TCS Daily : March 2005 Archives

Barry Diller's Search for Meaning...

When Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp submitted an all-stock bid worth nearly $2 billion for search engine Ask Jeeves, analysts rushed to describe the move as an effort to tie together the far-flung pieces of an Internet conglomerate. The conventional wisdom is.. Read More

The Regulatory Roach Motel

Imagine that our country had a strange law under which foreign citizens were entitled to rent homes here at bargain prices. For a while, our housing market operates relatively well despite this law. While foreign citizens take advantage of it,... Read More

Robotic Death from Above

The handwriting was on the wall -- or in the sky as it were -- when an unmanned Predator aircraft destroyed a Taliban target in late 2001 with a Hellfire missile. We're now ushering in an era of fighter-bombers that... Read More

A Collective Mistake

"India has an unmatched place in providing affordable medicines to the poorest," French President Chirac recently told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Chirac proceeded to tell the Indian leader how concerned he was that India recently amended its 1970 Patent. Read More

The Incredible Shrinking Country

On Thursday the people of Zimbabwe are going to the polls. Like on previous occasions, the election is likely to be neither free nor fair. Over the past five years, Robert Mugabe's despotic regime strengthened its hold over the country... Read More

TCS EU Summit Coverage: The French Mistake

Last week, at a surprisingly perfunctory economic summit in Brussels, France and Germany teamed up to derail an effort to liberalize services across the EU. In doing so they may have dealt a fatal blow not only to European competitiveness,... Read More

Africa's Pol Pot

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe -- As Zimbabweans prepare to go to the polls on Thursday and Zimbabwe receives global attention, if only for a few hours, it is important that the desperate HIV situation there is acknowledged -- if for no other... Read More

Looking Forward to Prize Fights

I have two cool things to report. One is that space elevators and power-beaming are coming. The other is the way that they're coming. First, the announcement. Alan Boyle reports:         "Borrowing a page from the playbook fo Read More

Extra, Extra! The UN Embraces Free Markets!

A completely shocking report comes from the United Nations today, almost unbelievable in its implications for us as a species, the environment and the rest of the planet. Called the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment you will have seen it splashed across... Read More

Exercise in Futility

One must keep a close watch on developments in the sporting world, particularly on developments in the EU sporting world. This is because sport will become an EU competence under the terms of the European Constitution. Whether that will involve... Read More

Conjecture vs. Science

A new paper published earlier this month by Science magazine reconstructs the temperature history of the earth for the past 400 years using data gathered from 169 glaciers from around the world. However, problems with the methodology used in... Read More

A Responsibility Party?

LAS VEGAS - If anything good comes from the sad story of Terri Schiavo's life and death, it is that a brighter line has been drawn between the personal and the political. The Schiavo case is straightforward: A young woman's... Read More

The Battle for the Mosque Is Joined: Founding a Center for Islamic Pluralism

On March 25, seven American Muslim activists joined me in founding a new, and much-needed platform for moderate Islam in America. Our organization is titled the Center for Islamic Pluralism. We have a website,, at which our inaugural press. Read More

Is the FDA Broken?

Is the FDA broken? A lot of people think it is. They argue that the FDA has gone soft on drug safety because it tries too hard to please the pharmaceutical industry. Their evidence is the FDA's reluctance to pull... Read More

Food Police Mobilizing Again

The food police are on the march again from coast to coast, so you can expect personal responsibility and individual choice to get trampled. The incoherence of their regulatory rationale can be well understood through two recent developments. According... Read More

Brazilian Trade Games

Brazil says it can no longer afford to import AIDS drugs for its highly praised nationwide treatment plan. It has threatened to break drug patents unless foreign manufacturers slash costs. Under World Trade Organization rules, a nation can use this... Read More

A Uniter, Not a Divider

Andrew Sullivan's recent essay expressing fear over the atomization of society via iPods and cell phones has already attracted a fair amount of commentary here at TCS. Douglas Kern responded by pointing out that the atomization that Sullivan fears has... Read More

Understanding the Hassle of Procedure

The sad fate of Terri Schiavo preoccupies the US in this, one of our most religious seasons. But it was unwise of Republicans to lead Congress in intervening in the decision to remove the woman's feeding tube. Nor was... Read More

Speak Uneasy

We all agree that bloggers are covered by the First Amendment, yes? That it is one of those God given (OK, constitutional, if you wish) benefits of being an American that one can mouth off about the weather, politicians, actresses'... Read More

Nordic Combined

Political parties in Iceland and Norway are getting ready for another attempt to persuade their citizens to join the European Union. At a recent meeting the Icelandic Progress Party decided to run on a pro-EU platform during the next... Read More

How to Mix Religion and Politics

We are constantly told by liberals -- or "progressives," or "the reality-based community," or however it is they are marketing themselves this week -- that religion and politics ought never to be mixed. Religion, it is said, should be confined... Read More

The Israel-Nazi Slander in Historical Context

The historian Yaacov Shavit once argued that the main question to be debated within Jewry in the wake of the Holocaust was whether "Nazism [was] an inherent feature of the European essence or was it a diverted characteristic, an historical... Read More

Rocket Man

On paper, Dr. Mike Griffin certainly should be the best NASA administrator that the agency has ever had. If you called up Central Casting, and asked them to send you a NASA administrator, they'd presumably come up with someone with... Read More

Capital Punishment

When I first visited Zimbabwe in 1996, $1US would buy about $8Zimbabwe (Z$8). When I was there last November, $1 would get you Z$7000 at the official rate, but Z$12,000 when traded on the black market (with those desperate to... Read More

The Lost Legacy of George F. Kennan

America's most revered foreign policy strategist of the twentieth century -- perhaps of any century -- passed away this month. America and the world lost George F. Kennan: former Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, author of numerous articles... Read More

New England's Hot Flashes

In its report entitled "Indicators of Climate Change in the Northeast 2005," the environmental advocacy group Clean Air-Cool Planet, in association with the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, claimed that recent climate changes in.. Read More

Is Sleep Deprivation Torture?

"Sleep is pain's easiest salve."-- John Donne, "The Storm" "There will be sleeping enough in the grave."-- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac "Who needs sleep? / (well you're never gonna get it) / Who needs sleep? / (tell me what's... Read More

The Celtic Tiger: Secret of Success Unveiled

Europe's economic performance is nothing to get excited about. Yet one European member state seems to defy the law of economic gravity: Ireland - the Celtic Tiger. Workforall, an independent European think tank, based in Belgium, has compared the economic... Read More

The Coming War on Blogs

It's a universal law of capitalism: when an industry faces a new and significant threat to its profits and powers it turns to the government for protection. Well, bloggers who write on current events are challenging the mainstream media (MSM),... Read More

The Easter Bunny's Fossilized Ancestor

The Easter Bunny has been on his way for a long time. An international team of paleontologists has discovered a 55-million year old fossil of a primitive rabbit in Mongolia's Gobi Desert, predating earlier finds by 20 million years.... Read More

TCS EU Summit Coverage: Summit of All Fears

This week's meeting of EU heads of state and government turned out to be a good one for some, a bad one for others. Here's a quick overview of the summit's main winners and losers: Winners 1. Jacques Chirac JC... Read More

60 Minutes, Terrorists and Guns

Ironically within a week of Dan Rather retiring from the CBS Evening News because of the fiasco over the 60 Minutes Memogate scandal, this weekend 60 Minutes was at it again, this time stirring up fears about how terrorists would... Read More

A Terrible Presumption

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. -- Albert Einstein, 1950 The soul in sleep gives proofs of its divine nature; for when free and disengaged from... Read More

Wolfie at the Bank

Just when his umpteenth mispronunciation of the word "nuclear" makes you question his IQ, President Bush goes and does something shrewd. This time, it looks like war-architect Paul Wolfowitz is heading to the World Bank -- despite the ruffled... Read More

Insuring Against the Inevitable

Do you think Social Security gives you a raw deal? I do. Every two weeks my wages are docked by 12.4 percent -- not chump change. If the Social Security system doesn't collapse under the weight of smug complacency, I... Read More

iLove Is a Many Splendored Thing

Late last month I broke down and ordered an iPod. You know, one of those ultra-sleek digital music players with the telltale white earbuds and wires. The latest in the long line of compact portable personal entertainment systems that began... Read More

Is There Really a 'New Diagnosis' for Terri Schiavo?

While we at American Council on Science and Health have been determined to remain on the sidelines of the raging national debate about the fate of Terri Schiavo (this is largely a legal and ethical issue, not a scientific one),... Read More

Lawrence Summers as Martin Luther

"Long before Luther arrived to lead his disgruntled countrymen, the chancellor to an archbishop of Mainz had angrily written an Italian cardinal that...'The Germans have been treated as if they were rich and stupid barbarians, and drained of their... Read More

From Lemon Revolution to Lemonade?

The people of Kyrgyzstan have spoken -- and acted. As they storm presidential palace and government buildings in the capital Bishkek, the government is paralyzed and impotent. The resignation of President Askar Akaev is the best way out of the... Read More

Which Terri Schiavo?

We want to deduce Terri Schiavo's wishes and act upon them -- but which Terri Schiavo? Perhaps the Terri Schiavo of 1989 and the Terri Schiavo of 2005 are not the same. Perhaps great suffering engenders new selves, with interests... Read More

The Shia Turn in U.S. Policy

The first quarter of 2005 has seen increasingly dramatic news from the Middle East, but equally significant developments, relevant to the future of Islam and the whole world, continue to emerge in Washington. When the United States took leadership of... Read More

The Hughes Beyond "The Aviator"

Five Oscars flew at the latest Academy Awards festival to The Aviator (2004), director Martin Scorsese's sumptuous view of the remarkable Howard Hughes (1905-1976). Scorsese portrayed Hughes through the zenith of his expansive, uncompromising genius for technology Read More

Keep In on the Down-Load

The British Phonograph Industry has levied over £50,000 in fines against various individuals guilty of swapping pop music downloaded from the internet. This successful conviction of music file-swappers in Britain made a great impact. To begin with, millions of Read More

Drinking and Legislating

When President Clinton signed a law in 2000 that lowered the federal blood-alcohol limit for drivers to .08, opponents pointed out that the effect of such a law would be to tie up law enforcement resources going after motorists between... Read More

Clear Foolishness

Almost since President Bush took office, his administration has been trying to pass environmental legislation known as Clear Skies. Clear Skies would have required large reductions in air pollution from coal-fired power plants, but in exchange would also have remov Read More

A New Captain for the Titanic?

President Bush has selected a new NASA Administrator, naming physicist Mike Griffin to the post. The appointment is widely, and rightly, seen as evidence that Bush really is committed to his stated goal of expanding human exploration of space, as... Read More

The Death of Idea Factories... and the Birth of Idea Networks

In the 1990's, when manufacturing and other low-skill jobs began their migration to overseas locations in Southeast Asia, U.S. corporations pledged that they would maintain control over their core R&D operations and critical design work. In mid-March, though, B Read More

The Telecom Revolution Americans Deserve

At long last, 21 years after a judge broke up Ma Bell, Americans are on the brink of getting the telecommunications they deserve. Exactly which technologies will dominate in the next few years, I have no idea. Voice Over... Read More

Only Death Is Inevitable

In Hong Kong government authorities cite the volatility of government revenues from land sales and other sources to suggest a widening of supposedly narrow tax base is required. The imposition of a goods-and-services tax could generate up to HK$30 billion... Read More

Saving the Marriage (Cont.)

In response to my column "Saving the Marriage: Conservatism and Libertarianism", two-time Libertarian Party presidential candidate Harry Browne has written this article denouncing any effort to reconcile libertarians and conservatives in general, and libertarians a Read More

Malthusian Warming

Two science studies (1, 2) were published last week that advanced the view that, even if we stop producing greenhouse gases immediately, global temperatures will continue to increase for decades to come. This effect is attributed to the long time... Read More

Brazil: A Tough Nut to Crack

President Bush has laid out a bold agenda for Ohio Rep. Rob Portman, his nominee for U.S. trade representative. The president urged Mr. Portman to "continue to vigorously enforce the trade laws on the books so that American businesses and... Read More

TCS EU Summit Coverage: The Paris Agenda

"Economic liberalism would be as disastrous as communism," stated French President Jacques Chirac in lashing out against the EU's so-called Bolkestein directive (named for Frits Bolkestein, the Dutch commissioner who authored it), which would guarantee the free mov Read More

Yakkety-Yak (Everybody Talk Back)

Let me sketch out a picture of a society in rapid transition and see if it seems familiar to you. As a consequence of a certain development in communication technology, many new commercial enterprises are organized, great quantities of shares... Read More

Eurabian Nights

Andrei Makine, a Russian writer living in France since 1987, said it best: "Political correctness is a form of Western totalitarianism." In fact, political correctness is hampering our victory on the War on Terror -- or, as almost no one... Read More

What Steroids and Schiavo Have in Common

In coming years, political historians might look back and try to pinpoint the day or week or month that the Republican Party shed the last vestiges of its small-government philosophy. If and when they do, the week just past should... Read More

Is Bush Trying to Destroy the UN and World Bank?

Less than two weeks until World Bank shareholders vote on Paul Wolfowitz's nomination to head the Bank and the protests continue to build. Naming John Bolton, a vigorous critic of the United Nations, to serve as US ambassador to the... Read More

Time to Play Hardball on IP

Bush administration officials might sit down and have a good long talk with St. Louis Cardinals' manager Tony La Russa. They could learn something about what it means to protect your players. In "To Bean or Not To Bean" in... Read More

Smearing Cosmetics

Cosmetics and fragrances have long been intertwined with politics. Because most users are women, Marxists and some extreme feminists have declared them tools of female oppression. Conversely, dictatorships like Nazi Germany and the Taliban have banned cosmetics out Read More

Clearing the Air about Cars and Trucks

The environmental activist group Union of Concerned Scientists has launched an attack on the auto industry blaming it for contributing to smog and "global warming pollution". As is so often the case, these concerned scientists seem to have no concern... Read More

Beyond the Fringe

After a typically brief absence, London Mayor Ken Livingstone is back in his natural habitat: the headlines. This time, the man who famously referred to President George Bush as "the greatest threat to life on this planet" had made an... Read More

The Myth of Massive Health Care Waste

"If a president takes office thinking that good policymaking is a simple matter of declaring his desire to...eliminate 'waste, fraud and abuse,' he is ill-prepared for the complexities of the job." -- Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University Economists do not... Read More

TCS EU Summit Coverage: German Economic Quicksand

This month, Germany's largest industry association, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) published its latest survey of German industries. The results were remarkable, but should not have come as a shock to anybody who has been... Read More

Are We Ready for Robots?

The robots are coming. Last month, at a trade show in Orlando, Florida, Sony Electronics invited the media to a launch party for some new products. Our host was QRIO, Sony's robot "ambassador" who entertained the crowd with a little... Read More

The Socialist International Paradox

Europe's welfare states are under pressure, presumably because of their increasingly burdensome elderly populations. So the myth goes, but the myth is wrong. The population of Europe is aging, it is true, but that would not be a problem if... Read More

On 'Michael Scheuer's Bloody Logic' - Thanks, and a Comment from Scheuer

Because the media do not always remember that nothing should be too dangerous to talk about in America, I would first like to thank TCS for allowing Mr. Apostolou to publish his essay on my work and ideas (Michael Scheuers... Read More

Free Speech Needs Jerry Maguire

Remember Jerry Maguire? Since it's never too early for some mid-'90s nostalgia, I'll remind you of four little words: Show me the money! Keep those four words on the tips of your tongues, because they may just save blogs from... Read More

Art in Space

With recent breakthroughs in space travel -- the $10 million X-Prize, an award for flying a commercial re-entry craft into space and back, was won by SpaceShipOne in September 2004 -- imagining the role of human beings in a different... Read More

The Scientists Revolt (Because Their Bosses Are Revolting)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is facing a revolt by its employees over new, draconian conflict of interest rules. They ban all consulting (paid or unpaid) for biomedical companies, restrict teaching and service on company boards, place severe limits... Read More

iPod Therefore iAm

Ordinary people narrowcast; always have, always will. It's human nature to want to surround ourselves with like-minded people, familiar music, comfortable art, and unchallenging surroundings. Who can be surprised that our technology reflects this basic impulse? And Read More

Playing Ball with Congress

The House Government Reform Committee's (GROC) steroid hearings yesterday were interesting on several levels. Congress has so much power, of course, (or has arrogated to itself so much power) that anything it does is inherently important. Then, adding celebrities t Read More

Treatment from Boston to Beijing

Picking and playing favourites when it comes to the devastating effects of global epidemics is foolhardy, yet it is interesting to note the amount of medical and media attention given in recent times to bird flu (and to whether... Read More

I Found My Issue!

It's not often a young pundit can find fresh new ground to cover. Hundreds of more established personalities battle over the low hanging fruit. Taxes, terrorism, global warming, gay marriage, education... It's all been done to death. The big boys... Read More

On Leon Kass and Bioethics

There have been criticisms of Leon Kass and his chairmanship of the President's Council on Bioethics from several quarters. Some people think he opposes medical therapies, others that he tolerates abortion, and still others that he chairs a council that... Read More

Baby Boom Bomb

A time-bomb is ticking away right under our eyes, but we neither see it nor hear it. It is so obvious that it has become invisible. It is the demographic bomb of the Middle East. First, consider the figures in... Read More

The Corruption Fighter

According to Transparency International (TI), some of the most corrupt governments are in Asia. Bangladesh is second from the bottom with Indonesia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, India and the Philippines hovering near the abyss. An annual survey of executiv Read More

The New Investor Class and Its Critics

Most Republican strategists -- and certainly the ones at the White House and the Republican National Committee -- believe that the growth of the investor class is pulling American politics toward the free-market right and will continue to do so.... Read More

Emerging Markets are the Real Losers in Argentina's Triumph

One can well understand the palpable feeling of satisfaction in many emerging market countries at Argentina's triumph over the IMF in its recent debt restructuring negotiations. After all, against all odds and against IMF advice, Argentina succeeded in persuading 7 Read More

Let the Students Vote

By a vote of 218-185 the Arts and Sciences faculty of Harvard voted for a resolution expressing lack of confidence in their president Larry Summers. My guess is that Dr. Summers will soon resign. But before he does, I would... Read More

Michael Scheuer's Bloody Logic

Michael Scheuer, whose book Imperial Hubris lambasts US strategy in the war against al Qaeda, has attracted attention for recent public statements on Israel. The former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, Scheuer claimed at the Council on Foreign... Read More

Second Leg of the Ownership Society in Jeopardy?

President Bush's plan to fix Social Security with personal stock and bond accounts will help create an Ownership Society that encourages self-reliance, choice and responsibility. Coincidentally, expanded stock ownership creates more Republican voters. It's no secre Read More

Food Nannies Hawk the Hawkeye State

Like newspapers across the country, the Des Moines Register has published a special series addressing the "obesity crisis." The Register series, which began last Sunday, was entitled "The Losing Battle" -- appropriately named, just not in the way the newspaper... Read More

Our Friend, The Arab Street

The purple finger revolution in Iraq may have inspired non-Iraqi Arabs in a "good for them" and a "wish it were us" sort of way. But the liberals, moderates, and other disorganized dissidents in the rest of the region... Read More

Saving the Marriage: Conservatism and Libertarianism

A few years ago, I wrote an article discussing the ways in which libertarians and conservatives have common cause on a number of policy issues -- and how the Blogosphere can work to bring libertarians and conservatives closer together. Along... Read More

Felonious Funk

Last week, Doug Kern wrote about efforts to restore voting rights to felons. Kern made a good case that what a lot of these efforts are really about is making felonies look a lot more like misdemeanors, by reducing the... Read More

A Farewell to Arms Embargo

A brief period of relative stability earlier this year between China and Taiwan is clearly over. Recent events in Beijing suggest that a new and more aggressive policy is being formulated as to how the mainland deals with its island... Read More

Dirty Little Secret

Why are we going through the Kyoto process? The question may seem trivial, but it isn't. The European Union and other developed countries are implementing policies that will have a significant impact on their economies. Of course the common answer... Read More

A Death in Tolstoy-Yurt

The killing of Chechen spiritual and political leader Aslan Maskhadov by Russian forces has been presented to the West as a triumph in the Global War Against Terror. Foreigners who understand little of the Caucasian Muslims and their causes and... Read More

He Also Hated the French

Is the US still at war? Fighting as vague a conflict as the war on terror is hard, polarizing citizens and rendering difficult Washington's decisions about civil liberties at home. Washington is also preoccupied with sustaining its alliance with London.... Read More

The National Fatty League?

Who's to blame for the Supersizing of National Football League players? The trainers? The coaches? The owners? The networks? Fast food, beer and auto advertisers? Someone certainly has to be held responsible for the epidemic of girth among pro football... Read More

Splitting the Issue

The Democratic counter attack is on. For two weekends running on the Sunday morning news shows, opponents have split the issue of Social Security reform between solvency and personal accounts. They're even getting help from Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who... Read More

Bioethics Panel Illustrates Scientific Ethics' Complexity

Recently, I wrote a column here calling on Dr. Rajendra Pachauri to resign as Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change because he was using his position to push a political agenda. Sadly, I now must bring the same... Read More

How the World Health Organization Makes Terrorism Respectable

While many associate the World Health Organization (WHO) with projects to improve healthcare in developing countries, the millions who watch Arabic television can now link the WHO to terrorism. In a development that went almost unreported in the English-language me Read More

Competition Comes to the Ad Market

Google's website advertising program, Adsense, is about to have some fairly hefty competition. Yahoo is testing a "long tail" ad words scheme. Markets thrive on competition and Google's first mover domination of the adwords market has been inviting a serious... Read More

Our Battery-Powered Economy

The New Scientist reports that a prototype battery that "can be fully charged in just 6 minutes, lasts 10 times as long as today's rechargeables and can provide bursts of electricity up to three times more powerful is showing promise... Read More

Labor's Social Security Hypocrisy

In the weeks since the President began pushing for Social Security reform, labor unions have targeted businesses and investment firms that support personal retirement accounts with a public relations campaign aimed at crippling business support for the President's Read More

Doctoring the Market

"A fully developed [consumer-driven health care] market would be chaotic, to say the least, and in such a system continuity of care would be virtually non-existent. It is hard to imagine such a system improving the quality or the efficiency... Read More

Save People, Not the System

If Socialists took over the Sahara, the old joke goes, there would soon be a shortage of sand. This innate ability to produce shortages shows itself in Europe's present health care situation. More and more people go to see doctors,... Read More

The PayPal Wars

Unzipped is an excellent movie about fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi as he plans his fall 1994 designs. I'm not into fashion: except for special occasions, I wear blue jeans and track shoes. The reason I like the movie so much... Read More

Aceh and the Islamists

In its post-tsunami statement, the Free Aceh Movement -- better known as GAM -- made a conscious effort to keep its distance from an Islamist organisation known as the Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia (the Indonesian Mujahidin Council). GAM referred to MMI... Read More

Syria, Leaving with a Bang?

Back in December 2004, Rafik Hariri said that in Lebanon "one should expect anything and especially the worse." Obviously, at that time he had no idea that the worse would be his own death. Rafik Hariri was the billionaire Lebanese... Read More

Will George Bush's Legacy Be a Democratic Majority?

The New Republic's Noam Scheiber believes that President George W. Bush's small-d democratization efforts might help build a majority for the large-D Democratic party ("George W. Bush's Legacy: A Democratic Majority", TNR, 03/08/05). Scheiber believes that "the onl Read More

Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

In September of 2000, less than two years before the passage of McCain-Feingold, the liberal magazine The American Prospect put out a special issue devoted to campaign-finance reform. It was called, "Checkbook Democracy." And it was bought and paid for... Read More

The Well-Informed Patient

Since the 19th century the traditional role of European governments has been to provide health care for their citizens. But times have changed and so must Europe's health systems. The first area in which adjustments need to be made are... Read More

'Life Is Too Short Here to Worry About HIV'

Zimbabwe's rapidly escalating humanitarian disaster, which has manifested itself in chronic shortages of food, medicine, fuel, electricity and hard cash, has driven over three million Zimbabweans into South Africa, Botswana and other neighbouring states. Prior to t Read More

On the Edge of Innovation

Over the past ten years, the field of cancer research has undergone a marked change in the way that researchers, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies think about innovation. The process of innovation within the medical industry has been accelerated, leading to.. Read More


The night the Berlin Wall came down, I was glued to the television coverage and watched ABC's Prime Time Live engage in real-time reporting of the breach of the wall and the spread of democracy to Eastern Europe. Sam Donaldson... Read More

The Trouble with Harry

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has embarked on a nationwide tour to argue against Social Security reform, especially President Bush's plan to allow younger workers to invest a portion of their income into personal retirement accounts. But Sen. Reid has... Read More

The Science Behind Common Sense

One of the major principles of life that was discarded during the past half-century, and particularly during the last quarter-century, was the deceptively simple notion we call common sense. The idea that there could be such a thing as true... Read More

Costly Populism

Indonesia and many other Asian governments offer subsidies to hold down energy costs. Despite the declared intentions to keep prices low in order to contribute to economic growth, there is no evidence that such actions do so. In fact, these... Read More

Marxism of the Right?

Until this article by Robert Locke appeared in The American Conservative, conservatives and libertarians have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship. After all, there is so much on which they agree. But can it last? Distortions like this one should make... Read More

The Asbestos Answer

Of all the schemes that trial lawyers have perpetrated on our justice system, their abuse of asbestos litigation is among the worst. Use of asbestos essentially ended more than 30 years ago, yet trial lawyers are still soliciting and bringing... Read More

A Battle Over Likes, Not Numbers

NEW ORLEANS - In a romantic mood, I was reading "Anna Karenina" flying down here and stumbled across one of Tolstoy's brilliant insights. At a party at the home of his friend Prince Oblonsky, Konstantin Levin, the philosophical farmer, muses... Read More

GAM and the Future of Aceh

Within days of the tsunami disaster, several Indonesian organisations sent volunteers to Aceh to provide humanitarian relief. Amongst them were two Islamist groups, the Majlis Mujahidin Indonesia (the Mujahidin Council, or MMI) and the Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Read More

Making Immunity More Than Skin Deep

Vaccines are one of the greatest blessings science has bestowed on humanity. It was not so long ago millions of people died in epidemics of transmittable diseases like measles, smallpox, polio and diphtheria (the risk of dying from diphtheria was... Read More

Risky Business

The French Parliament gathered last month to insert the so-called Environmental Charter into the French Constitution. As stated by Nicolas Hulot and Dominique Bourg in their article from the 28 February edition of Le Figaro, "the possible refusal to approve... Read More

Misdemeanor Nation vs. Felony Nation

In the world where the enfranchisement of felons seems like a good idea, no crime is ever really that bad. No sin can ever disqualify a man from full civic participation. A little time in the hoosegow squares all accounts.... Read More

When and Why America Is At Its Best

One might say that Kyoto is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. Of course it has become a symbolic Nirvana for every tree-hugger on the planet while gas-swilling, car-crazed Barbarians in America choose to... Read More

China, the US and the 'Four Nevers'

A US military delegation arrived in Taiwan Saturday, just ahead of a pivotal period in the island's history. The American delegation is in Taiwan to assess technology that Taiwanese industry might provide to the US military, most likely semiconductors. The... Read More

Is AgBiotech Innovative Enough? If Not, Why Not?

Washington DC has a new baseball team, but the city's favorite pastime will surely remain "gotcha," a game in which it is possible to criticize someone for making the wrong decision, no matter what. (If the outcome is bad, he... Read More

How Green Was Their Folly?

Last month, after years of negotiations and dire warnings of impending environmental collapse, the much-awaited Kyoto Protocol became a part of the Euro-reality. With all the hype, it is easy to miss the main point: the Protocol is futile and... Read More

Silence of the Mushrooms

What's the Libertarian Party for if not launching long-shot, ideologically driven quests just to prove a point? And thus should all lovers of liberty give a round of applause to the Manhattan Libertarian Party, which -- as the mayoral campaign... Read More

Resuscitating FDA

The FDA is the nation's most ubiquitous regulatory agency. It oversees products that account for twenty-five cents of every consumer dollar, with a value of over a trillion dollars annually. The agency is also a perennial favorite target of critics,... Read More

In Our Name, Not In Our Image

Yet again, the US appears to be facing a setback in Iraq. The cloud in the silver lining of the Iraqi elections seems to be the victory of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), a coalition dominated by Shi'a Islamist parties.... Read More

A New Approach for the Budget

President Bush's 2006 budget calls for $17.2 billion in net savings. That includes the termination of 99 programs, 55 cuts and 16 reforms. Consider that is about 0.66 percent of the $2.57 trillion proposed budget, and it's hard to fathom... Read More

Deconstructing Demonstration Day

The other shoe dropped in Lebanon, Sunday. (Or was it one of those curly toed slippers?) Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the bespectacled, boyish-looking leader of Hezbollah, decided there had been enough "liberation" euphoria in Lebanon the past few weeks, so he... Read More

Washed Away By the Preference Cascade?

Three years ago, I looked at the phenomenon of "preference cascades" -- in which people who have been obliged to conceal their true beliefs by social pressure or sheer force suddenly discover that a lot of other people feel the... Read More

Death Tax Soon to Be Repealed in Hong Kong?

In 2001, President Bush signed a bold tax cut package known as the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. The good news is that the bill included the biggest tax cuts since Reagan. The bad news is... Read More

The Gray Zone Between War and Peace

Friday's shooting incident during which Giuliana Sgrena, a writer for Italy's communist newspaper Il Manifesto, was wounded and her bodyguard killed by American soldiers has raised serious questions about the way U.S. checkpoints in Iraq are handled. Christian Scie Read More

Democrats Are Thinking About Foreign Competitors

NEW YORK -- India, China; China, India. The only remaining question seems to be which will clobber the rest of us first. Recently, even as the dollar slid, Azim Premji of Wipro was touring the US terrifying conference rooms... Read More

Maple Leaf Ragged

Ever since Prime Minister Paul Martin announced Canada's pullout from Ballistic Missile Defense program, Canadians have been on the lookout for a significant reaction from south of the border. It's as if President Bush is expected to respond like a... Read More

Japan's Supply Problems

Japan's economy has slipped, yet again, into recession. And once again, fingers are being pointed at low household consumption as the cause of the country's sluggish economic growth In turn, the high savings by Japanese households (between 15 to 20... Read More

When the EU Blogs

Margot Wallstrom, Vice President of the European Commission, has been running a blog for the last couple of months. She's had the digital decorators in, replete with photo showing her making an important point to an adoring audience, lips perfectly... Read More

Arctic Sea Ice -- Is it Disappearing?

It has long been recognized by climate modelers that CO2-induced global warming should be most noticeable in the polar regions. In most of the world, there is enough of the earth's dominant greenhouse gas -- water vapor -- to... Read More

Good Collateral Damage

No matter how careful you are, whenever you go to war you will inevitably injure or even kill someone other than your enemy. It's called collateral damage, and the United States goes far out of its way to minimize it... Read More

Chavez's Agrarian Revolution

If any doubts remained about President Hugo Chvez's plans for Venezuela's destiny, they have been erased by his decree to "rescue" unproductive lands and assign them to "groups of the population" and "organized communities" from rural areas. Private property is... Read More

Losing Their Patients

Poland is the least satisfied Central European nation when it comes to healthcare services, according to a new survey from the Central European Opinion Research Group Research (CEORG) in Brussels. The January 2005 study shows that 60 percent of the... Read More

Chairman Donaldson Oversteps His Bounds Again

Periodically, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William Donaldson worries publicly about executive compensation. As he has done several times in the past, Donaldson recently told the Wall Street Journal (sub. req'd) that the SEC's rules governing executiv Read More

The Best Thing That Has Ever Happened to Journalism

Bloggers are the best thing that has ever happened to journalism. They make a good reporter look better. They expose the phonies, the poseurs, the fast-writing conmen, with the speed of light. They give the journalist a greater access to... Read More

Exhausting the Options

When you face a problem, you can either confront it head on or just deal with the symptoms and hope it goes away. European countries usually favor the latter method. For example, in recent months several Italian cities have restricted... Read More

Rock the Felon Vote

In the wake of their election defeat, Democrats have promised to mend their ways by emphasizing moral values. So, in their first major legislative initiative of the year, what are the party's two top senators offering? A bill to... Read More

The Real Threat to "Social Europe"

The European Commission, under pressure from certain member states, trade unions and socialists in the European Parliament, is now prepared to water down its crucial Services Directive, which it proposed in the beginning of 2004. The Directive's opponents have cont Read More

The Unbearable Normality of Russia

Our dominant impression of things Russian is an impression of a vast irreparable breakdown, observed H.G. Wells, after his 1920 visit, in the book Russia in the Shadows. Eighty-five years later not much seems to have changed. Now what... Read More

There's Something About a Train Subsidy That's Magic...

Right after the November 1994 election, I wrote that "the way to tell how serious Republicans are about cutting federal spending is to watch...the Big Four programs: farm subsidies, Amtrak, public television, and arts funding." The four are big, not... Read More

The Spud Studs

Each year, about 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B (HBV). Spread through blood and other bodily fluids, this virus puts them at high risk from cirrhosis, chronic liver disease, and liver cancer -- diseases that kill... Read More

Is Poverty Unnatural?

There are times when I find it terribly difficult to work out what it is that people are actually aiming for, wonder whether there are those who really would prefer a world of ideological purity rather than a more pragmatic... Read More

Darwin's War on Political Correctness

The news that a new and dangerously improved AIDS "superbug" is on the loose has dealt a sharp blow to three different kinds of political correctness. The only winner is reality; painful as it might sometimes be, reality is still... Read More

Shut the Window, It's Getting Drafty

Phil Carter and Paul Glastris make "The Case for the Draft" in the current Washington Monthly.         "America's all-volunteer military simply cannot deploy and sustain enough        & Read More

How Should Non-Muslims Approach Islamic History?

The present conflict between Islamist extremists and the world order is in many respects a confrontation between interpretations of religious history, and therefore between differing methods of interpreting religious history. Radical Islam, particularly in its Wahh Read More

Why Bush Should Save the WTO

The Bush Administration seems no closer to replacing Robert Zoellick as US Special Trade Representative. It should get a move on. The WTO needs saving. Following the State of the Union address, the world expects the Bush Administration resolutely to... Read More

Murderous Losers

The bombing in Hilla, which killed at least 120 Iraqis, most of them police recruits, presents interesting insights into the tactics of the Islamomaniacs and the challenges facing Iraq as it tries to take over its own security. The bombing... Read More

An Important Emerging Economic Paradigm

" three types of activity generate a process of continuing and cumulative change. Trading creates new opportunities for innovation and institutional change. Innovation creates new opportunities for institutional change and trading. Institutional change creates new Read More

Just What the Doctor Ordered?

In last week's column, I mentioned that I now have a bionic wife, courtesy of an implantable cardioverter/defibrillator device. She's now recovering nicely, but the experience has left me with a few thoughts on health-care delivery. The technology seems pretty... Read More

We Need More Speech Codes

Let us have more speech codes on college campuses -- many more. Let us have more detailed, carefully wrought Indices of Forbidden Opinions. Every institution of higher learning in the United States should present its incoming students with a list... Read More

Europe's Economy in the Eye of a Storm

One has to pity the European economy. Not only is it riddled with well-known structural rigidities that depress Europe's long-run economic growth potential. It is also saddled with a macro-economic policy straightjacket that makes it difficult to use policy to... Read More

Roh Jobs Plan Ignores Economic Reality

Using a crafty political guise of strengthening the social safety net and improving public welfare, President Roh Moo-hyun approved a job "creation" plan. The stated intention is for the government to provide 360,000 jobs for elderly, disabled and poor citizens... Read More

Trackback to Freedom

NOTTINGHAM, England -- In the autumn of 1989, I took one of the most memorable courses of my entire university career. At the start, it was called "Communist Regimes"; by the end its title had changed to "Post-Communist regimes and... Read More

A Modest Proposal for the Dietary Guidelines

Our government is deeply worried today about the state of health of the American Public. According to the experts, we are simply too fat and too sedentary, and we are literally eating ourselves into an early grave. In spite of... Read More

The Devil's Rocketeer

John Whiteside Parsons, an early innovator of rocket technology, is not widely remembered today. Insofar as he is remembered, moreover, it is often not in connection with rocket science but rather with cultism, mysticism and black magic. Parsons was a... Read More

Eminent Domain, Imminent Theft

We believe that our homes are our castles, which is why it rightly angers us when someone invades the sanctity and privacy of our homes. Usually, we associate burglars and other criminals with this kind of invasion. But if... Read More

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