TCS Daily : June 2005 Archives

Forest Reforms in Crossfire

On July 1, the Forest Service will celebrate its 100th Anniversary and will, no doubt, commemorate the past century's vast forest growth and reforestation throughout many parts of the nation. But before the agency uncorks too many bottles of bubbly,... Read More

Better to Die Young Than Get Fat

The UN's World Health Organization has declared obesity a crisis of "epidemic proportions" in the developing world, with 300 million people globally deemed "obese." The UN has listed it among the world's top ten 'preventable risks,' along with unsafe sex.... Read More

Israel's Tech Boom

The last decade of the 20th Century was a period of hope and optimism for the citizens of Israel. The Oslo peace process was still on track and this tiny Mediterranean nation was at the absolute forefront of the burgeoning... Read More

Taxing Infertility

Among the proposals being put forward in the Czech Republics debate over reform of the pay-as-you-go pension system are ideas to promote birthrates via both tax advantages and tax penalties. According to one such proposal, backed by the Christian Democrats,... Read More

D-Day for Innovation

Last week I attended Innovation Day: Europe, an event on innovation and intellectual property rights at the EU-level that took place in Brussels. In light of the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee's recent rejection of plans to overhaul the Patent... Read More

That Bloody, Bloody Flag

It was a speech the content of which proved its own irrelevance. Sagging poll numbers brought President Bush to Fort Bragg, but the words he spoke there made it clear that no poll ever taken will shake this administration's... Read More

All the Insecurity Money Can Buy

More than 80 nonproliferation and national security experts polled for a congressional study estimate that in the next decade the risk of an attack using some sort of nuclear device is as high as 70%. The odds are also high... Read More

Richman? Poorman? Beggarman? Thief?

Will the real Brazil please stand up? Is Brazil a poor country that needs more foreign aid from the United States -- even involuntary aid? Or is it an increasingly rich and powerful country that can seize foreign markets for... Read More

Super-Sized Strawman

Morgan Spurlock is at it again. Capitalizing on his fame from his Oscar-nominated film "Super Size Me," Morgan Spurlock has gained a "reality" series on the FX channel. The premise of the show, Thirty Days, is that Spurlock will try... Read More

Nobody's Perfect

Nobody's perfect, and everybody makes mistakes.  What's more, we often learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.These statements are clichs, but they're true.  Heck, they're clichs because they're true.But it's still easy to forget them.  Read More

The New Telecom Players

It's long been said that government policy is about 20 years behind technology, which is what has always made telecommunications policy so tricky. By the time the long, deliberative policymaking process is completed, and all the necessary constituencies are pacifie Read More

Kernels of Truth

The world is going corn-crazy and maize-mad . . . again. Five years ago, there was near-hysteria over "contamination" of yellow corn and products made from it -- chips, tortillas, taco shells and the like -- with tiny amounts of... Read More

One Man's 'Deadly Weapon'...

Once upon a time my wife and I moved from Chicago to Scottsdale, Ariz.. Not long after settling into a new house, I sought out the nearest branch of the local public library to procure a library card. You will... Read More

The Stag Party

Its beyond me how anybody could look at this economy and think of stagflation. After all, President Bush mostly takes his cues from Ronald Reagan (who ended that problem), not from Jimmy Carter (who presided over it). Nevertheless, New... Read More

The Law West of Yukos

  According to the majority of foreign observers, concerns over the overtly political nature of the trial and conviction of Yukos oil-company founder and CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky for alleged tax evasion and fraud have kept many would be investors... Read More

Europe's Rising Emissions

How is Europe responding to the challenge of global warming? With more global warming. That may seem incongruous given all of the EU's Kyoto hype, but take a look at the latest report from the European Environmental Agency on... Read More

Riding the East Asian Tiger

Something needs to be done about the East Asian security landscape. Kicking off the 19th Asia Pacific Roundtable in Kuala Lumpur on June 1, Malaysian Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, described the evolving regional security picture as "depressing." Malaysian Read More

The Real Abuse at Guantanamo

After speaking with soldiers, sailors, and civilians who collectively staff the Joint Task Force - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba on my recent visit to that base, I left convinced that abuse definitely exists at the detention facilities. But not the slander... Read More

Determined to Make a Deep Impact

"Life is so strange/ Destination unknown/ When you don't know/ Your destination" -- Missing Persons NASA spacecraft have seen a number of strange destinations over the years -- gas giants and small rocky worlds, the red seas of Mars and... Read More

'God Bless You, Dude'

OCEAN BEACH, SAN DIEGO -- The seeming incongruities of this country's crazy cultural mix never cease to amaze me. Like the aged hippie playing top-40 riffs on his guitar by the taco stand on the beach. Or the biracial couple... Read More

The Power of Hatred

Hard pounding, gentlemen; but we will see who can pound the longest. -The Duke of Wellington, at Waterloo. The Islamoterrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown a resilience that some have found surprising. They have learned fast and learned much... Read More

Tempest in a Cereal Bowl?

Last week, General Mills announced its intent to launch a national ad campaign that will be targeted at children and tout the health benefits of eating breakfast -- especially a breakfast of cereal that the company produces. Among the General... Read More

Grokster at last!

After all the ink and angst spilled in the 58 separate briefs filed in Grokster, the decision yesterday was surprisingly crisp, clear, and reasonable.   There was a lot in it for everybody, which means for both the content and... Read More

Joke on the Water

GENEVA -- Lovely as it is, perched on the calm and pristine shores of Lac Léman at the point where the glacial lake narrows back into the fast-flowing Rhône River, Geneva is a singularly boring place. In fact, with... Read More

Using the Most Vulnerable

Headlines recently exclaimed: "Hormone-altering chemical puts ICU newborns at risk-Babies treated with plastics have high levels of a toxic substance, a study finds." The basis for this disturbing news was a study from Harvard School of Public Health published in.. Read More

It's not the government, stupid.

Too many people involved with Social Security reform, particularly the politicians and the people who cover them, spend too much time talking about trust fund actuarial projections, solvency and other esoteric aspects of the process. Ho-hum, especially for younger Read More

I Miss the Future

The wry observation that the future ain't what it used to be has been variously attributed to baseball legend Yogi Berra, French poet Paul Valery, and science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. Whoever said it spoke the truth. "[F]or... Read More

Can a People Have Too Much Respect for the Law?

Can a people have too much respect for the law? This might appear to be a strange question to ask. Americans, after all, seem to believe that it is impossible to have too much respect for the law. Yet... Read More

Seoul Searching for More Intervention

Finance-Economy Minister Han Duck-soo has declared that Seoul will bear the costs to curb further appreciation of the won against the U.S. dollar. The reason for accepting the burden of intervention efforts in foreign currency markets is to maintain the... Read More

Brazil's dangerous denial

When is a life-saving intervention somebody else's responsibility? From the example of Brazil, the answer seems to be: When it's expensive. Brazilian Health Minister Humberto Costa has declared that the price of a new anti-retroviral drug developed by Abbott Labora Read More

Kyoto and the Art of Political Backtracking

Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And I am not sure about the former.-- Albert Einstein Why should the Kyoto Protocol (the UN agreement to reduce man-made emissions of CO2 in order to counter global warming) be... Read More

The Lost Boy Scout

Of all the rules that we set down to govern boys, few work as poorly for me as the warning, Don't talk to strangers. I first remember giving in to this temptation when I was about seven or eight. The... Read More

They Can't Take That Away From Me... Unless They Can

By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that governments may seize your business and even your home in order to facilitate private economic development schemes. It's well settled, of course, that the government can take your property... Read More

The EU's Palestine Problem

It is difficult to understand the European Union's refusal, over the last five years, to hold the Palestinian leadership accountable for its terrorism and corruption -- and in particular its willingness to embrace the late Yasir Arafat as a great... Read More

Spice Up G8 with No Regrets

The suggestion that the Spice Girls are about to re-form may not seem like major international development news, but the upcoming Live 8 concert on July 2 at which Ginger, Baby, Scary, Posh and the other one will probably perform... Read More

Keeping the Poor, Poor

Helping the under privileged can be hard work. Take Oxfam's recent experience in Sri Lanka. Customs authorities insisted it pay US $1 million in duties on 25 four wheel drive vehicles imported by Oxfam for tsunami relief. Naturally, Oxfam... Read More

My Grandfather and the Gulag

Hatred of the Bush Administration policies should not justify historical boorishness. Gitmo ain't the Gulag. Nor it is a Third Reich concentration camp or a Cambodian Pol Pot killing field. Senator Durbin's aide may have given the boss bad... Read More

Third Wave Gentrification

Last weekend I left my city of Portland and headed out to the nearly depopulated northeastern corner of Oregon, to the small town formerly known as "Halfway." The town recently changed its name and posted a sign on the... Read More

Smoke Gets In Your Lies

Editors note: What follows is TCS contributor Radley Balkos testimony before the Washington DC City Council hearing on a proposed smoking ban. After calling the hearing, all of the Council members left the hearing but one. It was unclear... Read More

The Blogosphere: Uniter, Divider, or Both?

It was a year ago today that I began writing for Tech Central Station and I can say without exaggeration that the experience has changed my life. My online education, of course, stems chiefly from the generous willingness of TCS... Read More

EU Realpolitik

The annual US-EU summit took place in Washington, D.C. this week -- and what an awkward photo op it was, seeing Europe's hobbled leaders in the Oval Office with President Bush. "Working together as global partners" was the motto... Read More

Lights, Camera, Action on Climate Change?

The summer's hottest horror flick might be called, "Kyoto 8: The Bad Idea That Wouldn't Die." It's opening in the U.S. Senate this week, and it's coming to the big conference of global leaders in Gleneagles, Scotland, next month. The... Read More

Reforming Iran From the Top

The race for the Iranian presidency is going into a runoff round with former President and speaker Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani facing hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current mayor of Tehran. Questions exist concerning whether the initial polling was free of... Read More

'Any Organization Will, In the End, Be Run By Those Who Stay Awake in Committee'

An interesting report recently came out from the Globalization Institute (an organization I am peripherally involved with so they must be good guys) on the prospects for the international trade system. It's rather gloomy about the likely success of the... Read More

A Tale of Two Prophets

In the middle of the nineteenth century, two bearded prophets appeared who made a universal appeal to the poor and downtrodden of the earth. One lived in London, and his name was Karl Marx. One lived in Salt Lake City,... Read More

Beijing and the Bubble

China is in the grips of a rapidly expanding property bubble. Prices are up 12.5 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier. Shanghai's property market bubble is more severe. The increase was 19 percent in the first... Read More

So Many Missed Opportunities

The time has now come for fiscal conservatives to publicly admit the truth: the Republican complicity in the great spending spree of the early 21st century has placed our agenda on life-support. By failing to cut spending while implementing... Read More

Blair's Global Environment Failures: It's Not Just Climate Change

George Bush's unwillingness to back Tony Blair's climate change initiatives for the G8 Summit in July is not the only recent global initiative of Blair's to flop. Less publicized, but just as prized by green NGOs, was Blair's recent failure... Read More

"In Perpetuity"?

I recently asked what the implications of a life-long office might be in a world in which life might last indefinitely. This is a question that will increasingly come up as new breakthroughs in life extension start to gradually... Read More

Lebanon Kisses Syria Goodbye, Electorally

On Sunday, Lebanon successfully conducted the final round of its parliamentary elections -- ending the first stage of its post-Syria phase. The elections were far from perfect, sometimes acrimonious, and designed to favor a predetermined outcome; they were also muc Read More

The Hyperbolic Opposition

The self-destruction of the left these days may be amusing, in its way, but it's also growing pretty tiresome. While sometimes it's fun to get outraged -- and if you work in cable news, it may well be your bread... Read More

Crime? And Punishment

The recent convictions of ex-Tyco executives Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz and of ex-Adelphia executives John and Timothy Rigas highlight once again the growing extent to which the criminal law is being invoked to deal with problems of corporate... Read More

New Minds in Old Bottles

I've written before (here, too) about automation, unemployment, and the new economy. Now, in his new book, A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age, Dan Pink offers us a handle on what's going on,... Read More

Stepping up the Pressure

As the G8 summit to be held in Gleneagles, Scotland nears, the Bush Administration finds itself coming under increasing pressure to alter its course on climate change. A couple of weeks ago, British Prime Minister and acting G8 head... Read More

Hobbes, Locke and the Bush Doctrine

"From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we... Read More

Cure for What Ails EU

In my article Making Immunity More Than Skin Deep I described the troubles of the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to producing vaccines. In fact, things are going in the wrong direction for the pharmaceutical industry in general. New drugs... Read More

Known Unknowns in the World of Aid

The tsunami disaster struck a chord with people around world. This is reflected by the staggering donations made to non-government organisations (NGOs) engaged in foreign aid. In the United States, close to $1 billion was raised. In the Great Britain,... Read More

Patent Reform Hits the Hill

Most people pay little attention to the patent system, so it rarely generates heat on Capitol Hill. It is not that people are unaware. Everyone knows that patents exist, but mostly the system hums along in the background, part of... Read More

Blue Dogs vs. Feral Howard

Sometimes a political story morphs into an animal story. This seems to be happening to the Democrats as they work out their future. Consider Howard Dean. A year ago Mr. Dean withdrew from the presidential primaries yelping like a hound.... Read More

Veritas No Longer

"These results are completely misleading"-- Walter Willett in "Obesity: Time bomb or dud?", USA Today May 26, 2005 Ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's beliefs about the connection between being overweight, obese and dying were turned on... Read More

Paul Krugman Needs to Buy Paul Krugman's Textbooks

We Brits were privileged with a flying visit by arguably "the most brilliant [...] most controversial economist of our generation" recently. Yes, that would be Paul Krugman and his views were outlined in the Sunday Telegraph [1]:      &nbs Read More

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Remitters...

Immigrant workers often send some of their earnings to family members back in the home country. Critics of immigration have begun expressing concerns about such remittances. At a seminar on immigration at the Institute of Economic Affairs in London last... Read More

Time for Action on Global Warming!

I've decided it's time to get serious about Global Warming. The national academies of science of eleven nations recently united to warn us of impeding climatic doom resulting from our careless inflation of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from its... Read More

The Vivid Centuries

The palest ink is better than the best memory. -- Chinese proverb Imagine someone in the year 2105 helping his family sort out his grandfather's belongings after his death. Buried in the bottom of a drawer he finds an iPod... Read More

Results Oriented

Some people are never satisfied no matter how easy other people make it for them to live their lives. Consider, for example, a man named Cameron Stracher, publisher of the New York Law School Law Review. In "It's Hard to... Read More

Putting Profits Before People

Last month the Kenyan government responded to pressure from its academics, AIDS activists and business leaders -- although, sadly, not the World Health Organisation -- and removed the 10% tariff on medicines coming into the country. This was welcome... Read More

What Ever Happened to the Big Media Boogeyman?

Remember when a handful of media companies were supposedly going to take over the world and program our brains? Back in 2000, for example, a number of folks were running around saying that the media sky would fall after Time... Read More

The Shock of the New

EU leaders met in Brussels not only during a crisis for the Union, but also at the crest of the biggest protectionist wave Europe has seen for decades. This is a problem that once again threatens the opportunities for Europe.... Read More

Trading Away Good Health?

Pity Thai trade officials. They have their hands full with a very busy trade agenda that is being watched closely by their activist Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. As well as coping with acceleration of negotiations in the WTO Doha Round,... Read More

Julian Simon Would Be Proud

The late Julian Simon wrote dozens of books and articles debunking neo-Malthusians. In the 1980 swirl of Three Mile Island and record-high oil prices, he bet doomsayer Paul Ehrlich $1,000 that any five commodities he chose would cost less in... Read More

Be Careful What You Pay For

"Paracelsus cured him in three days; the canon paid him six guilders, but refused the rest on the ground that the cure had taken so little time." -- Will Durant, The Reformation, p. 879 (thanks to Don Boudreaux for the... Read More

How Powerful Is Productivity?

Editor's note: William Lewis is the director emeritus of the McKinsey Global Institute. His recent book, The Power of Productivity: Wealth, Poverty and the Threat to Global Stability, is based on extensive economic, political and sociological study of thirteen coun Read More

Some Assembly Required

Can the European Parliament be an effective force for change in the EU? TCS contributor Tomasz Teluk talks with former Polish Prime Minister and current MEP Jerzy Buzek about intellectual property, economic growth, and the future of European political economics.... Read More

This Is Getting Worse Than Darfur

As President Bush met five African leaders this week, one topic should have been at the forefront of the discussion -- Zimbabwe. Three of the leaders, from Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia, are from countries that directly border the despotic regime... Read More

Another Full-Employment Act For the Lawyers

Let us begin with the obvious: Politics is the art of wealth redistribution. And while the meek shall inherit the earth, someday, in the here and now it is Congress that bestows favors and imposes costs as we travel... Read More

An Alphabet Soup of Cynicism

GENEVA -- Three different sets of meetings have been taking place here in this beautiful city in the past two weeks -- all of which will have an enormous effect on America's health and economic well-being. In fact, trillions of... Read More

Why Bush and Blair Will Remain Good Friends

Why is George so stingy when it comes to helping Tony? After all, the President owes the British prime minister. Mr. Blair joined him in the unpopular Iraq war even as others fled. "Yes, Tony," should be the reply... Read More

The Titillo-Americans

If you know the name of Paris Hilton's consort, you could be a saprophyte. If you know the current state of play among JLo, Bennifer, Katie, Tom, Kirsten, Nicole, or Britney, you could be a saprophyte. If you watch Entertainment... Read More

Putin's Real Reforms

Last week, after a half-year long absence, the daily tribulations of the economist's academic life brought me back to my birth-city, Moscow. Below the usual kitschy glitter of casinos, amid the torrents of Mercs and BMWs, framed by the... Read More

Wither Europe?

The prospects for the future are promising and we can turn a crisis into an opportunity.-European Commission President José Barroso, speech, Messina, Italy, 4 June 2005 With every setback, if you look hard enough you can see the opportunity.-British Prime... Read More

Sabine, Herald of Liberty

The European Union is becoming increasingly uncompetitive in the world economy. The average tax burden consumes almost 45 percent of GNP, and regulatory red tape makes it very difficult for the private sector to create jobs. With this track record,... Read More

Liberalism's Dilemma

Peter Beinart, editor of the liberal flagship The New Republic, is worried that liberalism is "sowing the seeds of its own destruction" ("A Fighting Faith", The New Republic, 13 December 2004). The problem, according to Beinart, is not a... Read More

How We're Heading Back to the Future

Set the wayback machine for 10,000 B.C. What does the world look like? Except for cave bears and saber-tooth tigers -- both pretty much extinct by this point anyway -- the scale is pretty small. The biggest human organizations are... Read More

Towards a More Perfect Asian Union?

Following the experiences in the euro-zone region of Europe, a common currency area for Asia has been widely discussed. Among the presumed benefits of regional coordination of exchange-rate policies is the reduction of currency volatility that could encourage great Read More

MyPyramid Scheme

Many of us learn what foods to eat for good nutrition from the government's food guide pyramid -- that graphic symbol posted in American school classrooms and cafeterias. Its purpose has been to translate the Dietary Guidelines issued by the... Read More

Housing Bubble Overblown

It's rare that Alan Greenspan, the man who guards the sanctity of the dollar, speaks in Congress on a subject that most Americans understand and truly care about. He did last week when he addressed real estate. Freddie Mac, a... Read More

Follies of the MSM

I worked as a staff writer for the San Francisco Chronicle for exactly ten years. I was also elected secretary of the Northern California Media Workers' Guild, the local branch of The Newspaper Guild, AFL-CIO, which represents reporters and copy... Read More

PETA: People Enabling Terrorist Atrocities

To hear the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals tell it, they're just animal lovers. They usually claim they simply want to ensure our furry and feathered friends aren't abused. In reality, they call humans "a cancer" and insist... Read More

Snus or Lose

New findings by Professor Brad Rodu from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Professor Michael Kunze from the University of Vienna reveal just how harmful the European Union's ban on smokeless tobacco is: very harmful. At a recent meeting... Read More

Bolton and the Liberal Internationalists

Whether John Bolton is successfully nominated to the ambassadorship of the United Nations or whether he flounders on the shoals of Democratic opposition, the nomination process has helpfully illuminated some of the difficulties in framing a post-Cold War approach t Read More

Being Straight, Shooting Straight

With constant talk about the problems various service branches of the American armed forces are having in meeting recruiting goals, talk has naturally drifted towards the possibility of a draft being instituted. Most of the political maneuvering regarding the possi Read More

A Cautionary Tale

GENEVA -- What do the national costumes of Yunan Province in China and the microbes of Panamanian rainforests have in common? Both are subjects of ongoing meetings of The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization/TRIPS. From.. Read More

The Attorney General Who Would Be King

Until now, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (the so-called "Sheriff of Wall Street") and his merry band of prosecutors have been able to police the financial markets with a mix of intimidation, bravado and well-timed publicity to extract guilty... Read More

Aid to Africa -- How to Do It Right

On Saturday, June 11, Reuters reported,   "The world's wealthiest countries agreed on Saturday to write off more than $40 billion of African debts."The deal struck by finance ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations is part of a... Read More

An Immigrant's Tale

I arrived in Sweden in 1989 together with my mother and brother. We were refugees from Iran and since we arrived we have depended on welfare and government benefits in one way or another. In a sense I believe that... Read More

An End To 'Everybody's Press'?

Editor's note: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is currently under court order to consider extending regulation and restriction of political speech outlined by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA, also known as McCain-Feingold). The court order wa Read More

EU Perestroika?

The recent referendums on the European Constitution in France and the Netherlands mark a historic turning point. The document, actually a constitutional treaty, is now probably moribund, since it requires approval by all 25 EU member states, either by referendum... Read More

The Inimitable Nation

Once there was a farm located by a tranquil river. One day a duck from the river bumped into a chicken from the farm, and they immediately fell head over heels in love with each other. Sadly, no one... Read More

Political Expediency vs. Science

A bill introduced by Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D, NY) that attempts to end financial conflicts of interest among FDA advisory committee members passed by a vote of 218 to 210. The bill prevents the FDA from empaneling scientists with financial... Read More

The Man with the Bionic Ear

On July 7, 2001, 36-year-old Michael Chorost was renting a car at the Reno, Nevada airport when the nearby traffic suddenly sounded fuzzy. Chorost initially thought the problem was with his hearing aids; he had been born with damaged... Read More

Water Into Whine

The Economist recently revealed one of the California wine industry's most closely guarded secrets; namely, the growing practice of adding water to the fermentation mix: ... much of [California's] wine output is "watered back" -- or, dare one say,... Read More

Democratization Challenges: Has Mr. Karimov Overstayed His Welcome?

As the U.S. and Israel withdrew their non-essential personnel and diplomatic families from their embassies in Uzbekistan due to "specific" terror threats, the U.S. policy in Central Asia seems to be facing a fundamental challenge: How the Bush Administration... Read More

Was Karol Wojtyla the Greatest Mass Murderer of the 20th Century?

Only a month after the death of his predecessor, the new Pope, Benedict XVI, announced that he had launched the process which culminates in Catholic sainthood. The Vatican normally moves at a glacial pace in such things, so the unprecedented... Read More

Present at the Transition

Editor's note: John Ehrman -- author of the well-regarded study The Rise of Neoconservatism : Intellectuals and Foreign Affairs, 1945-1994 -- has written a new book: The Eighties: America in the Age of Reagan. It is one of the first... Read More

And So the Kinder, Gentler War on Terror Began...

"Men," growled Colonel Clueless, "there's no denying it: the Guantanamo Bay Ex-Detainee Reunion Party has clearly violated several Baghdad municipal ordinances, what with the mortar attacks and sniper fire and car bombs and all, and serious action will have to... Read More

Boo, Yay, Boo, Yay...Rewind, Repeat

With George Bush set to talk about North Korea with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun Friday, here's a primer on Washington-Pyongyang relations, 1991-2005:         Boo, North Korea won't admit it has nuclear weapons, let's Read More

Iran So Far Away

The most pressing challenge the free world faces today is Islamic terrorism and its deadly goals. Nations differ over how to handle this threat. Worse, it seems they ignore the enemy who threatens our very existence. Everybody knows the... Read More

When 'the Future Was in Venezuela'

MIAMI -- I first visited Miami with my parents in the early 1950s. Actually, we went to Miami Beach since Miami was then a small, backwater town, with little more than the airport and a fine conservative newspaper, The Miami... Read More

Thanked or Damned?

Uzbekistan's Soviet-style dictator Islam Karimov massacred between 500 and 1000 civilians in Andijon province for daring to stand up to his authoritarian rule. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has uttered nary a peep of a protest in public. At this... Read More

French-ifying Retail America

Wal-Mart is being criticized for charging low prices and hiring unskilled workers. Of course, that's not how its critics, including several congressmen, put it as they assail Wal-Mart for not paying its employees more. But unskilled workers would suffer the... Read More

What Price Victory?

To those not too familiar with the German political and social landscape, the overwhelming victory of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the state of North-Rhine-Westphalia may have seemed an opportunity to turn the country around and resort to... Read More

The Pickett's Charge of Climate Alarmism

The release on June 8 of a statement signed by 11 separate national science Academies on global warming represents the Pickett's charge of climate alarmism. Not only has it dashed against the rock of the defensive position of the... Read More

'Frankly, I Blame the Schools'

Julie Atkins' three daughters fell pregnant within a few short months of one another. Natasha recently gave birth to a girl, just around her 16th birthday. Her sister Jade, 14, also gave birth to a girl. However, the first of... Read More

The Real Intelligent Designers

The evolution vs. creation debate will never stop. But that endless wrangle is destined to take some new turns. How so? Because the evolution side of the debate, which is to say, the science side, is about to beget some... Read More

Thumbs Up Over Thumbs Down?

Are you happy about the demise of the EU constitution -- in both France and the Netherlands? Does the report that Tony Blair's government is going to give up on the European Union thrill you to no end? How about... Read More

Getting This Tiger Problem by the Tail

NEW DELHI -- Every time a celebrity is alleged to be involved in hunting in India, the celebrity becomes fair game. Tiger Pataudi, the legendary former captain of Indian Cricket team, is alleged to have been involved in the... Read More

The Empire of Alarmists Strike Back

"We don't want people to artificially hide controversies. We want to get them out in the open." -- CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, June 2, 2005 It's funny how quickly CDC Director Julie Gerberding has stopped sounding like a scientist... Read More

Do it Make it Yourself

I'm currently reading Neil Gershenfeld's new book, Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop: From Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication, and I'm finding it very interesting. It seems that the future may be arriving sooner than I had expected. Gershenfeld,... Read More

Internet Utopia

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- sorry, that's Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold and Reps. Chris Shays and Marty Meehan, Congress' Dark Knights of Campaign-Finance Reform -- have a message for bloggers: They're not "out to get them."... Read More

Remember (the) Maine!

The search for a sustainable climate change policy took small steps in the right direction in Maine this year. In 2003, on a party-line vote, Maine passed legislation implementing the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) Read More

Why Judges Matter

Long before last November's election, Senate Democrats and Republicans were circling each other as tensions over judicial nominations rose. Then, just as it seemed we were heading for a definitive showdown that would produce but one winner in this zero-sum... Read More

Bad News for Homeland Security

President Bush announced Thursday that he will nominate Homeland Security Chairman Christopher Cox, R-Calif., to be chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, succeeding William H. Donaldson. While this may be great news to the business community, it will Read More

Terminating Prosperity

  According to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, "the debate [over human-induced global warming] is over. We know the science, we see the threat and we know the time for action is now."[1] Schwarzenegger issued his call for action on... Read More

An Infantile Policy

The World Health Assembly, the rule-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently finished its annual meeting by adopting a resolution to promote exclusive breast feeding for a baby's first six months. There is no question that breast feeding... Read More

Why Size Matters

Daniel Caclin, after his merger of Equant with Global One in 2001 to make it "the largest pure player for large-scale communications infrastructure for corporate customers," told Oracle's E Business Magazine a non-trade secret: "We're in a business where... Read More

The $1.4 Trillion Mistake

Now that William Donaldson has resigned as SEC Chairman, it's time to re-think the costs and benefits of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act that was endorsed by the Donaldson SEC as a way to renew investor confidence in American capitalism and improve... Read More

The Collectivist Feeling

"Thinking (T)When I make a decision, I like to find the basic truth or principle to be applied, regardless of the specific situation involved. I like to analyze pros and cons, and then be consistent and logical in deciding. I... Read More

When Bush Meets Blair

WASHINGTON -- Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, arrives in town this week to discuss the state of the world with President Bush. But it's someone not present in Washington that may determine the success of the meeting -- Blair's Finance... Read More

"We Cannot Have the Same Expectations of the Terrorists..."

Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, has labelled Guantanamo Bay the "gulag of our times," in her foreword to the most recent Amnesty International Annual Report. This illustrates how the world's most famous human rights non-government organisati Read More

Biotech in the Balance

GENEVA -- Lost in the shadow of the European Constitution debate is an important international dialog about intellectual property rights in the biological sciences. Last Friday a meeting of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Meeting on Genetic Resources and Disclosure Re Read More

Friends Again?

BERLIN -- German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder wants to set general elections in September, one year earlier than scheduled. He hopes to gain support for his unpopular reforms of the German welfare system. However, as opinion polls reveal, the opposition... Read More

Drug Testing and the Market for Lemons

Senator John McCain recently introduced the Clean Sports Act of 2005, which he explains:         ... is designed to strengthen the testing procedures and toughen penalties          Read More

The Original Freakonomics

People are freaking out over Freakonomics. As they should be. Authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner make the dismal science a lot less dismal by regaling readers with one counterintuitive economic analysis after another. I even found the book in... Read More

Ukraine's 100 Days

It has now been a little bit more than 100 days since the Orange Revolution swept through Ukraine and installed Victor Yushchenko as president. Expectations are high that the new government will move the country towards democracy and free market... Read More

Why Would the Times Publish This Story?

A recent article by Scott Shane, Stephen Grey and Margot Williams in the New York Times revealed the use of aircraft charter companies by the CIA and other intelligence agencies, together with specific aircraft markings, bases, routes, and other information... Read More

A 'Common Sense' Dodge

In response to complaints from public companies about the cost of complying with the infamous Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) have both issued statements intended to improve the... Read More

Out With the Rockefeller Republican, In With the Reagan Revolutionary

William Donaldson recently announced his resignation as Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. That line is to Washington what "the check is in the mail" is to the rest of... Read More

Shamnesty International

The torture and abuse of terrorist suspects is very much in the news these days, so it's interesting to note the advice on the topic found in an Al Qaeda training manual seized some time ago in the U.K. The... Read More

Protectionist Storm Clouds Gathering

It is almost two years now since the US Treasury began its intensive engagement with China to hasten that country's move to a more flexible exchange rate policy. Yet, despite that engagement, China has doggedly maintained its exchange rate fixed... Read More

The Fat Lady Ain't Singing Yet

Whatever else you might want to say about Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Julie Gerberding, she is not a quitter. Ever since controversy erupted over the CDC's claims about the number of so-called obesity-related deaths published last year... Read More

Don't Eat This Book -- It's Indigestible

Well, credit Super Size Me producer, director and guinea pig Morgan Spurlock one thing for his just-released book, Don't Eat This Book. The title is right, it's pretty indigestible. This review comes from a deputy editor of TCS, which Spurlock... Read More

Pirates Near the Caribbean?

Among the exponents of the "digital freedom" and "free culture" movements, few are more renowned or articulate than Stanford Law School's Lawrence Lessig. Lessig's star has risen high over the past decade - he even appeared on NBC's The West... Read More

News and Noise in Baghdad

For evil news rides post, while good news baits. -- Milton, Samson Agonistes The devotion to secrecy in the interests of the military machine largely explains why, throughout history, its operations commonly appear in retrospect the most uncertain and least... Read More

An Inspired Choice

Shed no tears for Bill Donaldson. He was a gigantic disappointment as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He consistently sided with the two Democratic commissioners against the two Republicans. It was Harvey Goldschmid, a hardline Democratic law pr Read More

Running on Empty

Does unilateralism work? As far as environmental regulations are concerned, it definitely doesn't. The European Union decided it would cut emissions and pursue its Kyoto Protocol targets even if the US and other big emitters (including developing countries such as. Read More

Meet the Regulations

We are, at times, told by business types that restrictive regulations are costing more than the entire output of the planet and we are, at similar times, told by proponents of such regulations that they are the only thing preventing... Read More

Pluck of the Irish

Mike O'Leary, the handsome, irrepressible CEO of Ireland's wildly successful discount carrier Ryanair has been infuriating the unions again. This time, it's because he has forbidden employees to charge their mobile phones in the office at a saving of, perhaps,... Read More

'You Can Relax About Food and Eat What You Want'

Just as the recent Flegal study by the Centers for Disease Control put the nail into the coffin of the obesity crisis myth, one published this week in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association buries the dieting myth. While... Read More

The Commission We Need: An Immodest Health Care Proposal

"Given the rapid rate of introduction of new medical technologies and the consequent rapid growth of health spending, there is urgent need for a large, private, nonprofit institution to assess the cost-effectiveness of various interventions. It must have a large,.. Read More

...When I'm (One Hundred and) Sixty-Four

It's conventional wisdom that people tend to do their most creative work when they're young. This has sometimes been raised as an objection to extending human lifespans: If, as the old adage has it, "science advances funeral by funeral," then... Read More

Philistines at the Gate

In a recent meeting of the Board of Education in the city of Artichoke, Alabama, it was decided to ban the reading of Homer's Illiad and Odyssey in the classroom. The grounds given for the exclusion of these towering masterpieces... Read More

Trade Wars: Revenge of the Tariff

On April 26, China's trade ministry spokesman transmitted an unambiguous message: "China hopes that Europe is able to identify the negative effects that limiting textile products would have on bilateral economic and trade relations." Writing in Le Figaro magazine, Read More

China's Challenge to APEC

While negotiators have made little headway in the World Trade Organization since the Doha Round was launched in 2001, in the same period, fifteen Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have been negotiated among the members of the group of Asian Pacific... Read More

A Precautionary Tale

If the World Health Organization's problems were limited to its bureaucratic structure, its pandering to several special interest groups, many with leftist orientations, and its fundamentally mis-ordered priorities, there might be some hope for its eventual recover Read More

Towards a More Perfect Union?

The struggle in France to ratify the EU constitution has ended disastrously for the government of President Jacques Chirac -- who staked his political capital on a "Oui" vote. But even before the votes were cast, the referendum fight put... Read More

Taxicab Concessions

All politics is local, as Tip O'Neill used to say. This adage might have guided the British government's response to a report by the UK's competition watchdog, the Office of Fair Trading. The OFT recommended an overhaul of taxi trade... Read More

As Florida Goes...

What a wonderful win it could be for the Democratic Party: a lawsuit by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers yanking hundreds of low-income students out of successful public and private schools and stuffing them back... Read More

The Force Be With Us?

So now we know: The Force is against George W. Bush. Or at least George Lucas, the creator of the Force, director of the new movie, "Revenge of the Sith," is against Bush -- that's for darn sure. Does it... Read More

We Are Living in a Material World...

In Intelligent Design, Revisited, Mustafa Akyol wrote kindly of my earlier article, Intelligent Decline, and I thank him for his courtesy. In turn let me say that I found his response to be well written, amiable, and -- like most... Read More

TCS Daily Archives