TCS Daily : January 2005 Archives

First, Do Less Harm

BRUSSELS -- Sometimes the headlines in Europe jolt even the most jaded reader. Recently, I saw one, "EU Panel Praises Germany on Reform," that actually managed to distract me from my breakfast. I read it again, turned it upside down... Read More

The Blue-Finger Revolution

America had its Declaration of Independence, and now Iraq has had its Blue-Finger Revolution. Just don't expect those on the far left to afford the Iraqis the respect that they are due. Just as the colonists who signed onto Jefferson's... Read More

What Makes a Legacy? The Middle East or Asia?

Most commentators are assuming that George Bushs presidency will be assessed on the success of his Middle East strategy. But the judgement of history could be harsher on an entirely different front. The outcome remains very much in the balance,... Read More

'The Ratchet Clacks, the Wheel Cannot Turn Back'

On the Iraqi Election They celebrate the birthday of Iraq,Newborn upon their own most ancient land;The ratchet clacks, the wheel cannot turn back.New scholars of a future almanac,They take their sheepskins in an inky handAnd celebrate the birthday of Iraq.This... Read More

Investing in Alternatives

Last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) said that while she opposed creating personal investment accounts within Social Security, she was interested in creating such accounts outside the program. Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco Chronicle, who reporte Read More

A Dishonest Broker?

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is supposed to act as the world's honest broker on global warming issues, is now hopelessly compromised. One prominent scientist resigned in protest at one of its lead authors associating... Read More

The Importance of Brad and Jennifer... and Maureen Dowd

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd complains that men with high-powered jobs would rather marry secretaries than their career equals. She further laments that the more a woman achieves in her career the less desirable she becomes to men. Dowd,... Read More

A Tale of Two Tickets

ON THE ACELA, Jan. 23 -- On the eve of New Year's Eve I found myself in Buenos Aires, enjoying a vacation to my favorite city and a summery respite from the chilly Northeast. Three weeks later, I was in... Read More

West Is Freer, But East Improves Faster

Most people tend to believe that Europe and the European Union are the same thing. Such a claim may be true in the sense that the EU is a cartel of the governments of the old Continent. But, if you... Read More

We Won!

The news from Iraq is spectacularly good: local authorities estimate almost 75 percent of the electorate has voted. This is a triumph for every Iraqi, for America, for the Muslim world -- indeed, for the whole world. But it is... Read More

People Against People

In January, Greenpeace launched coordinated campaigns in Hong Kong and Thailand against power companies for causing global warming by generating electricity from coal. Greenpeace Hong Kong claimed global warming had killed 150,000 people. This is deeply misguided t Read More

Three Degrees of Michael Powell

Johnny Carson dies. The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots win their conference championships. And all of this follows Michael Powell's resignation as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Coincidence? I think so. But a curious one. Consider Read More

A Tale of Two Pension Systems

This past December, outgoing California Public Employees' Retirement System President Sean Harrigan, along with many of his fellow trustees, voted to aggressively oppose President Bush's Social Security reform. In doing so, the board vowed to use the fund's politic Read More

The War on Fun Continues

On January 13 the federal government laid out its long-awaited, newly-revised Dietary Guidelines. Since then, experts have been weighing in on the impact these guidelines may have for the health of the American people. Whether there will be a... Read More

Here Comes the Election!

Blood continues to flow as Iraqis prepare to answer bullets with ballots. Americans must mourn the losses in the ranks of our uniformed forces. But the enemies of Iraqi democracy have made clear that for them the Western media paradigm... Read More

A Little Bit Broken, A Little Bit Perfect

The "information literacy" movement, which seeks to develop a unified methodology for evaluating the explosion of content on the Web, is gathering strength - and that's bad news for Internet surfers everywhere. In mid-January, the New York Times reported that... Read More

How Not to Be a Regulator

Michael Powell's decision Friday to step down as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is a blessed event. It paves the way for a successor who can bring consistency and stability to revive telecom policy -- and competition and lower... Read More

Take the Plus

"The president can promote the individual ownership he wants and protect the guaranteed Social Security benefits Democrats insist on with a new universal 401(k) that offers all Americans a private retirement account in addition to Social Security, and uses... Read More

Where Have All the Children Gone?

In the third century AD there was a prophet called Mani. He preached a doctrine of conflict between Good and Evil. He saw the material world as the devil's creation. Marriage and motherhood was a grave sin in his view,... Read More

The Warmest in 1000 Years? Revisiting the Hockey Stick

A science article that has been accepted by Geophysical Research Letters casts serious doubt on the oft-cited claim that global temperatures are warmer now than they have been anytime in the last 1,000 years. Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick examined... Read More

The Strange Death That No One Cares About

There was a death in Washington recently that received far less attention than it deserved: the New Democrat philosophy of Bill Clinton is dead. This is a truly extraordinary development; one that should not be allowed to pass so quietly.... Read More

The Fraud Dilemma

NATAL, South Africa -- In the wake of Asia's tsunami tragedy, many have called on the United States to substantially increase its aid budget. At the same time, many also want increased accountability from those agencies and governments getting the... Read More

Reasons for Hope in Iraq's Critical Election

All people want freedom. They want to live in societies that are secure, just; and where hopes and dreams can be realized. But securing freedom is not easy. It can be dangerous. It is difficult. And it is messy. Yet... Read More

Nonsense for the Diet Season

After ringing in the New Year, the party's over. The diet season has begun and so do our resolutions to diet and exercise, quit smoking and begin a new life. "Yup, it'll be All Bran all the time in 2005,"... Read More

Is the Right's Legal Theory Wrong?

Harvard Law Professor William Stuntz argues in a recent TCS piece that the Right's emphasis on federalism, originalism and formalism is misguided. Professor Stuntz maintains that federalism is really a manifestation of federal power -- as opposed to a devolution... Read More

Iraqis Defending Iraq

In this violent and tense lead-up to Iraqi elections, welcome words have in recent days been uttered by Lt. Gen. John Vines, commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps. After the Jan. 30 elections, Vines told The New York Times, "The... Read More

China Targets Space

China's space program is, according to news reports, getting more ambitious: "Two Chinese astronauts may be orbiting Earth as early as September, this time spending five days aloft in the nation's second manned venture into outer space, China's space... Read More

A Marriage of Convenience

I don't much care for anything Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, has to say. In particular, I find her columns on gay marriage and adoption often outright offensive -- she seems to take... Read More

The Anglosphere Challenge to the Political Left

"People who define themselves primarily as members of collective entities, whether families, religions, racial or ethnic groups, political movements, or even corporations, cannot be the basis of a civil society. Individuals must be free to dissociate themselves fro Read More

Tipping the Foreign Policy Balance

President Bush's inaugural address has reignited the most basic of foreign policy debates; should American foreign policy include efforts to change the nature of foreign governments? President Bush clearly thinks that the answer to this question is yes,    Read More

The Great Stargazer

If you look up at the awesome Milky Way and smile about its billions and billions of stars, be grateful to Johnny Carson (1925 - 2005) for bringing the universe home through cathode ray technology, his vast talent and avid... Read More

Meeting the Climate Challenge?

Another day, another report on global warming and climate change. (Sigh). This one is called "Meeting the Climate Challenge" from the self-appointed International Climate Change Taskforce and has been organized by The Institute for Public Policy Research (UK), The Read More

Hugh Hewitt's 95 Theses

While it's not the first book on the subject, Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt has written perhaps the most easily accessible book on the Blogosphere yet -- what it is, what it's accomplished, and where it's going. Blog also... Read More

Moron-Proofing Social Security

It's the day after Congress has permitted individual citizens to invest in privately-controlled Social Security accounts, and you've just received a large colorful envelope in the mail, explaining that You May Already be a Winner! A prospectus of government-approve Read More

Social Security's Battle of Britain

Ah, what joy! The good Professor Krugman returns to the fray on the subject of the British pension system and its relevance to the debate over Social Security reform in the United States. How could any self respecting hack who... Read More

Sweden's Helplessness

Outside of Southeast Asia, Sweden is the country that has been hit hardest by the tsunami. The disaster has ignited a debate over the concentration of power and the policies and organization of government that hold some valuable lessons for... Read More

The Iraq Election and the Bogus Objections to It

As the days wind down to the Iraq election, scheduled for January 30, opponents of the Bush administration's project for democratization of the Islamic world, including Americans, Europeans, and Iraqis, continue to object to the timing of the vote. It... Read More

Making Harvard Crimson with Rage

Harvard's Lawrence Summers makes for an unlikely hero of the conservative movement. His liberal credentials are impeccable: president of an Ivy League university, Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton, and economic adviser to Michael Dukakis. But Summer Read More

Wal-Mart Wakes Up

Wal-Mart has an image problem. Unfortunately, the company seems to have only just figured this out. Last week, it launched a nationwide public-relations offensive consisting of full-page ads in national newspapers, aggressive responses to critics in the press and a Read More

Bush's 'Conservative' Vision

Margaret Thatcher once said, "Europe was created by history. America was created by philosophy." In his Inaugural Address on Thursday, George W. Bush essentially said that it was time for America to spread its philosophy of freedom to all... Read More

Nature's Test for New ASEAN Leadership

The tsunami calamity that hit Asia on December 26 was as much a tragedy for ASEAN, the Association of South-east Asian Nations. Of the 12 countries affected, three -- Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand -- are ASEAN members. This is the... Read More

Overcoming the Constraints of Sovereignty

A chief bugaboo in todays political discourse, and one that President Bush addressed forthrightly in his second inaugural speech, is the concept of sovereignty, a notion that has been analyzed since Hugo Grotius, the Dutch 17th century philosopher. Grotius set... Read More

Visionary... and Incendiary

President Bush's second inaugural address was not only visionary, it was incendiary. "By our efforts, we have lit a fire," he proclaimed, "a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who... Read More

Bloated Government

The EU has identified the newest social epidemic: obesity. And, judging from how it intends to combat the problem, with among other things a rash of measures aimed at curbing advertising of "junk food", we are to assume that the... Read More

The Other Inauguration

President Victor Yuschenko's inauguration on Sunday January 23 is not the end of the road: it is the beginning of a fundamentally new relationship between the US and the West, and Ukraine. Washington needs to throw a lifeline to Kyiv... Read More

Europe's Entrepreneurial Spirit

Americans are justly proud of a culture that allows individuals to create businesses without having to negotiate too much regulatory red tape. It's long been thought that Europeans, for whatever reasons, simply do not have the same mindset. This notion... Read More

FEER and the Unknown

The Asian culture wars claimed, late in 2004, their most grievously lamented victim: the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER). The weekly news magazine's owner, American business media corporation Dow Jones, shut it suddenly, sacking 80 staff, 10 per cent... Read More

Conservative Votes, Liberal Institutions

This inauguration marks the seventh, out of the past ten, in which a Republican president parades down Pennsylvania Avenue. At the Capitol, the procession's starting point, Republicans hold a 10-seat majority in the Senate and a solid grasp, for the... Read More

The Real Place for Politics

Last week in this space, the talented young New York Post writer Ryan Sager assembled a formidable list of judiciary-related Congressional actions to argue that Republicans are increasingly engaged in the nefarious behavior of which they accuse their liberal enemie Read More

Wi-Fi Side-By-Side

I love Wi-Fi.  And I've written -- as long ago as three years, and as recently as last month -- about the way technologies like Wi-Fi are leading to the reconfiguring, and repopulation, of public spaces.  Here's the latest example,... Read More

Six Tsunamis

Imagine that every year the world suffered from six or more tsunamis producing the horrific death toll recently experienced. That's how many people die every year from malaria alone, and the tsunami may contribute to even higher rates this year.... Read More

A Matter of Balance

A leading U.S. hurricane researcher at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Dr. Chris Landsea, has resigned from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The reason: To protest the personal leanings of an IPCC lead auth Read More

Divine Inspiration

Whom should President George W. Bush turn to for inspiration for his Second Inaugural Address? As a president dealing with a nation divided over the war in Iraq, he might turn to those sentiments expressed so eloquently by President Abraham... Read More

Hybrid History

The hybrid cars being touted at the big auto shows by Toyota, Honda and Ford, and the ones contemplated by GM and Daimler-Chrysler are the culmination of more than a century of dreams and experiments regarding "mixed propulsion" for... Read More

Crichton's State of Fear...

Many people can teach. Many people can tell great stories. But few people can teach by way of telling a great story. Dr. Michael Crichton, physician-turned-novelist-turned screenplay-writer is one of those few. State of Fear (HarperCollins Publishers, 2004, 603 pag Read More

Chinese Puzzle

Don Evans, the outgoing Commerce Secretary, is to be applauded for his blunt warning to China on its exchange rate policy. On his recent visit to Beijing, Mr. Evans put China on notice in no uncertain terms that it should... Read More

...The State of Frogs

Author Michael Crichton has enraged environmentalists and left-leaning commentators with his new page turner, State of Fear. The novel cleverly exposes the semi-fictitious conspiracy to hoodwink the public into believing human activity is causing catastrophic globa Read More

'Blame The Readers'

As U.S. newspaper circulation tanks, Evan Cornog, publisher of The Columbia Journalism Review, has written a long and deeply nuanced piece in the current edition on the root causes of the decline of newspaper circulation in America. Cornog cites television... Read More

Welcome to the Hotel Rwanda

In 1964 Kitty Genovese was brutally knifed to death in New York City while her neighbors watched from their windows. They heard her screams. They saw what was happening. Yet not one of them lifted a pinky to save... Read More

The Long and Short of Lifespan

"Unlike the cohort life table, the period life table does not represent the mortality experience of an actual birth cohort. Rather, the period life table presents what would happen to a hypothetical (or synthetic) cohort if it experienced throughout its... Read More

Please Pass the Cake

"You'll have to stop this now. It's getting altogether too silly." --- comedian Graham Chapman (1941-1989) As incredible as it sounds, nutrition is no longer the priority for the government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new guidelines put the entire... Read More

Who Will Lead WTO?

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is one of the most important international agencies. Its success depends upon its free trade dogma being as pure as possible. Dr. Supachai Panichpakdi, the Thai head of the organization, is due to retire. Who... Read More

'Man Must Explore'

One of the joys of DVD is that it allows for material that doesn't work in the traditional linear format of a movie or TV show. DVDs of movies rarely use such features such as seamless branching and user-controlled multiple... Read More

The Depolarizing Power of the Blogosphere

Professor Cass Sunstein underestimates the Blogosphere when he argues in a recent Boston Review article that the Internet will further polarize America. Previously left- and right-of-center citizens were brought together at times through watching the same network n Read More

'Tsunami Miracles'

Two centuries ago, the poet Schiller lamented the "disenchantment of the world," as secularism and modernity were leaching away the Wonder of It All. But Schiller needn't have worried. The Great Tsunami of 2004, tragic as it was, is proving... Read More

Orange Iran

To understand one reason America's foreign policy toward Iran has been such a failure for so long, take a hard look at the website for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. NDI, which trumpets successes in Georgia, Ukraine, South... Read More

Not One Damn Dime?

An old friend of mine sent me a chain email about "Not One Damn Dime Day," a boycott of the United States on what most people know as Inauguration Day. You will see more of this chain email as... Read More

'Any Way You Look At It, You Lose'

Now that Bill Clinton's aptly-named "permanent campaign" has resulted in another passed election, followed of course by another permanent campaign until the 2008 election, it's a good time to step back and examine a commonly argued, yet totally fallacious, concept, Read More

From "Peace of Mind" to "A Piece of the Action"

Much of the current angst about the future of the Social Security system can be traced back to an obscure technical debate in 1976 about how initial benefits should be adjusted to account for the pernicious impact of inflation. If... Read More

VAT City

Poland's government is working on a new value-added-tax regulation and the minister of economy advertises it as an action towards "improvement of consumption demand." From that you might think that the VAT will be made lower, since lower taxes and... Read More

Do Hybrids Have Legs?

At the Detroit Auto Show this week, Toyota was displaying one of its Prius hybrid cars and boasting that it had hit 130.7 miles per hour at the Bonneville Salt Flats last August during National Speed Week. It was... Read More

The Tsunami Exploiters

The tsunami the day after Christmas has so far killed more than 150,000 in South Asia and East Africa. It was a terrible tragedy to which the world is responding quickly and generously. But, in some quarters, the tsunami offers... Read More

The New Ralph Nader

After winning the People's Choice Awards for best movie of the year on Sunday night, Fahrenheit 9-11 director Michael Moore was jubilant. "I'll take this as an invitation to make more Fahrenheit 9/11s," he said. And indeed, Mr. Moore's next... Read More

Think Tanks on the Move

All of us have been in contact with ideas of freedom for years or even decades and we have embraced them whole-heartedly. But once people get these ideas, how do they go about developing them? In particular, how do they... Read More

The Last Wave

Every winter, surfers gather on the North Shore of Oahu to try to ride Pacific combers even taller than the walls of water that swept the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26. Nobody surfs a tsunami, but some of the worst... Read More

The Monster and the Nursery

Monsters, like leftists, don't reproduce naturally. Ordinary uncontraceived heterosexual relations do not create little vampires and zombies. Monsters perpetuate themselves through blasphemous acts, like assembling dead body parts into human form, or sharing ancien Read More

Allah and the Tsunami

In the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami, much criticism, most of it extraordinarily shrill, was directed at the United States and other developed nations for alleged lack of generosity in donating to relief for the victims. A hitherto-obscure Norwegian... Read More

More Depressions Like This, Please

Remember all that talk during the just concluded presidential campaign about this being the worst economy since the Great Depression? Or that President Bush's jobs performance is the poorest since Herbert Hoover was in office? Well, with the close... Read More

The Place for Politics

When Chief Justice William Rehnquist swears in President Bush for a second term on Jan. 20, it may well be one of his last acts as a member of the judiciary. After that, it's anyone's guess as to when the... Read More

Consensus, Truisms and Straw Men

In a recent op-ed published in the Washington Post, science historian Naomi Oreskes, elaborating on her essay for Science magazine, argued that the nation's leaders were ignoring a unanimous agreement in the scientific literature that man is responsible for... Read More

Europe's Manifest Destiny

For the first time a non-Christian country is knocking at the European Union's door. And it is in the process of becoming a sustainable liberal democracy precisely because it wants to be a EU member. The impact of this on... Read More

The Right Has the Wrong Legal Theory

Odds are, George W. Bush will soon appoint a new Chief Justice. More Supreme Court appointments will follow, along with hundreds of lower-court judges. The federal judiciary will soon be Bush Country, a fact that could have larger long-term effects... Read More

A Minister-Free Health Care System

Imagine an economist taking the place of a surgeon at an operating table. Such an inhumane experiment would undoubtedly result in a serious bodily harm for the patient. Now let us picture another experiment: a Ministry of Health managed by... Read More

How Should We Coerce Life-Saving Information from Terrorists?

Of the hundreds of memoranda White House Counsel and Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales has sent and received in his career, none has provoked as much controversy as the infamous "torture memo" of August 2002. That memo -- authored by... Read More

Backdoor Draft?

Bradley Graham reports in the Washington Post that Army leaders are pushing to make last year's increase of 30,000 troops in the active-duty force permanent and to change the law to allow longer and more frequent call-ups of some reservists... Read More

Food Fantasies

Imagine Willy Wonka attracting kids with golden tickets to his vegetable farm with the prize being a lifetime supply of carrots. Or first years aboard the Hogwarts Express buying broccoli to get famous witches and wizards cards. Or young children... Read More

A Post-Election Blog Funk?

The election is over, and all across the blogosphere, political bloggers have been wrestling with an existential question: with the next national election two years away, whatever will we write about? And more importantly: is anyone going to stick around... 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

Krugman and DeLong on Social Security

"I figure I might as well lay down what the party line is on Social Security: ...'What party?' you ask. Ah, that *is* an interesting question... -- Brad DeLong Recently, left-leaning economists Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong have each tried... Read More

Trust -- But Verify

On Morcheeba's Who Can You Trust? Skye Edwards sings: "Sometimes I get up feelin' good, but greed gets me down." Some people are singing that about the media world now, too, and the question of who to trust is always... Read More

Japan's Economic Comeback?

In the middle of the eighties, Japan was considered to be one of the most dynamic economies of the world. Japan's economic growth substantially exceeded that of both the US and the European Union (EU). In the nineties Japan's growth... Read More

Vegas, Baby, Vegas: Pardon the Disruption

LAS VEGAS -- The rumblings felt here at the Consumer Electronics Show this week were not the fireworks going off on the Strip. It was the sound of old business models crumbling under the weight of competition from new technologies.... Read More

A Deadly Cocktail in South Africa

On Thursday Nelson Mandela's eldest son, Makgatho died tragically from an AIDS related disease. Mandela has been widely hailed for being open about the cause of his son's death. In a country where the stigma of AIDS forces people to... Read More

TCS Exclusive: 'No Black and White Answers'?

The top official of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria drew a sharp distinction last week between his organization's policy on AIDS drugs and the policy of the United States, his largest source of funds. In an... Read More

Bush, Bin Laden and Iraq

Even strong supporters of President Bush's foreign polices are not blind to the merit of some of the opposing strategic arguments. Those who maintain that the invasion of Iraq was a diversion from the war on terror and that Bush... Read More

At Risk In the Universe... Always

Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death? Have you comprehended the... Read More

Reef Madness

Now that Russia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, Australia is the only industrialized country besides the United States to reject the U.N.-sponsored climate treaty. However, a report commissioned by Australian affiliates of World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace denies Read More

Looking Past the Tsunami to the Rest of Asia's Challenges... and Promises

The awful aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami will preoccupy much of south and east Asia for many months. But although the countries whose coastlines have been devastated are for now forced to turn in on themselves, in time they... Read More

Courting Disaster

With a preliminary victory over Microsoft in its never-ending antitrust prosecution, the European Union aims to assume an ever-larger role in the global economy. Will 2005 witness the emergence of Europe as a true economic superpower? There can be no... Read More

The Other Tsunamis

The great tsunami that washed across Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and other Indian Ocean nations has left in its wake more than 150,000 dead and several million homeless. The outpouring of emergency support, both public and private, has hardly... Read More

Stopping a Flu Pandemic

During the winter of 1918-19, only months after the end of World War I, much of the world was ravaged again, this time by the "Spanish flu" that killed an estimated 40-50 million people. Normal societal functions, including commerce, education... Read More

Let the Capitalists In

Yesterday I suggested that perhaps giving $175 billion a year to corrupt thieves was not quite the most advantageous or efficient method of solving global poverty. I also promised to come back with some ideas about how I thought we... Read More


On December 26, 2004 an immense wave rose up and slaughtered approximately 150,000 people. In addition, it left roughly 5,000,000 people homeless. In the week that followed,  the US and British markets saw significant increases and even Indian Ocean regional.. Read More

Does Bin Laden Seek to Overthrow the Saudi Monarchy?

Of all the media myths about Islamist extremism prevalent in the West, none is hardier than the claim that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida seek to overthrow the Saudi monarchy. This cliché is repeated time after time by network and... Read More

Wake of the Flood, a Plan for Action?

Now that the bottles have been cleared away, now that the symptoms of aspirin poisoning that always seem to accompany my New Year's Day have receded, now is the time to take stock and look forward at the year ahead.... Read More

Rocket Man

"...and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air..."-- The Star Spangled Banner Israeli tanks and troops swept into Gaza this past Sunday in an attempt to deter Palestinian terrorists from firing rockets into southern Israel, something they have... Read More

Is Anything Mightier Than This Sword?

Time Magazine named it "one of the most amazing inventions of 2004," but to terrorists in Iraq it may be the scariest. By April, GIs in Iraq will be deploying 18 robots so small they could almost crawl between your... Read More

The Internet Company That Time) Almost Forgot

In January 2000, when AOL announced plans to acquire Time Warner in a deal valued at $160 billion, nobody would have guessed that the much-ballyhooed transaction would eventually become known as one of the biggest blunders in U.S. corporate history.... Read More

The Politics of Relief

The tragedy in South and South East Asia has shaken the world. Barely ten days after the tsunami swept thousands of kilometers of coastlines, killing an estimate 150,000 people and displacing millions, world leaders gathered for a mini summit... Read More

Debate and Demagoguery

"The administration floated a proposal to cut benefits to future retirees by changing the way those benefits are calculated. And these cuts are guaranteed -- whether you opt in to the Bush plan or not. Here's what the Bush... Read More

Taking the System Out of the Health Care System

Health care systems are failing all over Europe. People are paying more and more for their health care through taxes and insurance premiums, and yet the quality of medical services seems to be getting worse and worse. Every year thousands... Read More

Bringing Choice and Variety

Only the most astonishingly hubristic person could think that it is possible to describe a single health system for a continent of 450 million people, so, having outlined my qualifications, I shall proceed to do so. The most important constraint... Read More

The Consumer Decides

Dorette Corbey, who serves on the European Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection committee, told the audience at a recent conference sponsored by TechCentralStation in Brussels that she is firmly opposed to liberalizing consumer informatio Read More

Client or (In)patient? Curing Is Painful

In the times when EU's best practices are widely copied, health care policy seems to be much at a disadvantage. Complaints about health care are being voiced in every European country. Though different in words, in general they revolve either... Read More

A Market Safety Net

The current German system of compulsory health insurance essentially dates back to the 1920s. It has provided reasonably good health care for many decades. Times have changed, however. Today, the system's built-in tendency towards disproportionally high cost incre Read More

The Beginning of Work

I started my very first honest to goodness full-time adult job two months ago. Not an internship or fellowship, not a summer job or a work-study opportunity to research for a professor, nor a summer associate position at a law... Read More

Islands in the Universe

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean are among the most isolated places on Earth, and their inhabitants include several aboriginal tribes that have varying degrees of interaction with the outside world. In the aftermath of the tsunami,... Read More

Yudhoyono's Transformation

Indonesia's new president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, has just demonstrated that while he may be new in his job, he is a political leader not to be trifled with. Under siege from a hostile parliament controlled by Golkar and its allies... Read More


Just as the Washington D.C. city council finished up carrying a good half billion dollars worth of water for major league baseball this winter -- by promising to underwrite the costs and liability of a shiny new stadium -- another... Read More

The Coalition of the Can Do

The pleasures of UN bashing pale in comparison to the facts on the soggy ground left by the tsunami. What matters, and has mattered from the day the waves hit, is the capacity to make decisions and implement them.... Read More

Where The Communist Manifesto Meets The Koran

Moammar Ghaddafi's son Seif el-Islam, heir-apparent top-dog in the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahariya, is pretending to pressure the Arab League to democratize. He's getting a lot of great press in the West (I goofed and gave him... Read More

911 Is a Joke... or Is It? Let's Find Out

A major new report by National Academies of Science concludes that there is not enough empirical data to determine whether gun control enhances public safety, or whether gun ownership deters crime. The report calls for further data-gathering on firearms injuries... Read More

Global Warming vs. Tsunamis? Tsunamis Win

After the horrific loss of life in the Indian Ocean region from the record earthquake and resulting tsunami last week, I was struck by the immensity of what had happened. While scientists continue to argue over whether we can even... Read More

Saving Us From 'Poverty-Ridden Old Age'

"We have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and his family against...poverty-ridden old-age," said Franklin Roosevelt as he signed the Social Security Act on Aug. 14, 1935. Those are noble,... Read More

The Phantom of the Operating System

PARIS -- Here at the Opéra de Paris it's easy to imagine that a Phantom could be lurking, deep inside the labyrinthine backstage and the basements and sub-basements of this city-block-sized beaux-arts structure, completed in 1875. So if there's magic... Read More

Globalization and 'Contract Culture'

It is obvious that the process of globalization inspires great disagreement concerning its nature and impact. Despite acts of terrorism and labor disputes that have marked this public discussion, one point of agreement is that this process is seemingly irresistible Read More

French Free Fall

In a previous life, I worked in France. There I lived in a Parisian suburb, in a lovely valley near Versailles. Since it was a small village, the mayor was able to maintain close contacts with its citizens, facilitated by... Read More

Ringing in a Liberal or Conservative New Year

I wouldn't normally dare to waste your precious time, dear reader, with light-hearted discussions of frivolous matters. But just this once I ask your permission for an excursion into a realm that, on the face of it, has little in... Read More

Amazonian Compassion

Has the US been stingy in its response to the tsunami disaster in Asia? Depends on whom you ask. Some people at the United Nations think so. Other people, like the Hudson Institute's Carol Adelman, writing in the New... Read More

The Academic Left and the Christian Right, Part II

Five weeks ago, I wrote a column ("Faculty Clubs and Church Pews") that suggested an odd political coalition: intellectuals and evangelicals. A lot of people have e-mailed me about that column, and a number of blogs have commented on it.... Read More

Punch Drunk

Ben Wallace throws an elbow. Ron Artest throws a punch. A fan throws a cup. The rest? International news. After the dust settled, NBA commissioner David Stern handed down the most sweeping suspensions in league history. Ron Artest was on... Read More

The Right Kind of Aid

As more aid pours in for the unfortunate victims of the Asian tsunami, there has been much hand-wringing that nations, notably the Untied States, have not done enough. But while the highly paid UN staff whips up, and the media... Read More

The Ties That Bind

It's beyond dispute at this point that the U.S. has transgressed some serious moral boundaries in its treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. How we've arrived at this point was, in some sense, inevitable and it holds a valuable... Read More

Why is James Glassman Worried?

So James K. Glassman, the founder of TCS and co-author of Dow 36,000, has actually gone pessimistic and worries that our children might not live better than we do. Glassman's Fears Glassman writes that the U.S. is developing a science... Read More

Damn That Radio Song

Listening to music snobs whine about how bad radio is these days is boring. Almost as boring as well, listening to the radio. So, it's with no small degree of glee that audiophiles -- and their friends and families --... Read More

Data-Mining for Dollars

When the Pentagon in 2002 announced a plan to employ powerful, computerized searches of public data to discern an individual's potential ties to terror, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stood on principle and resisted what it considered a governmental... Read More

Capitalism Without Capital

"What's really amazing about the Long Tail is the sheer size of it. Combine enough nonhits on the Long Tail and you've got a market bigger than the hits. Take books: The average Barnes & Noble carries 130,000 titles. Yet... Read More

Crisis and Opportunity

The Sumatra tsunami looks like the biggest natural killer since the Tangshan earthquake in China nearly 30 years ago. The latest estimate of the deathtoll is 150,000. Crises like these are natural circuit breakers. They also create danger and opportunities... Read More

Mainstream Meltdown

Despite the fact that Big Media in general appears to be reconciling itself to the Blogosphere, there remain Big Media denizens who are having more than a little trouble adjusting to blogs. This year, in response to the "Rathergate" saga... Read More

Disasters and Distributed Responses

The good news is that the asteroid I mentioned in last week's column isn't going to hit the Earth. The bad news is that the impact of the Indian Ocean earthquake/tsunami turns out to be far worse than it appeared... Read More

Witches and Weather

Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by Dr. Sallie Baliunas, PhD, enviro-sci host of Tech Central Station. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7, 2004... Read More

Reinventing Borders

Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7, 2004 in Toronto, ON. James Glassman: Please continue to eat, everyone, our... Read More

Is Harm Reduction Possible?

Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by Dr. Michael Kunze, Professor of Public Health, University of Vienna (Austria). The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7,... Read More

Disease Without Borders

Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by Dr. David Gratzer, a physician and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on... Read More

The BMI Problem

Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by Radley Balko, policy analyst at the Cato Institute. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7, 2004 in Toronto,... Read More

The Geologic Record and Climate Change

The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by Dr. Tim Patterson, Professor of Geology at Carleton University. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7, 2004 in Toronto,... Read More

Risk and Animal Spirits

Editor's note: The following remarks were delivered at the Risk: Regulation and Reality Conference by James Glassman, founder of TCS. The conference was co-hosted by Tech Central Station and was held on October 7, 2004 in Toronto, ON. James Glassman:... Read More

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