TCS Daily : February 2005 Archives

The Peculiar Institution: Understanding Why Palestinian Terror Is Different

1. THE PALESTINIANS' MOMENT OF TRUTH The Palestinian people stand at a critical moment in their history. They can rally behind the efforts of their new leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to bring an end to the Palestinian tradition of terror,... Read More

Why Not Sununu?

Every four years speculation bubbles that some New Hampshire politician or another might join the national ticket for one of the major parties. It has to do with the prestige of the Granite State's first-in-the-nation primary. In 1996, then-Governor Steve... Read More

Are We All Happy Yet?

Of late there have been a number of stories in the media about happiness, all of them noting with concern that surveys are showing that there isn't enough of it around. Despite historically unprecedented levels of wealth and leisure, citizens... Read More

Father Knows Best?

If ever there was reason to reconsider the wisdom of having our healthcare and insurance under employment or government mandate, the "war on obesity" is it. The surge of employer-based health insurance, which didn't happen in other insurance markets such... Read More

Global Tax; or Global Tax Reform?

Am I the only one who noticed that the Kyoto Protocol (imposing artificial constraints on energy use to regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide to reduce the 'greenhouse effect' to, supposedly, reduce the hypothetical rate of theoretical global warming) came into effec Read More

Completing the Dividend Revolution

In May 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (JGTRRA). The centerpiece of the plan was the slashing of the double tax placed on dividends and the equalizing of the dividend... Read More

Solutions That Are Working

Johannesburg, South Africa -- AIDS has been in the news a great deal lately, more than usual. The South African generic drugs company, Aspen Pharmacare has just announced that its generic versions of its AIDS drugs have been accepted by... Read More

"We Think You're Dirt"

I'm no movie critic, but the best film I've seen this year, without a doubt, is "Hotel Rwanda." It's so good, I saw it twice in a week, including once in the company of my 12- and 14-year-old nephews, who... Read More

Coffee Causes Cancer! Oops, This Just In! Coffee Prevents Cancer!

Recent headlines claimed that drinking coffee can reduce our risk of liver cancer. A study of some 90,000 Japanese found that people who drank coffee daily or nearly every day had half the liver cancer risk of those who... Read More

Time to Think Outside the Boards

It's gone, now. There will be no 2004-2005 NHL season, and no Stanley Cup champion for the first time since 1919. No miraculous saves to recall, no dramatic overtime goals to revel in or mourn over, no playoff intensity to... Read More

Why Does an Important Climate Program Go Unheralded?

European greens expressed their displeasure with President Bush on his visit to Europe this week for American unwillingness to support the Kyoto accord, with its greenhouse gas emissions cuts for developed nations. But the Bush administration is taking concrete... Read More

Services Without Borders

Among the few genuinely pro-market initiatives pushed by EU authorities is the European Commissions proposal for the so-called services directive, which has not surprisingly stirred much controversy of late. The aim of this legislation is to provide a legal framewo Read More

A Specter is Haunting Arabia

Would the Lebanese uprising against Syrian occupation have happened had we not invaded Iraq two years ago? There is every reason to think not. And this genuine display of People Power is only a manifestation of a deeper undercurrent slowly... Read More

Oh Canada, Oh Kyoto

Canada's past Prime Minister Jean Chretien adopted the Kyoto treaty without adequately considering the science or the costs. Now the costs are coming home -- last week his successor Paul Martin brought in a budget with $6 billion earmarked for... Read More

Among the Fellow Travelers

My experience at CPAC was a little different than that of my Tech Central co-blogger, Ryan Sager. As a libertarian who often finds more comfort with the left these days than the right, I went to the conference expecting the... Read More

Is Iraq Paving the Way for More Terror?

CIA Director Porter Goss' recent Senate testimony will most likely solidify what has already congealed into the conventional wisdom on the Iraq war: that rather than blunting the spread of Islamic radicalism, the war and occupation is actually fueling it... Read More

Ward Churchill: Republican Civil Rights Pioneer

In one respect, Ward Churchill is a Republican civil rights pioneer. Ward Churchill is the professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado who compared the 9/11 World Trade Center victims to Nazis. Churchill got his job in part... Read More

Europe's Way Forward

Everyone talks about the need for economic growth. It is a top priority for the Barroso Commission. But does any leading politician realize what changes need to be made? We have to move rapidly away from the European social model.... Read More

Thompson, What Am I Going to Do With You?

I sat around a lot in airports during the summer of 1998. The previous fall, I had become involved in an internet-related project which had begun in my native state of Connecticut. When the project moved to Houston in the... Read More

The Scarlet Placard

As the Kyoto Treaty to limit carbon dioxide emission takes hold, boldly-forwarded new schemes concocted to reduce energy use seem as silly as they are pointless. The U. K.'s Department for Transport is rating the amount of carbon dioxide... Read More

Hopeful Signs, at Last, for U.S. Public Diplomacy

While President Bush has sent Congress a budget that keeps the growth of discretionary programs below the rate of inflation, he has proposed increasing outlays on public diplomacy by about one-fifth. That's a smart move, and it shows that something... Read More

The Washington Doctrine

In his second inaugural address, President Bush, speaking about human liberty, announced that "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one." The president heralded a confluence of interests and ideals that is both synergistic and unique. Synergist Read More

Expensive Fish Fears

Declaring it "another victory for public health," an environmental group announced yet another national restaurant chain had discontinued offering swordfish to all of their customers "as a result of a national campaign calling for its removal due to high levels... Read More

Actuarially Unsound

"Enactment of this plan would eliminate the Social Security long-range actuarial deficit and meet the criteria for sustainable solvency. The program would be expected to remain solvent throughout the 75-year projection period and for the foreseeable future beyond. Read More

Does the MSM Salivate?

It took the Eason Jordan scandal to finally get the mainstream media up in arms about the phenomenon of blogging. And now Big Media appears resolved to take bloggers down a notch by any means necessary. Those means include trying... Read More

The Sport of Purple America

Hockey is the quintessential Purple American sport. Its traditional base lies in blue states such as the frozen M's (Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota), New York, Illinois, and in Canada, but its grassroots are generally concentrated in the reddest part of. Read More

Self-Ownership Is a Key to China's Future Prosperity

President Hu Jintao understands the importance of improving the lives of Chinas rural poor. As it is, most of the 800 million Chinese peasants feel they were left out of the boom that brought relative prosperity and modernity to... Read More

Cyborgization, Revisited

A while back, I wrote a column on creeping cyborgization. It was largely inspired by the strapon computer that I use when scuba diving, but it did include this passage:         Once I started thinking about it, I realized tha Read More

Steal These Emissions

The EU recently launched its latest bureaucratic Leviathan: a so-called market for emissions trading. Using the word "market" might indicate a degree of voluntary participation on behalf of the companies involved. But that is not the case here. The EU... Read More

Don't Fear the Ukraine

In all his talks with EU officials and politicians of many European countries, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is pushing to start negotiations on the accession of his country to the EU as soon as possible. The formalized accession process, he... Read More

Rifts and the Right

In his call for more libertarianism within the conservative movement, Ryan Sager is right to argue that conservatives, "can't survive by religious extremism and tax cuts alone." But by the same measure, libertarians will make no progress with conservatives... Read More


BRUSSELS -- Forgive the late report on last week's entering into force of the Kyoto Protocol, but I thought it might be a good idea to wait for the euphoria to wear off before attempting a coherent analysis of this... Read More

Dumb and Dumber: Revisiting Conservatives as the Stupid Party

It was likely John Stuart Mill, in 1866, who first dubbed conservatives the Stupid Party: "I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that... Read More

Bush-Putin: The Toughest Summit Ever

MOSCOW -- Meetings with key Russian officials in this town last week reveal that the Putin Administration is facing a crisis of confidence. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov's Cabinet survived a Duma vote of no confidence on February 9th, but... Read More

Scaring the Cap Out of You

President Bush irked some proponents of Social Security reform last week by suggesting he would consider lifting the pensions cap in the system. Here's why the cap's important, and why the President shouldn't touch it. The cap -- as technicians... Read More

Free Khodorkovsky!

In his second Inaugural Address, President George W. Bush launched what we can now safely call the Bush Doctrine: the spread of democracy and liberty anywhere is in the self-interest of free societies everywhere. The sources of inspiration for this... Read More

Whither Europe?

President Bush's fence-mending trip through the EU will be greeted with all manner of protests. A curious mixture of antiwar hostility, groupthink, and Eurotopianism is the prevailing sentiment over there. While many Europeans will have questions for the President Read More

Origins of the Post-Democratic Democrats

Iraq's January 30 elections were a success. Iraqis braved the threat of violence and turned out at the polls. Pride in participating within Iraq was obvious; there was literally dancing in the streets. Back in the United States, however, the... Read More

Who is a Pragmatist?

"David Brinkley, writing the introduction of an early book of portraits of the Kennedy people, would...note that at an early Washington cocktail party a woman had gone around the room asking each of the hundred people there if he... Read More

The Japan Cards

On February 19, Japan and the US agreed that Taiwan's security is a common interest. The announcement came after a meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura and Defense Mi Read More

The Right's Right

Welcome to the furthest right reaches of the right: the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC for short. Here, evolution is a wild hypothesis, "Log Cabin Republican" is a slur and young women know they have to wear short skirts... Read More

Second Thoughts in Both Directions

The election in Iraq has done to some on the anti-war left what the revelations of torture in Abu Ghraib prison did to others on the hawkish right. Mark Brown wonders aloud in the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times: What... Read More

More Tax Please, We're Swedish

In Sweden - already the country with the highest taxes in the industrialized world - the ruling social democrats are now running for re-election on raising taxes even more. Sweden is certainly an odd bird among civilized nations. The proposal... Read More

Madness in America

The passing of Rosemary Kennedy reminds us not only of another stain on the Kennedy legacy, but also of some rather barbaric psychiatric practices that had been acceptable methods of treatment as recently as 1967. That was the year in... Read More

The Quadrangle of Evil: What to do about 'Friendly Syria'?

In the wake of the shocking assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, White House press secretary Scott McClellan fielded the following question on Tuesday: "The President has spoken repeatedly about an 'axis of evil.' With Syria's suspected inc Read More

Ego, Testosterone, and the Academy: Why the Controversy Over Larry Summers is Important

"if one is talking about physicists at a top twenty-five research university, one is not talking about people who are two standard deviations above the mean. And perhaps it's not even talking about somebody who is three standard deviations above... Read More

Sod Off, Swampy!

Last Wednesday the Kyoto Protocol kicked in and Greenpeace decided to mark the event in Britain by storming London's International Petroleum Exchange, the world's second-largest energy market, with the modest ambition of closing down trading for the day. Around 35. Read More

Needed: A Liberty Candidate

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are together one of the most effective efforts to date to preserve certain human freedoms; yet in spite of it, we Americans have walked a good way down Hayek's Road to Serfdom. In... Read More

Enter the Dragon: Nuclear Power's Newest Player

Get ready for a new nuclear competition, a no-holds barred battle between two totally different views of nuclear power's future. Unlike past battles, this is not about whether we should build more nukes but rather what kind of nukes we... Read More

The Really Important Battle on the Horizon

TCS Europe Editor Craig Winneker talks to Jonathan Zuck, President of the Association for Competitive Technology, about the fallout from the EU Court of First Instance's decision to uphold a record fine against Microsoft and also about the European Parliament's... Read More

'The Duty of the Opposition Is...'

Some Democrats think that Howard Dean's ascension to the chairmanship of the party is a sign of bad tidings. Jonathan Chait is depressed over Dean's loose lips and poor organization skills. As James Pinkerton reports, the Clinton Democrats are displeased... Read More

Economic Kiwi Fruit

In 2001, Congress cut income tax rates for the first time since 1986. However, it did little to reduce the extreme complexity of the tax system -- and may have made it even more complicated. And things have gone downhill... Read More

The Millionaire Next Door vs. the Politician in Washington

"Usually the wealthy individual is a businessman who has lived in the same town for all of his life. This person owns a small factory, a chain of stores, or a service company. He has married once and remains... Read More

Reductio ad Jihadam

A certain style of popular argument seeks to win debating points by associating any adversary, especially if the latter is a conservative, with Nazism or fascism. The philosopher Leo Strauss, of whom we all hear much of late, called this... Read More

The Money Is In the Long Tail

Ed Driscoll recently pointed to Chris Anderson's article "The Long Tail" and discussed the implications for the blogosphere, just as Anderson's original Wired magazine article pointed out the implications for retailing. Given the way in which such memes are used... Read More

Bush, FDR and Social Security

Shortly after President Bush's State of the Union address New York Times columnist Paul Krugman accused President Bush of trying to "destroy" the America created by FDR by introducing private accounts into the Social Security system. I wrote a column... Read More

Allowing Families vs. Family Allowances

In Belgium resident parents receive family allowances: age supplements, sick or disabled child supplements and birth grants. In Denmark a protection scheme based on residency grants family allowances and supplements for full and half-orphans. Similar grants exist i Read More

Were the New Mutual Fund Rules Necessary or Superficial?

On September 3, 2003, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer filed a complaint against hedge fund Canary Capital Partners LLC, alleging Canary defrauded consumers by engaging in both late trading and market timing of mutual fund shares. At the same... Read More

Dull, But Worthy

In 1996, a couple of marketing professors named Thomas Stanley and William Danko transformed some startling research on the habits of America's wealthy into a big bestseller called "The Millionaire Next Door." They found that, unlike Donald Trump, most millionaires Read More

America Against the World?

Some things end at their beginning.--Russell Seitz The global treaty designed to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that result from energy use, called the Kyoto Protocol, goes into effect Wednesday without the participation of the United States. The lack of... Read More

Waking Up to Kyoto

On 15 July 2004 the European Environment Agency (EEA) released the following statement: "EU15 greenhouse gas emissions decline after two years of increases." The news release explained that in 2002 the EU15's emissions were 0.5 percent lower than the year... Read More

The Difference Between Islamic Terrorists and Others

As the War on Terror moves towards its fourth anniversary, and with no end in sight, it is likely that the call for western policymakers to re-evaluate their self-imposed taboo on "talking to terrorists" will gather momentum. Just last December,... Read More

Real Social Security Reform

While people are debating Social Security reform, I want to make a more ambitious proposal: Let's get rid of Social Security. And let's do it by making sure that people will live so long that the idea of "retirement" will... Read More

Kyoto's Promise v. Climate Reality

The Kyoto Protocol will officially go into effect on February 16th, and negotiators throughout the world will rejoice given their triumph in international diplomacy. The implementation of the Protocol coincides with Michael Crichton's State of Fear emerging as a be Read More

TCS Convention on Biodiversity Coverage: Diminishing Biodiverse Returns

It used to be said that if you built a better mouse trap the world would beat a path to your door, they were coming to convey riches upon you. Today, in Bangkok, though, representatives from around the world are... Read More

TCS Convention on Biodiversity Coverage:Bangkok's Mouse Trap

It used to be said that if you built a better mouse trap the world would beat a path to your door, they were coming to convey riches upon you. Today, in Bangkok, though, representatives from around the world are... Read More

Opposition During Wartime

Opposing a government in wartime is proving to be a frustrating experience for the political enemies of president George W. Bush and prime minister Tony Blair. Against their expectations, Democrats saw President Bush re-elected with a majority of the popular... Read More

AARP Invests in Hypocrisy

The President has made fixing Social Security his number-one domestic objective, but the fight won't be easy -- in part because of fierce opposition by the AARP, the seniors' lobby, with 35 million members. The AARP is using an old... Read More

Dr. Death Wish?

So the Democrats have chosen Howard Dean to be their fearless leader for the foreseeable future. This is no token chairmanship, as the party with minority status in both houses of Congress and in the statehouses has no obvious spokesman... Read More

TCS Convention on Biodiversity Coverage: 'Mega Diverse' Countries Against Markets

BANGKOK -- The Greens have always disliked free markets. It is one reason they hate the World Trade Organization (WTO). Now they have a have fresh offensive. They are pushing an international convention to weaken intellectual property rights by overriding... Read More

One, Two, Many Broken Windows

Albert Einstein is often attributed with defining insanity as doing the same over and over, hoping to achieve different results. Another possible definition is seeing one thing and describing it as its exact opposite -- with the corollary that to... Read More

India's Deadly Lies

The World Trade Organization has long faced angry accusations that its patent rules deny patients in poor countries life-saving medicines by making them too expensive. But starting three years ago, two academic studies -- one in the Journal of the... Read More

A Contract with Iraq

There have been many complaints that the Sunni population of Iraq was not sufficiently represented in the final tally of the votes in the recent Iraqi national election, and there may be some legitimate grounds for these complaints. Yet the... Read More

Mind the Banks

While many people were still reeling from the injuries inflicted by the bubble, absurdly-inflated prices richocheted around the world. For example, the governments in China and Korea have been complaining about real estate bubbles as evident in soaring pric Read More

Can Soft Power Really Save the World?

Almost a year after the launch of the so called European Security Strategy (ESS), European leaders should re-visit the document and ask themselves: have we lived up to our joint commitments? To be fair, from the politicians' point of view,... Read More

The Art of the Hustle

NEW YORK -- If you haven't seen the Gates in Central Park, don't worry about it. You haven't missed anything. I saw them opening day, Saturday, and as expected I was very disaappointed. There they were, 7,500 metal "gates,"... Read More

The Problem of Chickendoves

Any yammering propeller-headed nitwit can tell the world to make love, not war, and no one can impeach his sincerity in making that plaintive demand. By contrast, anyone who supports the war had better be a card-carrying military veteran, or... Read More

Kyoto's Walls Are Crumbling Down

The Kyoto Protocol goes into effect Wednesday, and yet its walls are crumbling down. A high-profile campaign by the British government -- focusing on the discussion of a new alarming report by the International Climate Change Taskforce: 'Meeting The Climate... Read More

Will Blogs Produce a Chilling Effect?

Imagine that mind reading were suddenly imposed on humanity automatically transmitting all our thoughts to those around us. Involuntary telepathy would destroy countless marriages as wives learned of their husbands perverse fantasies. Bosses would fire millions aft Read More

Human Artillery Shells

"A pale martyr in his shirt of fire." -- Alexander Smith, 1853 Last week a young man walked into a crowd of Iraqi army recruits in central Baghdad and blew himself up, killing at least 21 and wounding 27 others.... Read More

Red for Romance

The Atlantic Ocean separates me from my wife and daughter this Valentine's Day. At the supermarket a few days ago, I lovingly read dozens of cards. I picked some out and covered them with adoring scribbles. I also sent a... Read More

Health Insurance and Bankruptcy

"we surveyed 1,771 personal bankruptcy filers in five federal courts and subsequently completed in-depth interviews with 931 of them. About half cited medical causes, which indicates that 1.92.2 million Americans (filers plus dependents) experienced medical bankru Read More

They've Got Nukes. So Is the Proliferation Security Initiative Working?

In mid-2002 the Bush administration embarked on a plan to bottle up North Korea's efforts to build a nuclear weapon, hoping to choke its ability to export nukes and other dangerous technologies to anyone willing to pay. Called the Proliferation... Read More

The Greeks Had a Word for It: Hegemony vs. Empire

The word "hegemony" has become an essential part of the jargon of the anti-American left. Followers of Noam Chomsky, for example, use the word as often as possible. For most of them, hegemony has become a synonym for empire, and... Read More

We All Scream for Dean... But Maybe We Shouldn't

Republicans are smiling and high-fiving at the prospect of Howard Dean being elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, which seems like a sure thing this Saturday. But as Oscar Wilde said, "When the gods wish to punish us they... Read More

Let's Have a Do Over

When Congress approved the prescription drug benefit in 2003, it did so with the understanding that the bill's projected price tag would amount to about $400 billion over ten years. Even then, the bill barely squeaked by, and was nearly... Read More

Mind the Gap: Revisiting 'The Pentagon's New Map'

When Thomas P.M. Barnett's controversial book "The Pentagon's New Map" was published in April 2004, it received an odd sort of bi-polar public reception. On the one hand, former Pentagon briefer Barnett was the subject of a favorable profile on... Read More

A Worthy Battlestar

The new Battlestar Galactica television series has enjoyed a fair amount of critical and commercial success, yet it is disdained by enthusiasts of the 1970s series on which it is loosely based. Having watched the original series during my junior-high-school... Read More

Is Milton Friedman a Utopian?

Richard Parker's February 6th Boston Globe article "The Pragmatist and the Utopian" is an interesting comparison between legendary economists John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman. In the article, Parker gives a long history of what he sees as the relationship Read More

Cartel Blanche

"The Commission will not and cannot tolerate price fixing and market sharing. I will not allow companies to carve up the EU's single market among themselves and deny customers the benefits to which they are entitled." So said the EU's... Read More

Beginning of the End for Embryonic Stem Cell Research?

Supporters of expanded federal funding for embryonic stem cell (ESC) research were disappointed by President Bush's State of the Union Address, which indicated no softening of restrictions. Instead, he said he'd work to "ensure that human embryos are not created... Read More

Shoot the Stupid Consumer

the average claim rate on the rebate fulfillment house's table was about 25 percent. "Now, here's the interesting part," the reader wrote. "The rebate fulfillment house will GUARANTEE IN WRITING to the manufacturer that the percentage of rebates claimed... Read More

The Bill That Wouldn't Die

You may hear the creak of a coffin-lid today as the alarmists' favorite domestic energy suppression measure rises from the grave. This particularly pungent revenant is the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act 2003, 2004, 2005, an attempt to establish the princi Read More

US and Europe, Closer Together

"There is nothing Europeans want to hear from George Bush, nothing that will change their minds," wrote Thomas Friedman of the New York Times recently after he spent 10 days in Europe. "Mr. Bush is more widely and deeply despised... Read More

The WTO Is in Trouble

Free trade agreements (FTAs) are popping up everywhere. In its first term the Bush Administration got four through Congress and started another three. China is now negotiating FTAs with Chile and New Zealand. Not everyone thinks they are good. Peter... Read More

The War on Speech

The war on free speech continues in Congress. The crew that did its darndest to repeal the First Amendment back in 2002 -- Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold and Reps. Chris Shays and Marty Meehan is back, and now... Read More

Hail Sovereignty

The word "sovereignty" is a twisted one, and so is the general understanding of it. It made its first appearance in medieval Latin in late 13th century as "supremitas". Its original form in classical Latin was "suprema potestas" -- supreme... Read More

The Coming Boxer Rebellion

Sic Semper Tyrannis. Such reads the State flag of Virginia. "Thus always to tyrants," it says. The flag features a warrior woman "Virtue" stepping triumphantly upon a fallen despot. Though given the Virginia legislature's recent 60-34 vote to adopt a... Read More

Sufism and the Future of Islam

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- As the year came to a close, in an elegant residence in the capital city of this Central Asian ex-Soviet republic, Sheikh Muhammad Sadiq Muhammad Yusuf, the 52-year old, former grand mufti, or chief Muslim cleric... Read More

Keep Allawi at the Helm

Everyone who thinks that democracy in Iraq is a good thing, hold up your hand. Now everyone who thinks that interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi should have been soundly defeated in the Iraqi national elections, hold up your hand.... Read More

Democracy and Hope in Gaza

The howls of pessimism that followed the recent, first-ever, local elections in the Gaza Strip are certainly understandable. The interminable Israeli-Palestinian dispute has, after all, broken the hearts and taken the lives of many would-be peacemakers over the yea Read More

Paul Krugman's FDR Problem

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is a great economist (he was awarded the prestigious John Bates Clark medal), but he'd be a much better polemicist if he knew some important facts about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. On Tuesday Krugman wrote... Read More

Stop Whining About Partisanship

Americans feel alienated from politics because of the constant and childish bickering that goes on between opposing politicians. The negative personal attacks, the thirty second sound bites, the culture of investigative journalism and politics cause political obser Read More

Toxic Botsuits

Last week saw an amusing story of litigation gone awry. As ABC News reported: Gertrude Walton was recently targeted by the recording industry in a lawsuit that accused her of illegally trading music over the Internet. But Walton died in... Read More

Alpha Companies, Beta Products... and Solving the Innovator's Dilemma

While "beta" releases within the software industry have been around forever, the way that companies view these beta releases is starting to change. Typically, software companies test products prior to commercial release, allowing a small community of beta testers a Read More

Greenwashing Putin

Historians will remember Russian President Vladimir Putin for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones might be that he has found a politically correct way to be politically incorrect. He understands that political correctness is only a... Read More

Can Taiwan Do Better?

Taiwan's economic growth rate of about 5.9 percent for 2004 was the best performance in seven years. At the same time, the unemployment rate improved to just over 4 percent, its lowest level since May 2001. Despite these improvements, policy... Read More

Hubble, Hubble, Worth the Trouble?

With the release of the administration's budget this week, it looks like it's finally the end of the road for the Hubble Space Telescope -- there's no request in it for funds to repair or reboost it. Its future had... Read More

Berlin Airlift

BERLIN - "Is Bush nevertheless right with his vision?" the commentator Jan Ross of the German weekly Die Zeit asked recently. It's an almost heretial question in today's Germany. One should feel "some shame", Ross told his readers, referring to... Read More


President Bush's State of the Union address made clear that his plans for his second term will focus on two projects: the Greater Middle East Initiative and Social Security overhaul. The response from the other side of the aisle suggests... Read More

Overstating the Shiite Monolith

Even before elections in Iraq, it was a foregone conclusion that Shiites would come out of the process the dominant community. Yet, a more urgent question being posed today in the Middle East is, What happens to Shiites throughout the... Read More

They March for Themselves

On the day President Bush was re-inaugurated, protesters clogged the streets of downtown Portland, Oregon with their usual lashing-out-in-your-face performance-art shtick. It took me thirty minutes to get home. It usually takes me five. Almost 80 percent of Multno Read More

Tipping the Balance In Favor of Terrorists

Should foreign terrorists captured abroad, who are neither American citizens nor resident aliens but who are detained at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, be entitled to the suite of constitutional rights available to criminal defendants in U.S.... Read More

Giving Power to the People

The World Economic Forum handed researchers a list of countries ranked by pollution levels and asked them to identify explanatory factors. The findings were a surprise. Think of the usual suspects you might expect to promote pollution. Urbanization? Car ownership?. Read More

More of the Same?

Asia is anticipating a second term George Bush administration that is Asia-savvy, cautiously pro-China, eager to reinforce the positive instincts of new Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and utterly mesmerised by events in the Middle East. When Bush pl Read More

Lisbonne, Mon Amour

It had all the makings of a high-profile corporate rollout: a slow-reveal build-up of media anticipation culminating in a curtain-raising front-page exclusive in a major broadsheet; a day-long schedule of press availabilities and PowerPoint theatrics; even a snazzy Read More

Private Matters and 'Public Health'

Obesity Policy Report has become a leading insider newsletter for lawmakers, regulators, food industry executives, and nutrition advocates. The following is a Q&A the publication recently ran with frequent TCS contributor and Cato Institute policy analyst Radle Read More

The Trouble with NGOs in Afghanistan

Afghanistan's planning minister, Dr. Ramazan Bashar Dost, was forced to resign recently after a series of disputes with non-government organizations (NGOs. The western educated technocrat has discovered the extent to which NGOs are held beyond criticism. Dr. Bashar Read More

Table the Timetable

As if to mark Iraq's elections, Democrats on Capitol Hill have begun clamoring for a fixed date of departure for U.S. soldiers. "At least 12,000 American troops, probably more, should leave at once," Sen. Edward Kennedy has said. Withdraw 120,000... Read More

Chasing the Long Tail

Back in October of last year, Chris Anderson of Wired magazine created a powerful meme -- the concept of "The long tail". His article discussed how e-tailers such as Amazon and Netflix are changing how we think about inventories of... Read More

Unshackling a Continent

Robert Guest, the Africa editor of The Economist magazine, has written a useful and easy-to-read book. The Shackled Continent: Power, Corruption, and African Lives is both descriptive in presenting the extent of Africa's political and economic predicaments and norm Read More

Not-So-Free Press

Last month, Hans-Martin Tillack, the former Brussels correspondent of the German magazine Stern, was awarded the Leipzig Prize for the Freedom and the Future of the Media. This was given to Tillack jointly with Seymour M. Hersh, Britta Petersen and... Read More

At Ease, Gen Mattis!

To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a positive crime in the statesman. -- George Santayana I'd heard of U.S. Marine Gen. Jim Mattis from other Marines over the years... Read More

Climate Glacier Politics

What started out as a glacier hiking holiday in the fabulous Southern Alps of New Zealand descended into something quite different. Is the Franz Josef glacier, the most famous in New Zealand, receding and an example of man-made climate change... Read More

Work Week Tyranny

Socialist and communist lawmakers in France are introducing close to 130 amendments to block or water down reforms to the country's draconian labor laws, which currently make it a crime (with some prohibitively expensive exceptions) to work more than 35... Read More

The United States as an Indebted Empire

One has to be amazed at the complacency of US policymakers about the geo-political dimension of the large US balance of payments deficit. For so long as a large external deficit persists, foreign central banks will continue accumulating massive financial... Read More

Tortured by Symbols: A New Flag Controversy

Parsing torture is in vogue. Bloggers and columnists ask: Are water-boarding and using guard dogs to cause fear, torture? I say yes. Some say no. But I know for sure what isn't torture: Wrapping a detainee in an Israeli flag.... Read More

No War Over Oil

"Many of the leading neoconservatives who pushed hard for the Iraq war are going green. James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and staunch backer of the Iraq war, now drives a 58-miles-per-gallon Toyota Prius and has... Read More

Solving the Asbestos Imbroglio

"Justice is distorted and our economy is held back," declared President George W. Bush in his State of the Union speech, by "frivolous asbestos claims." In fact, abusive asbestos litigation has ruined companies, left victims uncompensated, and clogged the courts... Read More

The Compensation Conundrum

Executive compensation has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two decades. By 2003, the average large firm CEO made 500 times what the average worker made. In the aggregate, during the five-year period 1998-2002, compensation paid to the... Read More

Germany's Neo-Gaullism

Europe's latest diplomatic initiative -- to convince Iran to halt its development of nuclear weapons -- had barely had a chance to succeed and already German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is undermining it. Since 2002, when Iran was found to be... Read More

What the Doctor Ordered

In a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal, former European Parliament President Pat Cox MEP called on Commission President José Manuel Barroso and his team to "give freedom its hour of expression and allow Europeans to discover and realize... Read More

Get Behind the Wheel of a Dictator!

Yes, it was once possible to get behind the wheel of a Dictator -- a Studebaker Dictator. That's what the car was called, believe it or not, and it sold pretty well. More about that shortly. This all came to... Read More

Will the Real Hernando de Soto Please Stand Up?

Stop the presses! Hernando de Soto is harming the poor! So argues John Gravois, a reporter for the Chronicle of Higher Education, in a recent Slate article. Gravois sets out to debunk the man he considers "the patron saint of... Read More

Government Cancer Tips Are Misleading

The government is not doing a good job in telling us what causes cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (and quickly challenging heart disease for that ranking). Understandably, Americans are very concerned... Read More

Arab Wall Street Rides the Bull

ChartWell has long argued that capital markets are a great place to look for insight into the prospects for a future democratic and capitalist Middle East. When people in closed societies answer questions from pollsters, the value of those... Read More

Booing FDR

Amid the applause, there were a few boos for President George W. Bush during his State of the Union address. Most came from Democrats when the president spoke about reforming Social Security. But as TV cameras panned the room,... Read More

America the Incredible

He's a fairly ordinary, middle-class fellow who doesn't act as though he wields near-godlike power. But he's nearly unstoppable, capable of besting any imaginable enemy, and yet he seems perfectly content with his lovely wife, three kids, and a nice... Read More

Tokyo Tax Trouble

For most politicians and bureaucrats, so-called tax reform is a cover for them to raise taxes. And so it is not surprising that Japan's Tax Commission insists it is impossible to avoid tax increases to sort out Tokyo's fiscal... Read More

Happy Birthday IP

Intellectual property in Australia has just celebrated an important birthday: the centenary of "IP Australia". IP Australia was first established in 1904 as the Australian Patent Office, to administer Australia's patent law. Few countries have formally defended the Read More

Live Blogging the State of the Union

The Internet continues to liberate citizens from the information stranglehold once enjoyed by the establishment media. The President's State of the Union Address Wednesday night demonstrates precisely how it's happening. Consider the phenomenon of live blogging As Read More

Was the Iraq Election like Vietnam 1967? Or America 1864?

Several critics of the Second Iraq War have attempted to throw cold water on those celebrating a successful and surprisingly stable Iraqi election over the weekend by pointing out that similar joy and optimism emerged after elections in Vietnam in... Read More

Toy Soldiers

19 January 2005: The Slinky betrayed us. I should have known. I never trusted him. He was an unstable character, always going back and forth, back and forth, never showing a shred of backbone. "Come, senor, I know the way... Read More

How Evil Capitalists Can Save the World... and Just Might

Recently I wrote two pieces here, the first essentially arguing that throwing money at thieves was perhaps not the best method of reducing global poverty, the second that perhaps capitalists might do a better job. It is with a certain... Read More

'W' is for Wilson?

George W. Bush and Tony Blair are out to change the world. If they have their way, the future will be more democratic but also more big-spending statist -- including, inevitably, here in the US. The President has announced that... Read More

Europe's Misdiagnosis

When it comes to health care, it doesnt matter if theres a crisis or not in Europe. The European Union does not want to change. The state will remain the main actor.    Politicians say they need more money to... Read More

Honor Thy Father -- Or Else

Western women have long wryly accepted that their mates rarely notice new outfits and new hairdos. Muslim males, by contrast, take a more intense interest in what female family members wear on their heads, what they put on their faces,... Read More

Climate Cartoon: Simplify and Exaggerate

A new study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature [1] late last week, made headlines with the claim that the climate of our world may be more sensitive than we previously thought. The study, authored by a group based... Read More

Why 'Bloody Sunday' Didn't Happen

As the day of the historic Iraqi elections came to a close the incapability of the vitiated Baathist/Islamofascist forces to carry out their bloody, histrionic threats became apparent. They were not able to exact casualties above the normal accident rate... Read More

Can This Agenda Be Saved?

George Bernard Shaw once observed that "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." The problem with Shaw's dictum is... Read More

Department of Terrifying the Homeland?

Michael Chertoff has his work cut out for him. President Bush's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security inherits an unwieldy bureaucracy of 22 agencies and 180,000 people with incompatible computer systems, unclear authority, and low morale. But the... Read More

On Getting It: The Faith-Based Encyclopedia and Me

I recently published an article in which I was critical of a very popular online "encyclopedia" which I shall not name here. The article attracted a certain amount of attention, chiefly from partisans of the "encyclopedia" who sprang to its... Read More

Why the Press Got It Wrong

For some time, I've been predicting that the blogosphere would move more and more from punditry to newsgathering and reporting, in competition with (or at least in supplementation of) the traditional media. And that's been happening. We saw it with... Read More

In Pursuit of Abject Surrender

As the eyes of the world were turning to Iraq in anticipation of the country's first free elections in decades, powerful politicians at the highest levels of the United States government began to urge a precipitous withdrawal of American troops... Read More

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