TCS Daily : May 2005 Archives

Evolution's Poker Hand

As I type these words, my fingers fly across the keyboard -- albeit not as efficiently as I would like. For one thing, I have never really been a 10-finger typist. For another, I have only 10 fingers. Surely, I... Read More

Vive La Difference

With their vehement 'No' to the EU constitutional treaty in Sunday's referendum, the French people have, among other things, finally punished President Jacques Chirac for his foreign affairs mistakes. It may look like a repudiation of European political aims, and.. Read More

African Drought and Global Warming

A new climate modeling study presented this week at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in New Orleans suggests that much of Africa will experience increasing drought as global warming progresses in the coming decades. This has been the most... Read More

On 'Legislating Morality': The Anti-Conservative Fallacy

The recent Terri Schiavo controversy has raised once again the question of whether government ought to be in the business of "legislating morality." Many liberals and libertarians accused conservatives who worked to get Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted of try Read More

The Living Poem to Capitalism

The Gazette, a business journal for the counties of Maryland surrounding Washington, D.C. reported recently that Maryland's wealthy suburbanites are driving 25, sometimes 30 miles to go, of all places, to the grocery store. They motor past what would likely... Read More

The Day After

Non! Some 56 percent of French electors have rejected the European Constitutional Treaty. This is perhaps the most important of Jacques Chirac's failures, and surely the most disastrous in its consequences. France now faces a crisis on two levels. One... Read More

A Hard Look at the European Constitution

The French and the Dutch will hold referenda on the proposed European Constitution on May 29 and June 1 respectively. Regardless of the outcome, the Constitution will have many hurdles to overcome before coming into force. While the Czech President... Read More

'Medicalizing and Moralizing Matters of Fashion'

Editor's note: Paul Campos is the author of a new book released this month, "The Diet Myth: Why America's Obsession with Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health," an update of his 2004 book The Obesity Myth." Campos is a... Read More

Why the Runaway Bride Matters

Jennifer Wilbanks, the notorious runaway bride of Duluth, Georgia, was indicted Wednesday on two charges of lying to the police, and could face up to six years in prison. Some, no doubt, will find these indictments to be overly... Read More

Outsourcing Teaching

Outsourcing hasn't gone far enough: the U.S. should start using Indian-based teachers. Smart, inexpensive, English-speaking Indians already help Americans with software design, computer support and tax preparation. Through satellites and the Internet workers in Ind Read More

Wal-Mart Grows a Tail

When Wal-Mart announced its foray into online DVD rentals more than two years ago, business analysts predicted the beginning of the end for Netflix, which launched its online DVD rental business in 1999. Wal-Mart, after all, was the 800-pound gorilla... Read More

The Discount for the Future

Even if there is to be a sizeable climate change over the next hundred years, is it worth trying to reduce it? What would be the long-term benefit relative to the short-term cost? One can draw some very broad conclusions... Read More

Memorial Flags

Another Memorial Day. Open the swimming pool. Get enough hotdogs and buns. Pack the car. Judges and state representatives and various minor officials root around in their files for material for the speech up at the cemetery. Hope it doesn't... Read More

Snowpack in a Greenhouse?

Several scientific articles have been published in recent years suggesting that western U.S. temperatures are rising, snowpack is declining, and that greenhouse gas emissions are largely responsible. Here are some examples: From Mote, 2003*: "Trends during the 20th Read More

General Rent Seeker

The CEO of GE recently committed the company to "define the cutting edge in cleaner power and environmental technology" through increased R&D spending. He also pledged significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2012 and doubling the revenue earned by cle Read More

The British Are Coming

When Richard Notebart, CEO of one of the remaining four regional Bell phone companies, wrote the Wall Street Journal in mid-May that the mergers of sibling Bell SBC with AT&T and sibling Verizon with MCI would create "two telecom behemoths"... Read More

Golden Years

Many politicians think the problem of pension systems deficits can be solved by just changing the parameters of the pay-as-you-go system. They believe it's necessary only to raise the social security tax rate, cut the replacement ratio or postpone... Read More

The News-and-Views Industry of the 21st Century

It's understandable that the New York Times wants people to pay to read its op-ed page, so its recent decision to begin having online readers pay to view content is not a complete surprise. It's not a charity, after... Read More

Intelligent Decline, Revisited

"All truth passes through three stages," Arthur Schopenhauer declared. "First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." As a proponent of the Intelligent Design (ID) theory, nowadays I am witnessing the... Read More

Not for Hitchhikers

Having recently sat through the forgettable Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie, I was a bit wary upon opening a new book purporting to be a guide to things celestial. However, I am pleased to report that From Blue Moons... Read More

Why I Support the Filibuster Deal

The so-called Gang of 14's deal on judicial nominations aroused the ire of activists on both the left and right, but it is my friends on the right who seem to have been most disaffected. In contrast, I'm a proud... Read More

Saving Africa

The political left has for decades had a monopoly on defining Africa's problems. The poverty and misery there are blamed on capitalism, multinational companies, lack of foreign aid and an uneven distribution of the world's resources. Indeed there is... Read More

Eggs Over Easy? False Dawn for Stem Cell Cures

Many people focused on only one word in the banner headlines over news that Korean scientists have successfully cloned 11 embryos and created stem cell lines: cures. Spouses and parents of patients with diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and spinal cord damage... Read More

A Model of Self-Regulation

The attendees at last week's E3 show in Los Angeles are abuzz about some of the recent hardware developments, including the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360. But as exciting as these platforms are, they rely on the software titles... Read More

Resolving the Clash of Civilizations

I recently returned home from Beirut, Lebanon, where I spent a month covering the democratic Cedar Revolution and Syria's withdrawal from the country after a 30 year-long occupation. Few places in the world beat Beirut as a foreign assignment. The... Read More

Product Designers with a Clue

I've written in the past about two problems: bad product design, and the tendency of companies to change user interfaces for no particular reason, leading to a phenomenon that I call "version fatigue" which sets in when you just can't... Read More

Cruise Control

What increases overall socio-economic welfare, improves economic competitiveness reduces environmental damage? Obviously, state control and taxes. Or at least that is the answer the OECD, EU transport ministers and even the US National Transportation Safety Board ( Read More

Equality or Freedom

No matter which side prevails in this Sunday's French referendum on the EU constitutional treaty, the result will be the same: a victory for collectivism. This, of course, means that both sides have the same aim but not the same... Read More

Lord Have Mercy; What About Lord Vader?

1983: after defeating Darth Vader in mortal combat, Luke Skywalker walks away from his cringing foe, casting his lightsaber away to confront the Emperor with his newly-found self-righteousness, all while ignoring the screams of a small boy in the theater:... Read More

Aristotle, Jedi Master

My name is Pejman and I have a love-hate relationship with Star Wars. My (immensely geeky) critiques of the franchise are contained here and here in the event that anyone is interested in reading them. And yet, with the release... Read More

Operation Charm Offensive Towards Islamists

In the past few weeks, the Arab media have been buzzing with shocking news: the West is engaging in open talks with Islamists. While this is not really unexpected coming from the European Union, which has always been quite appeasing... Read More

Vouching for Gender Equality in Sweden

The World Economic Forum in Geneva has decided that merely providing Eason Jordan with an opportunity to kill his career is no longer enough. On top of their task of organizing the annual Davos summits they are now releasing... Read More

Can This Patient Be Saved?

You would think that it would be a time to review past successes and look forward to a progress- filled future of furthering global health. Instead, the 58th Annual World Health Assembly -- the policy setting body of the World... Read More

The Tragedy of Collapse

Jared Diamond is now well known as the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and more recently for his new bestseller Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. The book's thesis is... Read More

Race, Immigration and the Problem of Hard Labor

Mexico's President Vincente Fox has apologized for saying that immigrants from his country who come to ours will do the kind of hard low-status backbreaking work that "not even blacks" will do -- what, for short, we will call... Read More

Stop Blaming China

For all their sins, foreigners should not be blamed for America's large trade deficits. China especially is doing nothing worse than producing goods that are cheaper than those produced elsewhere. Never mind the Chinese policy to keep their currency... Read More

No Phony Bologna

On 19 June 1999 a conference of 29 European education ministers met in Bologna, Italy, and forged an agreement dubbed the Bologna Declaration. It set forth sweeping reforms in European higher education with the goal of improving quality and... Read More

The Year of Living Competitively

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of articles on how new EU member states are doing one year after accession. It is not easy to evaluate the impact of the first 12 months of the membership of... Read More

Colonoscopies: Up Yours!

"Keep in mind that colonoscopy is the most accurate way to screen for colon cancer because it enables doctors to detect colon polyps. Detection and removal of polyps is crucial to preventing colon cancer because we know that, in the... Read More

Dictatorships and Double Standards, Revisited

When Indonesia's president, an ex-general, visits Washington this week, he'll take heat for the Indonesian military's murderous abuses against its own citizens in East Timor and for foot-dragging on judicial and democratic reform. But while human-rights groups push Read More

"The Sun" Also Sets

Life presents us with some strange ethical issues, but few can be quite as bizarre as the debate that has erupted over the question of whether the popular English tabloid The Sun was right or wrong to have published photographs... Read More

Where Now for the Tories?

After a tireless campaign, with no prejudice left un-pandered to, Michael Howard tendered his inevitable resignation as leader of the British Conservative Party. Although the Labour majority in parliament was slashed by more than two thirds, the Conservative vote m Read More

Candid about Cameras, Redux

Earlier this month I wrote a piece called "Let's Be Candid About Cameras," in which I argued that civil libertarian concerns about municipal cameras are exaggerated and that debates about street cameras should center on efficacy, as well as costs... Read More

Uzbekistan's Not-So-Great Game

The revolutionary wave passing through Georgia (November 2003), the Ukraine (November 2004), and Kyrgyzstan (March 2005) has reached Uzbekistan. But for the first time since the current wave of democratic revolutions started, a dictator is violently trying to stop Read More

Gerhard Reign's a Gonna Fall

BERLIN - After seven years, Germans seem to have had enough of socialist Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. This past Sunday the German opposition won a landslide election victory in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, an industrial region regarded as the cradle... Read More

Youthful Heroes of American Muslim Protest

In a recent TCS column, I reported on complaints of domination by Islamist ideological extremists over the Muslim student organization in a leading American college system. A courageous American Muslim woman, Fatima Agha, charged that Islamic fundamentalists maint Read More

The Vulture Tax

For the first time in decades, Republicans in Congress have an opportunity to entirely repeal a federal tax -- squish it like a bug. We are speaking of the death tax, which has been around for about 90 years... Read More

The Rise of Pajamas Media

We've recently learned that Google News is seeking technology patents to rank stories on its news site "based on the quality of the news source." Naturally, this has caused concern among bloggers that their sites will be ranked lower --... Read More

World Health Assembly Coverage: The Fluff and Lies of the WHA

GENEVA -- When attending a United Nations meeting, there comes a time when you simply have to escape. After just four days at the 58th World Health Assembly in Geneva and after a persistent headache and increasing bouts of nausea,... Read More

Gimme Shelter

The blazing-hot topic at suburban cocktail parties this spring is whether there's a bubble in the residential housing market. No wonder. In 2004, existing home prices rose faster than in any year since the 1970s. Some markets are going bonkers.... Read More

The Newsweek Libel

What was it that pro-war conservatives used to say about those who opposed President Bush's project in the Middle East -- specifically those who argued that the Arab world was not yet ready for democracy? That such a view was... Read More

The Mad Fatter

Since the CDC recently disclosed that fat people live longer than those in "normal" weight ranges, and considerably longer than thin people, those who want to control what you eat are suggesting that whether or not being fat kills... Read More

The Age of Therapeutic Cloning Dawns

"Humankind has now embarked into the 'Age of Therapeutic Cloning.' This is a scientific revolution of the first rank," asserts Bernard Siegel, executive director of pro-embryonic stem cell research Genetics Policy Institute in a press release. "This is a huge... Read More

The Nostalgia Party

There are the occasional Aha! moments in American politics, moments of mass clarity that require no spin, no explanation, they simply are. One such moment was Democrat National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's endorsement (since clumsily retracted) of Socialist Con Read More

The Problem Child

Imagine the following scenario: Tomorrow morning, an Arabic language newspaper of some stature publishes an article in which one of its investigative journalists claims that officers in the Pakistani Army had once used the Bible as toilet paper. Then imagine... Read More

Intelligent Decline

"What's all this I hear about Intelligent Decline? Decline isn't intelligent; it's sad. Sad or tragic. Who could think that it's intelligent? That's just...". "Excuse me, Miss Litella, but the phrase is Intelligent Design. Not Decline; Design." "Intelligent Design Read More

The True Liberation of Latin America

In recent days, I wrote a brief article where I complained about the bad leadership that Brazil is trying to exert in the Latin American context. I criticized its stance and practices in areas such as trade, integration and intellectual... Read More

World Health Assembly Coverage: Beware Deadly Pools

GENEVA -- Just when you may have thought that the global debate on the role that drug patents play in access to medicines had died down, it rose again in prominence at the 58th World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting... Read More

Are Newt and Hillary on to Something? Sort Of...

"Longtime political foes Newt Gingrich and Hillary Rodham Clinton joined cheerfully yesterday to promote legislation on healthcare changes... The 21st Century Health Information Act would create regional health information networks to help transfer health data quic Read More

What a Week for 'News'

If loose lips sank ships during World War Two, then what's the equivalent today, in the wake of the Newsweek story about Koran-flushing at Guantanamo? How about "loose reporting loses wars"? That's not much of a rhyme, but it might... Read More


A few weeks ago, I suggested that we might have reached a tipping point, after which the influence of Big Media would rapidly decline. "Big deal," you may have thought. "Techno-avant-garde types like Reynolds are always waving their hands and... Read More

Holding Experts to Account

Though it is the resentment of the frustrated specialist which gives the demand for planning its strongest impetus, there could hardly be a more unbearable and more irrational world than one in which the most eminent specialists in each field... Read More

Howard's End and Britain's Choice

At the polls earlier this month, Tony Blair saw his majority in the House of Commons reduced from 161 to 67 seats. Though the Conservatives captured 33 seats, Michael Howard, the party leader, felt compelled to announce his resignation. Howard... Read More

The Uzbek Dilemma

It is difficult at this point to know what is really happening in Uzbekistan, but at first glance the scenario would appear to be one with which we are all too familiar from the history of authoritarian governments. A spontaneous... Read More

World Health Assembly Coverage: The Ratsbane of Our Existence?

GENEVA -- One of Shakespeare's characters sputters at an adversary, "I would the milk thy mother gave thee when thou suck'dst her breast had" contained ratsbane, a poisonous chemical. According to activists, it's not breast milk but infant formula that... Read More

World Health Assembly Coverage: The Costly Diversion

GENEVA -- Critics of trade say it is heartless -- it delivers profit and growth but ignores the human dimension, like the HIV/AIDS crisis. Getting the World Trade Organization to focus on this dimension has been Africa's contribution to the... Read More

World Health Assembly Coverage: Who Needs WHO?

GENEVA -- The World Health Assembly began this week for many people with a long and boring wait in the rain in order to register. The queue that snaked along slowly was made up largely of hundreds of Taiwanese, waiting... Read More

The McLes Experiment

I have finished my own version of the McDonald's diet, and not everyone is happy with the results. I'm happy, though. After eating only McDonald's food for 30 days, I lost 17 pounds and my blood cholesterol is down. I... Read More

In the Grand Tradition of Axis Sally and Tokyo Rose

Several months ago, if you care (and there isn't any reason you should), I failed to renew my decades-long subscription to Newsweek, after realizing that I wasn't interested in the "lifestyle" features that the magazine was increasingly filled with, and... Read More

Free the Grapes?

Both oenophiles and constitutional law scholars eagerly awaited the Supreme Court's decision in Granholm v. Heald, in which the Court was expected to decide the constitutionality of state bans on direct-to-consumer shipments of wine (and other types of alcohol). On Read More

World Health Assembly Coverage: If Wishes Were Horses, This Would Be the Kentucky Derby

GENEVA, Switzerland -- The 58th World Health Assembly (the World Health Organization's policy-making body) under way here brings to mind the cliché about the contestants in the Miss America pageant who, when asked what would be their one wish if... Read More

Road Trip, Part Deux (Unrated Version)

As a devoté of The Atlantic Monthly, I read with amusement the May issue's first installment of Bernard-Henri Lévy's trek across the United States, purportedly "In the Footsteps of Tocqueville." A few days later, I read with even greater delight... Read More

Norway to Treat a Lady

Norwegian corporations will have to make significant changes to their governing boards or face liquidation by the hands of the Norwegian state. Sound scary? Wait for the really scary part: By July 1 of this year, the law mandates that... Read More

The Most Important Fifth Wheel

It's the steering wheel, of course. Lot of buzz about steering wheels at all the auto shows this winter and spring. It's suddenly been discovered that the wheels are "command centers," laden with all kinds of controls for our increasingly... Read More

A New Approach to Personal Social Security Accounts: "Your Own Trust Fund"

When the First Continental Congress proclaimed that it stood for "Life, Liberty and Property," it was linking ownership of property to liberty in a free society. Personal Social Security accounts as vehicles for the expansion of ownership are very much... Read More

Fat, Flabby and Forgetful?

They're back! Not long after the furor caused by the Centers for Disease Control's revised "figures" which showed that not 400,000 but about 26,000 Americans died annually from obesity and that being overweight might well be protective against premature death,... Read More

Campaign Money for Bloggers

In elections, ideas matter more than repetition. So, rather than spending their money to repeat the same ads over and over again, rich George Soros-like political partisans should use their dollars to fund the production of ideas. And, as the... Read More

Solar Tower of Power

In a recent speech, President Bush addressed the need to start building more oil refineries, nuclear power plants, and natural gas terminals to meet the growing demand for energy in the U.S. While improved fuel efficiency for cars was... Read More

WHO Papers Over Problem

As the World Health Assembly prepares to meet in Geneva next week, delegates truly interested in promoting child health might take a cue from Michael Crichton's novel, Disclosure. "Solve the problem." That was the anonymous advice, delivered by e-mail, to... Read More

The Law of Proportionate Belief

Liz has said that there is not a shred of evidence for the biological factor, that the evidence against there being an advantage for males in intrinsic aptitude is so overwhelming that it is hard for me to see how... Read More

Nukes and the New Monasticism

Editor's note: This article is the second of two parts. Last week we noted that the "pebbles" of nuclear proliferation are starting to slide into an atomic avalanche. Thus, for this week: a guide for the plutonium-perplexed -- what to... Read More

Global Health: A Kind of Insanity

Next week in Geneva, delegates from 192 countries will gather for the 58th annual World Health Assembly -- a giant confab that sets policies for the World Health Organization (WHO), an arm of the United Nations. The WHO faces a... Read More

Profit or Loss?

First it killed the much-needed Bolkestein directive on liberalization of services to preserve its own domination of this market. Then it shot down EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's proposal to grant to preferential tariffs Asian countries hit by the tsunami. Read More

American Muslim Youth vs. the Wahhabi Lobby

The Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, of which I am the Executive Director has been interested for some time in the situation of American Muslim students in the Rutgers University system -- the state university of New Jersey. Young... Read More

Where No Geek Has Gone Before

The last new Enterprise airs tonight, and soon Star Trek will be, in a sense, dead -- but we should all have such a rollicking afterlife. Forget the five-year mission; Star Trek has succeeded in its forty-year mission to be... Read More

Photoshopping the Apocalypse: The Gods Are Angry with Michael Crichton

The gods are angry with Michael Crichton. "State of Fear" has left global warming only marginally cooler than tossing virgins in volcanoes or serving parboiled PETA directors as hors d'oeuvres. But what's really put Gaia on Prozac is seeing science... Read More

The Useless Blood of May

What do you do when you're Islamothug Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and you're running out of "front line" fanatics to handle your suicide bombings? You lie. You get some pathetic shlub who's just come over the border from Syria with an... Read More

The Bermuda Triangle of American Politics

PAGET PARISH, BERMUDA -- The aftershocks of the 2004 election still resound in this outpost of "Benedict Arnold CEOs." Yes, long after the Swift Boats Vets exited stage left and the pundits exhausted their unique takes on the real significance... Read More

Blair and the Quest for Mid East Peace

Unless Tony Blair makes a sudden and unexpected withdrawal from public life or cedes the premiership to his powerful chancellor Gordon Browne, Labour's third successive election victory provides him with one final chance to contribute to a solution to the... Read More

Union Blues: How Big Labor Flouts the Law to Harm Its Members

The AFL-CIO got a rude awakening last week when the Department of Labor delivered a stern warning: labor pension funds are not to be used for political purposes. The directive was a blow to organized labor, which attempted to... Read More

On Not Getting the Koran

Yesterday that recently vanquished cliché, the Arab street, returned to remind us that there are some things that even the most enlightened Westerners don't get about Muslims -- their fanaticism about the Koran. Newsweek, which had only a few months... Read More

Let's Be Candid About Cameras

Has the Big Brother trope gotten too big? As more municipalities adopt video surveillance in lieu of beat cops, more civil libertarians have become outraged. But why? Most people who oppose them say it just feels creepy. Others whip out... Read More

Best for Mothers, Best for Babies

New mothers are besieged by people telling them what is "best" for their babies -- and pressures to breastfeed have become among the fiercest of all. Ardent breastfeeding advocates once just made mothers feel guilty if they didn't breastfeed, accusing... Read More

A Passage to Indian Health Care

We know that it is routine for x-rays and many diagnostic tests to be interpreted overnight by medical professionals in India. In a fairly new development, though, it's not just the tests that are headed off to the subcontinent for... Read More

We May Be Europeans, But Please, We're Not That Damn Stupid

One of the advantages of middle age (maturity as we old geezers prefer to call it) is that one gains insights into oneself, little bits and bobs of self-knowledge make themselves apparent. A slightly disturbing one of these reared its... Read More

Climate Cycle or Climate Psychic?

In light of the general hysteria over global warming, it's nice, once in a while, to be able to couch our current and ongoing climate changes into some larger perspective. We keep hearing about historically warm years, warm decades,... Read More

On Bluffs and Nuclear Options

A Two Hundred Year Old Tradition? Democrats tells us that the filibuster tradition is two hundred years old, making it almost as old as the United States itself. Just Google the phrase "the filibuster tradition" and up will pop... Read More

I Want a New Drug...

Europe's pharmaceutical market is changing. The transformation has been under way for a long time, but recently a major change occurred: the Swiss giant Novartis acquired Hexal, the second largest generics company in Germany, and its strategic partner Eon Labs.... Read More

"Oh Woe" the WTO

MELBOURNE, Australia -- If corridor gossip in Geneva is right, The WTO is about to become the "Oh, Woe" or the "Whoops, there we go again" World Trade Organization. Pascal Lamy, the former EU Commissioner for Trade, seems likely to... Read More

No Star Wars for Oil

BRUSSELS -- I just saw a press screening of the new Star Wars movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and here's my capsule review: It's superb; the last 15 minutes are better than anything George Lucas has ever done;... Read More

When It Comes to Patents, Small Is Beautiful

WASHINGTON -- There's a reason that juries are often sequestered. It's to separate discussions of the truth from the comparatively superficial environment of media and politics. In an attempt to apply this theory to the public policy world, we piled... Read More

Judge Not

While planning last week for my next seminar for federal judges, to be held in July by the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment, I was disheartened to read that several distinguished judges had felt obliged to distance... Read More

Who Should Define What's 'Reasonable'?

Politicians are always looking for a new goose to pluck to win the political favor of their constituents. Today everyone from congressmen to city councilmen treat the drugmakers like a flock of geese.   At least Congress has national jurisdiction.... Read More

Climate Models and Consensus Science

It is fairly easy to calculate the likely rise of global average temperature DT for the purely theoretical situation where atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is doubled but nothing else about the atmosphere is allowed to change. The answer is about... Read More

Only in America: Activist Medicine

"The trouble started innocently enough. I had something in my eye, so I rubbed it. As any mother or eye doctor can tell you, that didn't help. Three days later my left eye was swelling visibly and growing more painful... Read More

Europe Adds Headache to Blair's Post-Election Hangover

When Tony Blair was reelected British Prime Minister last Thursday, he was entitled to a celebratory glass of champagne. Despite all the sound and fury over the Iraq war, the British people returned him to office with a majority with... Read More

Applying the Clinton Standard for Bolton

In his memoirs, George Stephanopoulos revealed that President Clinton was subject to "purple rages" and that Stephanopoulos oftentimes felt that his job was to get yelled at by the President in the morning so that the President would not go... Read More

WHO's Latest Initiative: Blame Avoidance

Policies pursued by South Africa on HIV-AIDS have been spectacularly flaky. Even now, while state facilities are treating 42,367 patients with life-prolonging antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) , the health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang warns that patients should Read More

The Iraq Museum, Reloaded

Archaeology is once again making news in Iraq. Iraqi archaeologists trained in England have returned home to begin excavations of mass graves. More mass graves are being discovered weekly, including those of Kuwaitis murdered during the first Gulf War. And... Read More

Immobility Risk

Some questions just come too late. So do some answers. Such was the case at a recent American Enterprise Institute forum on capping the mortgage-backed security (MBS) portfolios of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the congressional chartered, secondary mortgage market.. Read More

A New Sheriff In Town

New administrator Mike Griffin has apparently ridden into NASA town with guns blazing. Not surprisingly to anyone who's been following his career, he's a man in a hurry to break the nation out of the low earth orbit quagmire in... Read More

Are Blogs Busting Loose?

Last weekend I attended the BlogNashville blogger conference, held at Belmont University in Nashville.  It was the third conference of that sort I had attended, and it underscored the way blogs, and blogging, are changing. In 2002, I went to... Read More

How the West Can Win Iran

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has announced he will run for the Iranian presidency. Iran analysts mostly agree that he will be elected. For some time now, Persian émigrés have been saying that Rafsanjani, even more than the supreme religious... Read More

The War on Capitalism

During the week of May 1 - Germany's Labor Day - it was clear that the recent "capitalism debate" in Germany has spun out of control. The chairman of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), Franz Müntefering, by comparing foreign... Read More

Highballs and High IQs

These days it is widely known that moderate consumption of alcohol has beneficial effects on health. Whether the drink is red wine, beer, or distilled spirits, the benefits are seen. The risk of dying in any given year is about... Read More

The Digital VIP Room

As innovative companies continue to bring self-publishing and other content-creation tools to the masses, technology is once again cool. It's not only Joe Consumer who is discovering the magic of creating and distributing content: bona fide celebrities from the wor Read More

Eliot Spitzer, At It Again

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been compared to Tony Soprano in that, as Stephen W. Stanton has put it, "He breaks the law. He lies. He intimidates. He makes his own rules, and he gets what he... Read More

The Finnish Revolution

Finns do not top of the list of people known for hot-blooded radicalism. You look in vain in Finnish history books for stories of citizens storming a Bastille just to let authorities know how they feel. Yet time and again... Read More

Things Look Brighter on Planet Earth

Another day, yet another report on global warming and climate change, this time a joint one from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, published in Science. The essential point that I take from... Read More

The Worm Turns

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes argues that antitrust and state-aid regulation in EU countries must be reinforced in order to spur competition. The same idea is rather widely elaborated in the revised Lisbon Agenda for growth and jobs. True, increased... Read More

The Left Catches On

Something remarkable is happening as a Republican Congress and president move to crackdown on 527 groups like the Voter Fund and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: Liberals are realizing that something's fishy. Three years after the passage of McCain-Feingol Read More

The Military, the Supreme Court and a Solomonic Judgment?

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, the Justice Department's appeal of a circuit court decision striking down the Solomon Amendment - a 1994 measure that bars federal funding to... Read More

The Rumblings of an Atomic Avalanche

Editor's note: This article is the first of two parts. Since 9-11, concern about nuclear proliferation has, shall we say, gained momentum. But whereas the subject of proliferation is interesting, and even morbidly entertaining, the legal underpinnings of non-prolif Read More

The Shores of Tripoli

A significant anniversary has just passed us by, and if there was any mention of it in the press, I missed it. It's probably too late to hang up bunting and arrange for a parade to mark an event that... Read More

In Germany, a Plague of 'Locusts'

Now that the specter of American military hegemony has apparently worn thin, Germany's Socialists have rummaged around deep in their collective closet and dug out a bogeyman straight out of their dog-eared copies of Das Kapital to blame for the... Read More

What Is the Future for Investors?

Wharton Business School Professor Jeremy Siegel is one of the world's most important scholars on stock ownership and investing. His 1994 book "Stocks for the Long Run" became an instant classic. His extensive original research found that over periods... Read More

Haste Makes Waste of Resources and Lives

HIV is a hugely successful organism; it replicates rapidly and easily develops resistance to incomplete or inappropriate therapy. A resistant strain is vastly more difficult and expensive to treat. For this reason the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that Read More

How Britain's Conservatives Have Undermined the Atlantic Alliance

Just when the US and allies such as France and Germany are patching up their differences and letting bygones be bygones over Iraq, the hottest ticket in Britain's elections seems to be anti-Americanism. Nothing illustrates this trend better than the... Read More

What Bush Must Do In Moscow

Josef Stalin, no slouch in the paranoid-suspicion department, took an extra day in May of 1945 to confirm Nazi Germany's surrender in World War II because he thought his British and American colleagues would pocket the May 8th surrender on... Read More

Korea's Jobless Recovery?

Analysts from the Bank of Korea and various private economic research institutes speak often about a "jobless recovery". Similar concerns have been raised in the US and elsewhere. Indeed, it appears that it may be a global phenomenon. According to... Read More

Does "Non" Mean No?

On May 29, France will have all the power its leaders ever wished it to have. Some 40 million French voters have the opportunity to decide the future for 450 million Europeans. Of course the formal policy from other EU... Read More

A Painful Application of Medical Ethics

The blogosphere has been increasingly active regarding a young woman, Amanda Twellman-Dieppa and her battle with cancer (see, for example, this post on Hugh Hewitts website). She has been petitioning Medarex Inc. to provide her with their experimental drug MDX-060. Read More

Poverty and Spending on Health Care

One of the most persistent myths about the U.S. health care system is that poor people lack access. While we allegedly provide luxury health care for the rich, we do much less than other countries for those in poverty. However,... Read More

Too Controversial Because He Is Too Conventional

Democrats, bureaucrats, retired diplomats, and a host of activists object to the nomination of Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton to the post of America's Ambassador to the United Nations. Superficially, the objections Read More

Continents Adrift?

With the possibility of John Bolton becoming U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the transatlantic rift that many politicians have been trying to talk away is resurfacing in a more pronounced way than ever before. Long-standing differences regarding mission, pur Read More

The Politics of Garlic

The otherwise messy world of Estonian politics enjoyed some clarity this April. Every Estonian taxpayer must pay one percent more personal income tax in 2006 and two percent more in 2007. This overhaul of an already scheduled tax decrease seems... Read More

The Social Security Trust Fund is Irrelevant (Or How Al Gore Was Right)

One of the least-noted, but most important, statements about Social Security President Bush made in his April 28 press conference is "by 2041 Social Security will be bankrupt." In so saying, President Bush seems to have caved and moved away... Read More

Bored of Elections

This is possibly the dullest British election campaign in anybody's memory. There is hardly any campaigning going on, for one thing. Most people have not caught sight of any of their candidates and three days before the election not all... Read More

You'll Never Condo in This Town Again

As Saul Steinberg taught us many years ago, from the perspective of New Yorkers, Hollywood might as well be Japan. Well, let us now observe, from our perspective out here in the land of Arnold, that New York might as... Read More

'Murder on Patients'

The yanking from the market of both Vioxx and Bextra, members of a new generation of pain relievers called COX-2 inhibitors, has critics ripping raw flesh off the Food and Drug Administration. Inevitably, the agency and pharmaceutical companies are both... Read More

Ahead of Their Time

It is not uncommon for people to make important intellectual or artistic achievements and be recognized for them only long after the fact -- indeed, sometimes long after their own lives. Johannes Kepler formulated the laws of planetary motion, but... Read More

Working Time Blues

The EU's Directive on Working Time, which is currently undergoing a review with a first reading in the European Parliament due on 10 May, is perhaps one of the Union's most controversial measures in the social field. Originally agreed in... Read More

Bulls#@* and the Academic Left

Graham Larkin, a Stanford humanities professor, injects the words "bullshit", "bullshitter" and "BS" a total of 14 times in his recent 1,192 word op-ed piece in Inside Higher Education, the unintentionally illuminating title of which is "David Horowitz's War on... Read More

Our Town

Wal-Mart is the world largest retailer and the most criticized. Critics contend that the company destroys competition or that it is too successful a competitor. It is criticized for outsourcing and labor and hiring practices. Perhaps the most persistent criticism.. Read More

State of the Scare

Reporting on air quality has improved, but not by nearly as much as air quality itself. The American Lung Association's annual State of the Air report has also improved, but not by nearly as much as air quality reporting. Despite... Read More

Global Warming: The Smoking Gun?

Last week's publication of a new climate modeling study (1) investigating the evidence for man-made climate change is destined to have more than the average impact on the global warming debate. The study's lead author, Dr. James Hansen, has been... Read More

The Unbearable Rightness of Nick Denton

A couple of years ago, Nick Denton, inspired by Howell Raines' problems at the New York Times, warned that the power of the blogosphere might have anarchic consequences:         "In the turmoil at the Times, there's a broader Read More

Why Now?

Democracy, it seems, is resurgent. Yes, it is too early to tell whether the winds of change that have been blowing in the former Soviet republics and the Arab world in recent months will result in sustainable gains for freedom... Read More

The Ideological War Over Intellectual Property

Intellectual property, once a dry, technical subject, has been cast as the villain in a modern day struggle between darkness and light. Free Culture and open source advocates argue passionately that intellectual property rights harm us all by locking up... Read More

World Bank-rupt

All too much of the discussion of Paul Wolfowitz's recent nomination to be President of the World Bank has focused on one issue. How effective can the architect of the Iraq war be in working with countries that might be... Read More

The Technology of Medieval Peasantry to the Rescue?

One of the delights about the way my life is currently working out (soon to be followed by the inevitable disaster, I am sure,) is that there is a neat connection between what I actually do for a living and... Read More

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