foreign policy, or the economy. It's healthcare. Earlier this month Kerry told New York Times reporter Louis Uchitelle that healthcare would be the number one priority... Read More

A Tale of One City

If it weren't for Yankee baseball and Notre Dame football, the Los Angeles Lakers would be the sports team of the ages. Instead, Laker fans root for a team in a close third. Not that there's anything wrong with... Read More

How Could the Consensus of Experts Be Wrong?

My colleagues are wrong, thought P, a famous physicist. So, too, are their lecture notes, exam problems, journal articles and textbooks, which have forwarded the bad ideas to students. They, in turn, would next engrave nonsense in the minds... Read More

Against the Current

Election campaigns generate a political form of electrolysis. Instead of an electrical current separating anything it runs through into positive and negative ions, an electoral current separates attitudes to issues along partisan lines. Usually nothing escapes. Bu Read More

This Is Your Senate on Drugs

The Senate is currently considering a piece of legislation, already approved by the House, to legalize the importation to the U.S. of pharmaceuticals from dozens of countries around the world. Like some pharmaceutical bill from hell, it would undermine... Read More

Latest Artsy Outrage: Kill the President

What passes these days for the artsy-intellectual set in America has gone completely bonkers over the prospect of George W. Bush winning a second term as president. Current polls show that Bush continues to run neck-and-neck with John Kerry... Read More

Take the Commander in Chief Test

As Washington pastimes go, Monday morning quarterbacking intelligence matters is overtaking second-guessing the Redskins. So now it's time for the rest of us to test our Commander-in-Chief decision skills. The Commander-in-Chief test lets you be the history maker. Read More

When One 'Lives' Column Is Too Much

I am not comfortable describing myself as either "pro-choice" or "pro-life" because both labels are, in my view, too simplistic for such a complex moral, philosophical, and political issue. I rarely venture into the politics of abortion because I... Read More

Joe Wilson: Absolutely Fabulist

Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson became a darling of the Bush-hating crowd with his allegations that in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, the President lied to the nation with 16 words stating that: "The British government has... Read More

Why Are the Kids Alright?

Last week, Jim Glassman wrote that the younger generation is doing quite well: "Young people have become aggressively normal. Violence, drug use and teen sex have declined. Kids are becoming more conservative politically and socially. They want to get... Read More

Biotechnology and the State

Back in 1992, when Norway first adopted its current biotechnology law, nobody cared much about the issue except the Christian Democrats. They pushed through legislation that bans donation of human eggs, research on human embryos and pre-implant diagnostics of... Read More

The Price Is Right. Or Is It?

Many central bankers have been singing the praises of inflation targeting as a way to guarantee stable price levels and bring about sustained economic growth. For its part, the Bank of England helped pioneer inflation targeting and is credited... Read More

The Trouble with Libertarianism

"Libertarianism" is usually defined as the view in political philosophy that the only legitimate function of a government is to protect its citizens from force, fraud, theft, and breach of contract, and that it otherwise ought not to interfere... Read More

The Dénouement Is Imminent

Time is running out to beat about the bush. The man-made global warming paradigm is about to collapse. In its wake the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) process will have to change tack. In the mean time,... Read More

Cloning the Taiwanese Tiger?

When developing countries want to advance their backward economies through technological innovation, they often look for lessons from Western Europe and the United States. Obviously, technology has been a crucial factor behind Western prosperity during the last ce Read More

Our Coming Ideological Battles

"What then is the virtue of increasing spending on retirement and health rather than on goods? It is the virtue of providing consumers in rich countries with what they want the most...The point is that leisure-time activities (including lifelong... Read More

No Speed Limits

Regardless of whether it is the leaden tidings of tragedy or the light gossip of Hollywood, most of this era's new currency now travels at astonishing speed. Information's near Einstein-ian speed imbues it with value (although the worth of... Read More

One of These Days... Bang! Zoom! -- To the Moon!

In the thirty-five years since mankind took the giant leap -- and the small step -- onto the surface of the moon, NASA's manned program seemed lost in space, if that were possible even though the agency was barely... Read More

Politically Correcting the Legend

Jerry Bruckheimer's most recent rendition of King Arthur raises a fascinating question: is the political correcting process implemented intentionally, or does such revision simply occur by momentum once patterns of thought start heading in a certain direction? The Read More

Mad Cows, Scientists and Politicians

A little over eight years ago, British Secretary of State for Health Stephen Dorrell announced to the House of Commons that scientists had identified a new strain of the fatal brain malady Creuzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD) and that they could... Read More

The British Lysenko?

Sir David King is Tony Blair's Chief Scientific advisor and a famous proponent of the notion that climate change is a more serious threat than terrorism. He is used to getting his way, and he usually does in European... Read More

The Meaning of "Whorigami"

BANGKOK -- If you try to solve every problem, you end up solving no problem. That's the lesson of the XV Global Aids Conference, just concluded here. The slogan for this conference was "Access for All." I now think... Read More

Simple Rules for a Complex Market

Although investing is a subtle and complicated endeavor, everyone can benefit from a simple set of rules and principles. One of my favorite portfolio managers, Thomas K. Brown, chief executive of Second Curve Capital, a New York hedge fund... Read More

How the West Was Lost?

According to a new report, economic freedom across the world is growing. Economic liberalization in Central and Eastern Europe in particular is on the upswing. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about most of the countries of the pre-enlargement... Read More

Of Success and Excess

"There is not a more perilous or immoral habit of mind than the sanctifying of success," avowed Lord Acton in an essay on English history. The object of his epigrammatic censure was Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, victor... Read More

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Work We Go

The sluggish heart of Europe is suddenly beating a little bit faster. In what amounts to a small revolution for a continent that has enjoyed the benefits of long holidays and shorter working weeks for nearly 30 years, people... Read More

Diplomatic Shock-and-Awe Against Sudan

If the American people thought that they could, they would stop the slaughter of civilians in Sudan's western province of Darfur. If the situation in Darfur were a disaster created by the forces of nature, aid would already have... Read More

Preserving and Promoting our National Parks

Editor's note: The National Park Service and the Bush administration have received criticism in recent months from some liberal organizations and the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry for not doing enough to improve and protect America's Crown Read More

Good News! The Kids Are Alright

Extra! Extra! The big news of the past decade in America has been largely overlooked, and you'll find it shocking. Young people have become aggressively normal. Violence, drug use and teen sex have declined. Kids are becoming more conservative... Read More

Gaia or God?

Whether it's global warming in particular, or environmental issues in general, people tend to split into two camps on the subject. The two views really aren't reconcilable, and most folks can't even articulate why they feel the way they... Read More

The Tech Imperative

The idea that technological innovation plays a key role in economic growth does not come as news to readers of TCS. But it is a point, argues Business Week chief economist Michael J. Mandel, that has received surprisingly little... Read More

Wounded NEPAD

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The zealous display of patriotism by President Robert Mugabe's administration may appear to benefit thousands of landless black Zimbabweans who are now able to own a chunk of property that once belonged to someone else. Ethnic... Read More

Why Lord of the Rings Will - and Must - Be Remade

More Lord of the Rings movies -- oh, yesss, preciousss, we wantsss them. And within the next twenty or thirty years, we'll get them. Children who watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy will take their own children to... Read More

Thrift, Not Consumption, Creates Prosperity

According to a survey by ACNielsen, Asian consumers are upbeat about the region's economic prospects and slightly more optimistic than they were at the end of 2003. As part of its bi-annual regional consumer surveys by conducts, the percentage... Read More

AIDS and Fuzzy Math

"At least 30 percent of the entire adult population of Central Africa is infected with the AIDS virus," a doctor tells a U.S. newspaper. A high Ugandan official says that within two years his nation will "be a desert."... Read More

How Much Worse Off Are We?

"...millions of low wage American workers are earning less in real, inflation-accounted for dollars today than they earned in the 1970s." -- Vermont Congressman Bernie Sanders Today, there are two Americas. One America agrees with Congressman Sanders and Senator.. Read More

The Unbearable Lightness of Being John Edwards

Most of the speculation that surrounds a Vice Presidential pick in an election year has to do with whether the number two candidate might help the ticket pick up some votes. This speculation is generally unwarranted -- not since... Read More

Cyprus, the EU and Borderland Theory

European Union leaders professed disappointment earlier this year when Greek Cypriots, just prior to entering the EU, cast a 3-to-1 majority of their ballots against a United Nations plan to reunify the island. Most Turkish Cypriots voted for UN-designed... Read More

Don't Worry About the Future

Global warming will destroy the environment; we will run out of oil in 40 years; social security will collapse before today's young workers reach retirement; and by the end of this century extended human lifetimes will burden an already... Read More

A Mile and a Promise

This sounds like a scene from some weepy, bad movie. There's this young Army National Guard sergeant lying in bed at an Army hospital. He's really down. He lost his right leg to a landmine in Afghanistan. Lot of... Read More

Lou Dobbs, Call Your Office

BANGKOK - If Lou Dobbs, the fair-trade crusader, only knew about this one! A few months ago, activists and journalists were blasting the U.S. for plans to buy only branded drugs, made by companies like Merck, to treat patients... Read More


BANGKOK -- The international AIDS summit is boiling down to a battle between two three-letter phrases: ABC vs. CNN. No, this is not a battle of the networks. Instead, it's a battle of acronyms -- and of worldviews. But... Read More

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Drug therapy and US policy jumped to the top of the agenda of this week's UN conference on HIV/AIDS in Bangkok, Thailand. A key talking point has been whether countries should be switching from existing therapies of brand-name drugs... Read More

Against the Venture Capitals

In his 1981 classic, Wealth and Poverty, economist and future technologist George Gilder wrote that the "man who seeks assurance and certainty lives always in the past." He went on to point out that "certain knowledge, to the extent... Read More

Neglecting Public Health

This month's Harper's Magazine includes a cover story on the decline of the public health system, by Dr. Ronald J. Glasser. Glasser lays out a number of ways in which the global public health system isn't up to the... Read More

After Howard Dean: The GOP's Political Innovations

The next step in grassroots campaigns is here. And this time, it's Republicans who are leading the way. Only a few years ago voter turnout and grassroots operations -- the so-called "ground war" -- were overlooked by Republicans and taken... Read More

Yankee, Stay Home

BANGKOK - This city of glorious Buddhist temples and gigantic traffic jams is hosting 20,000 delegates from 160 countries - along with celebs like Ashley Judd, Richard Gere, Oprah Winfrey and Rupert Everett - at the 15th international conference... Read More

It's the Parents, Stupid

The Supreme Court recently barred the implementation of the latest incarnation of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA). The majority expressed doubt that a ban on sexually explicit websites was the "least restrictive" means of protecting children from harmful... Read More

Indulging in Prosperity

The attraction to criticisms of globalization by politicians and commentators in East Asia has always been puzzling. If any region in the world has prospered from globalization, it is East Asia. Complaints that ideas from the West might be... Read More

The Politics of Avoiding the Question

When gauging the political will of the American people, why don't pollsters permit Americans to express a preference for the option that so many of them love best: "I Don't Even Want to Think About It?" If we could... Read More

In Private Hands

NEW YORK - The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Wednesday on the Federal Marriage Amendment. It legally would define each marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Something so intimate is none of the government's... Read More

Lords of Poverty

BANGKOK -- I don't question the seriousness of the AIDS crisis. I do, however, question the seriousness of the AIDS response. And an un-serious response -- in which posturing for the media displaces saving people's lives -- could prove... Read More

Obstacle Course

One of numerous complaints against the war in Iraq is that it has diverted attention away from global health problems, such as HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria. But attacking US policy in general undermines the broadly correct US AIDS policy.... Read More

Viva la "Tech" Revolucion!

The border between Israel and Palestinian territories is, at once, the most controversial and technologically advanced large-scale security barrier in the world. While the UN's International Court of Justice in The Hague has just called for the dismantling of... Read More

Centrifugal Force

Iran is determined to build a nuclear bomb. At present we must endure the familiar slow dance of warnings, denials, speculations, denials, revelations, denials, etc., etc., until the inevitable day when headlines announce the new member of the nuclear... Read More

Spider-Man 2 and the Terror War

It is only natural for moviegoers to be quite conscious of the fact that Spider-Man 2, like its blockbuster predecessor, is based on a comic-book series. After all, one could hardly avoid knowing about the character's origins. To stress... Read More

The Natural #2

I don't mean to sound immodest -- humility being one of my innumerable strengths -- but I happen to be personally responsible for the selection of the 2004 Democrat vice-presidential candidate. Just the other day, I inaugurated an Internet... Read More

Unraveling the "Secret Agenda"

The recently released Senate report on intelligence in the Iraq war was greeted with the usual round of nods and grunts arguing the report proves that before the war there was some sort of Svengali in the skunkworks of... Read More

Knock It Off

BANGKOK -- A powerful new report, released Sunday at the giant 15th International AIDS Conference here in Thailand, charges that poor-quality drugs, made by dubious manufacturers in countries like Cambodia, could make the AIDS epidemic worse. The report warned... Read More

The Science of Politics

In the last month, the Kerry campaign has elevated the issue of scientific progress to the forefront of the 2004 Presidential election. On June 21, candidate Kerry stood before a crowd in Denver, Colorado, and asked American voters to... Read More

A Bloody Mess

Persistent remarks from AIDS activists and experts about sexual practices, especially anal sex in Africa, as the only major cause of the spread of AIDS are unhelpful. And recent statements from the Catholic Church are fanning the flames, too.... Read More

The Real "Psychopaths"

Somewhere, Michael Moore must be smiling. Not only did his hyper-controversial film "Fahrenheit 9/11" generate more than its fair share of buzz when it opened, but also the film "The Corporation" -- a documentary expose of the evils of... Read More

Playing Park Politics

To hear the critics of the Bush administration, the nation's crown jewels - its parks - have been turned into a polluted paste closed to visitors due to presidential neglect. "Cash crunch hits national parks," screamed a headline in... Read More

Cleaner Air Brings Dirtier Tricks

How strange! The cleaner our air gets, the sicker we become. At this rate, when the air becomes absolutely pure over L.A. we'll all keel right over. Or so you might believe from a downloadable new report of a... Read More

The Valley Edge

In preparation for the Presidential election in November, a group of Silicon Valley's most influential entrepreneurs gathered in Redwood City to hash out the pros and cons of George Bush verses John Kerry. The debate, heated at times, revealed... Read More

Hong Kong on the Steppe

OSLO -- The liberal Mongolian Motherland Democratic Coalition seems to have defeated the ex-communist government in the 27 June parliamentary elections. This reversed the Communist landslide in 2000, which was seen by some western leftist as a repudiation of... Read More

Turkey for Christmas?

During the next six months of the Dutch presidency of the European Union, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is expected to pave the way for a positive decision on Turkey's candidate-membership of the EU at December's summit. Unfortunately for... Read More

A Hybrid Shock?

Presuming we source our news from the elite media, the prospect of gas-electric Hybrid automobiles projects a new Nirvana on the nation's highways. Low emissions, high fuel mileage and decent performance in a fleet of new vehicles on the... Read More

Toxic Activism

According to the latest results from EPA's Toxics Release Inventory toxic releases rose 5 percent in 2002 when compared with the previous year. Environmental activists are practically jubilant, claiming this is the smoking gun showing that the Bush administration. Read More

What Ernst Mayr Teaches Us

Ernst Mayr, the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Emeritus, at Harvard just turned 100 years old. He reaches this honorable age as one of the greatest evolutionary biologists of the 20th century. With his uncommonly lucid descriptive power, Mayr... Read More

Ports in the Storm

In the last six days, the U.S. government has shut down or restricted 20 port facilities in the country for security violations under the counterterrorism-motivated Maritime Transportation Security Act. The trouble is, it won't tell the public which ports... Read More

The Good News About Productivity

"This story of positive structural changes in the American economy -- the very rapid growth of potential output -- is the big story about the economy during the past four years. It's important both at the macro level --... Read More

The Road to Bangkok

Two years ago in Barcelona, a small group of noisy activists shouted, whistled and booed their way through a speech by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Resources Tommy Thompson at the 14th International AIDS Conference. Thompson persevered, finishing... Read More

Biotech Biorhythms

Metropolitan areas are anxious to turn the seeming staccato beat of developments in biotechnology into a long march of financial gains. It seems simple in principle: Take a group of researchers, add a group of venture capitalists, mix in... Read More

Does Welfare Reform Explain the Economy?

There are three facts being shouted round the political echo chamber at the moment: that jobs growth is poor, that corporate profits as a portion of the national income have risen to unprecedented levels and that low wage growth... Read More

The High Court's War on the War on Terror

Last week, in Rasul v. Bush, the Supreme Court found that American courts have jurisdiction to consider challenges to the legality of the detention of foreign nationals captured abroad and detained at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. In making this... Read More

The Economic Hardship Act

Although the Senate defeated the McCain Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act last October by a vote of 43-55, Sen. McCain believes in a never say never legislative strategy. He has been campaigning, cajoling and coercing leadership, supporters and opponents in... Read More

John Edwards and the Strangest Mutation of Liberalism Yet

How to sum up John Edwards' selection as John Kerry's vice presidential running mate? It's good news for trial lawyers, bad news for blue collar workers -- and oh yes, bad for Hillary Clinton. And as for the impact... Read More

Search and Create

In his article AlterNet: Creative Class War Richard Florida, professor of regional economic development at Carnegie Mellon University, offers and interesting and worrying analysis. After 9/11, he says, the US is making itself a less appealing place for "creatives" Read More

Political Games

Legislators around the country are trying to ban violent videogames as immoral. According to this AP report in Wired News: "Pediatricians and psychologists have been warning us that violent video games are harmful to children," said Mary Lou Dickerson,... Read More

An Un-Warren-ted Outburst

A strikingly mean-spirited piece by Warren Buffett appears on the op-ed page of the Washington Post today, arguing, mainly through hyperbole and innuendo, in favor of the expensing of stock options. If it gets its way, the Financial Accounting Standards... Read More

Third Way? No Way!

Some time ago I wrote an article for TCS on the Dutch Polder Model ("A Hole in the Dike"). Only a couple of years ago the Dutch Polder Model was still considered to be a "Dutch miracle". Today, however,... Read More

What a Fool to Believe

Heard the one about the monkey and the typewriter? "If one puts an infinite number of monkeys in front of (strongly built) typewriters and lets them clap away, there is a certainty that one of them [will] come out... Read More

The Coleridge Party

"... that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith." -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge Prominent national Democrats recently flocked to the movie theaters to indulge themselves in a bit of agreeable agitprop -- namely, Michael Moore' Read More

Against Wonkism

"Keep in mind that the poor are already entitled to health care under Medicaid and that the near poor often receive free health care through county or city hospitals and emergency rooms. Most proposals for extending health insurance involve... Read More

Poor Proposals

Of all the editorial responses to expensive gasoline, the strangest is easily The Washington Post's call to raise the gas tax. That's right -- gasoline has been in the news precisely because its price is high, yet the Post's... Read More

Islamist Extremism, Nukes and the Stans

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The recent brutal and bizarre raid by alleged Islamist extremists on the tiny Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, which borders on Chechnya, has revived the specter of "dirty bombs" and the quest for their acquisition by Wahhabi... Read More

The Silicon Implant

John Kerry's two-day campaign swing through Silicon Valley in late June was meant to raise broader awareness of his supposedly pro-innovation, pro-growth economic policies while, at the same time, padding the campaign coffers just one month before the Democratic.. Read More

The Domestic Counterinsurgency

In a private conversation on the Senate floor last week, Vice President Dick Cheney hurled the "F-word" at Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., an intemperate critic. Cheney wouldn't repent. "I expressed myself rather forcefully," he said. "Felt better after I... Read More

King Arthur Lives

Arthur, legendary king of England, has had a remarkable resilience across the centuries, enduring from dimly perceived Dark Age origins through medieval tales and romances and into modern books and movies. The Arthurian legend, in its various forms, is... Read More

Moore's the Provocation

I just saw Fahrenheit 9/11, at a Monday matinee (ticket prices were cheaper). And I now feel what Dick Cheney must have felt when responding to Sen. Patrick Leahy the way he did. The movie is that provoking, in... Read More

Democratic Disillusions

A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift  of their chief magistrate...The recent bilingual publication (in English and Spanish) of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United... Read More

Science's Barry Bonds

A fresh-faced medical intern greeted his new patient with a breezy, "So what's your problem?" "Oh, just a touch of leukemia," the pallid fellow answered. But that was in the mid-1950's when there was no such thing as "a... Read More

Iraq: The Visionaries

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." -- (Proverbs 29:18) Actually, people often perish where there's a vision -- particularly when led by one with the courage to follow it through. For bringing those pains, those prophets of... Read More

Terror Out of the Blue

When six coalition troops were killed recently in an explosion at a munitions dump near the Iraqi city of Suwariyah it was thought at first that the Polish, Slovakian and Latvian soldiers had been defusing captured ordnance when something... Read More

What's an Insurgent? What's a Terrorist?

As a student of Latin American politics, the word "insurgency" brings to mind myriad images and groups, from the iconic Ché Guevara and his beret to numerous Marxist guerrilla groups that operated in the region during the Cold War.... Read More

Tune In, Turn On, Skype Out

Somewhere between Sweden, Estonia, and London, a small band of software developers is fomenting a revolution. Their product, Skype, has been downloaded fifteen million times worldwide in less than a year, without any marketing budget. It is provoking consternation Read More

William Donaldson: Eliot Spitzer Redux?

The June 29th edition of the Wall Street Journal reported that in addition to the already large penalties levied against scandal-scarred mutual fund firms by Eliot Spitzer, those same firms will be required by William Donaldson's suddenly activist SEC... Read More

EPA's Make-Work Project

According to EPA administrator Mike Leavitt, reducing fine particulate matter is "the single most important action we can take to make our air healthier." Leavitt's proclamation accompanied EPA's determination that 243 counties, home to 100 million people, are lik Read More

About Those Nobel Laureates...

Should anyone expect a plumber to know about electrical work; a gynecologist to know about brain surgery? I think not. Nor should anyone expect a Nobel Laureate to be knowledgeable outside his/her field of expertise. Recently 48 Nobel Laureates... Read More

Border-line Silly

On June 28, 2004 the American-led coalition transferred sovereignty to the Iraqi people. Sovereignty was not "restored" -- under Saddam Hussein and his predecessors, the Iraqi people had never been sovereign in their own country. The question is now... Read More

It's Fair to Speculate

A bubble in real estate in some of South Korea's larger urban areas has resulted in some poor economic analysis and worse policy recommendations. For example, large and continued increases in property prices have been blamed on speculators that... Read More

TCS Daily Archives