TCS Daily : January 2006 Archives

Global Warming Science, or Policy?

A nasty little spat has arisen as a result of NASA's leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), speaking out on the Bush Administration's reluctance to begin imposing carbon dioxide restrictions to... Read More

Thin Fizzy

Like a modern-day Wyatt Earp, the European Commission has a reputation for legislating first, and talking later. A perfect example of that attitude is the Commission's approach to the issue of the so-called "obesity epidemic". Ever since completing their legislativ Read More

Google Is Right on China

Google has agreed to submit to censorship of search results in exchange for operating in China. The full scope of the censorship is a work in progress. Wired says: "To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit web content... Read More

Robin Hoodwinked

When it comes to the EU budget, Europe's leaders need to figure out whether they want to play Robin Hood or the Sheriff of Nottingham. That was the dilemma recently invoked by European Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberg as he criticized... Read More

Five Blunders, One Terrorist State

The U.S. and Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and their new elected leaders, Hamas, represent a five-fold error. That's a lot of mistakes to make about such an important topic and region -- Israel and America will have to do... Read More

Judging Google

So Google is cooperating with the Chinese, and there's been a firestorm of criticism. The Times of London observes: "Until now, Chinese net users who were blocked from accessing a site knew that the information was there and was being... Read More

Bertha's Muscle Car

This is the true story of two very famous names, and about a name that should be more famous: Bertha -- the mother of the road trip. By reliable estimates, there have been some 10,000 different makes of automobiles brought... Read More

How Many Iraqs?

Is the Iraq war and its insurgency-plagued reconstruction a singular event in U.S. foreign policy or a harbinger of future missions as the "generational challenge" of the war on terror unfolds? The administration has been asking itself the same question... Read More

The State of the Enemy

As President Bush prepares to give his annual address on the State of the Union (I predict it will be "strong") it is time to reflect on the state of our enemy. Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon argue in a... Read More

Joint African Force Nears Reality

NAIROBI - In the expansive, sun-baked desert of Sudan's western region of Darfur and across the border to Chad, the African Union (AU) estimates that 400,000 people have died since January 2003, when the continuing armed conflict started. In 36... Read More

Health Care Crisis? How About a Recreation Crisis?

When President Bush lays out his health care reform plan at the State of the Union address, the underlying premise will be that the nation spends too much on health care. That seems like a reasonable assumption. After all, national... Read More

My Kind of Economist

Even for someone as demonstrably weird as myself, it's rare that a speech at a development bank leads one to gales of laughter and a desire to leap onto a desk singing the praises of the man who gave it.... Read More

The Surprise of History

It is widely assumed that the concept of the End of History is derived from the nineteenth century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Francis Fukuyama in his best-selling book entitled, The End of History and the Last Man, has... Read More

The Relative Longevity of Science Frauds

The fabricated evidence on human stem cells published by Hwang Woo-suk and colleagues had a life shorter than two years as scientific fact. In contrast, the infamous hominid remains of Piltdown Man announced in 1912 stood as real for nearly... Read More

The Hamas Win Brings Clarity

Hamas takes power. Automatic rifles fire into the night. A collective sigh. Some say: "You wanted Democracy? ... You got it." Nevertheless, this is the situation that we're presented with. Indeed, this is the situation that the Palestinian people have... Read More

Susanne and the Baathists

Last weekend, the German news magazine Focus reported that part of the ransom money paid for German hostage Susanne Osthoff's release from Iraqi captivity was found on her person following her liberation. According to the Focus report, German embassy personnel... Read More

Spanish Inquisition

In his recent article "Damage to Catalonia", Luis Balcarce reports on the threatened coup this January by the immediately sacked army chief, General Mena, reflecting that the right wing Popular Party "applauded his words" and that anyway it's all the... Read More

How Wal-Mart Is Like Academia

Retail giant Wal-Mart has created its share of enemies for its competitive practices, low wage and benefits packages, and for putting mom-and-pop stores out of business. Some localities have successfully kept the company from building stores in their communities an Read More

The Sinn Fein-ication of Hamas

When is it appropriate to negotiate with terrorists and then discreetly facilitate their entry into government? Many people supported the Bush doctrine because it made clear that the answer to this question is; Never! In the aftermath of 9/11 the... Read More

Contract Killers

Can a gay-marriage ban affect people who are neither gay nor seeking to be married? This question has come up in Virginia, where such a ban recently sailed through the lower house of the state legislature and is one step... Read More

'If Nothing Else Remains of Humanity, Then Let This Be Our Monument...'

One night a group of highly advanced scientists from another galaxy abduct me in their space craft. They tell me that they have good news and bad news. The good news is that they have been so impressed by my... Read More

Stuck on 1968

"Worldviews are more a mental security blanket than a serious effort to understand the world." -- Bryan Caplan, The Logic of Collective Belief Most people who were liberals in 1968 still are. Liberals. In 1968. Recently, economist Jim Miller used... Read More

Not Sexy, But Necessary

TOKYO -- While most people think of NASA as an agency that puts men into space and robot vehicles on Mars, Earth observations have also been an important part of its claim to fame. Especially after James Hansen's 1988 congressional... Read More

The Elusive Xbox Price-Point

I want an Xbox 360. Unfortunately there is a shortage of the game console and it can currently only be found on eBay for well above its retail price. Meanwhile Microsoft is selling the console below cost in hopes of... Read More

Canadian Military, No Oxymoron

Take two apparently contradictory terms, and link them in a single phrase. The result is an oxymoron, a figure of speech yoking a perceived contradiction in terms. "Military intelligence" almost always rates a chuckle, as does "jumbo shrimp." A skilled... Read More

Uncle Miltie's Ugly Fed Lesson

"The right man in the right place at the right time." That's a quote from an important article in Newsweek by economist Milton Friedman in which he claimed that the person about to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board would be... Read More

The Elusive Xbox Price-Point

I want an Xbox 360. Unfortunately there is a shortage of the game console and it can currently only be found on eBay for well above its retail price. Meanwhile Microsoft is selling the console below cost [WHY ARE THEY... Read More

The Mis-Education of a Swedish Scientist

As I walked through the corridors of the chemistry department at Chalmers University of Technology one last time, minutes after having completed my last assignment leading to a Masters Degree in biotechnology, I noticed a poster on the door: "SUSTAINABLE... Read More

I'm Proud to Be a Coal Miner's Grandson

To hear Senators Byrd and Rockefeller speak, one would think that the coal mining industry in this country is one of the major sources of death in the US. They might be surprised to hear that, while 28 miners died... Read More

The Curse of Egoism

I've nearly finished reading Plutarch's Lives. It's even longer than it looks. Mine is the Modern Library Giant edition -- 1,300 unillustrated pages -- something like 700,000 words. I've owned this book for decades (the price printed on the dust... Read More

Judge's Dread No More

As I write, it appears Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito will be confirmed. Despite the fact that he was not as charismatic and adept with the judicial soundbites as had been Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Alito convinced most that... Read More

Merkel's Atlantic Crossing

Angela Merkel passed the acid test: her first US visit as German chancellor proved her ability to please disparate audiences without causing offense. With amazing speed Merkel established her authority in Germany by forging a national consensus on economic policy,. Read More

Of Patriotism and Puppet Shows

"You've figured out by now," said the defense attorney, interrupting my self-righteous lecture about victim's rights, "that our job is mostly putting on a puppet show for the goobers, haven't you?" He was one of those sly, razor-sharp criminal attorneys... Read More

The Diabetes Legend

"Insurers, for example, will often refuse to pay $150 for a diabetic to see a podiatrist, who can help prevent foot ailments associated with the disease. Nearly all of them, though, cover amputations, which typically cost more than $30,000." --... Read More

Europe's Torture Logic

On September 13, 2001, Le Monde -- that unassailable bastion of Frenchness -- ran the headline "We're All Americans." (Le Monde is an afternoon paper whose editions carry the following day's date; the attack on the United States happened too... Read More

Alternative Media Taking Off ... Again!

If the past few years have been the Years of the Blogs, this year is shaping up to be the Year of the Podcast, as I sort of predicted last year. Sure, podcasts have been around for a while. (I... Read More

Stick to the Knitting

In the 1982 business classic, "In Search of Excellence", Tom Peters deduced that "Stick to the knitting" (stay with the business you know) was a key management concept for success in business. Unfortunately, it never became a management standard in... Read More

Sponge Bob, Wide Pants?

Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series. The assault has begun: Consumer interest groups and others are on the road to outlawing food advertising, based on a scientifically flawed and politically motivated Institute of Medicine study. Led... Read More

Interview with Thomas P.M. Barnett

Max Borders: Joining me is Thomas P.M. Barnett, author of the new book, Blueprint for Action. It's a follow-up to the phenomenally successful The Pentagon's New Map. Welcome, Tom. Thomas Barnett: Thanks for having me. Borders: Before getting into the... Read More


If you're naturally incapable of turning off your BlackBerry, rest assured: the federal government may soon do it for you -- permanently. The ubiquitous handhelds find themselves in the eye of a legal maelstrom between their manufacturer Research-in-Motion (RIM), a Read More

'Nuts, Sluts and Losers' Grapple With New Media

Recent weeks have seen two spectacular downfalls in British politics, both of which have been marked by an excess of chutzpah. The tales are not of sex scandals and prostitutes, nor of arms deals and kickbacks. They are more mundane... Read More

'Open Federalism'

The businessman puts the cash in an envelope. He leaves it on the agreed upon restaurant table. Another man, a government bureaucrat, walks over and takes the money. Now it's his turn to deliver the goods: government contracts to the... Read More

Size Matters

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück is urging new EU member states to raise taxes, since their currently low rates have "nothing to do with fair tax competition", he says. This kind of grandstanding harkens all the way back to Medieval... Read More

Mixed Messages for Nepal

Kathmandu, NEPAL -- Given the political vulnerability and conflicts in Nepal, along with the weak performance of its underdeveloped economy, the country could soon become a failed state. Such a tragedy is unlikely to have the global impact of a... Read More

Carnivores vs. Herbivores

The consensus is that Latin American is turning radically to the left. Analysts anticipate that they will win in Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, and Nicaragua -- and will be confirmed in Brazil and Venezuela -- this year. The only exception is... Read More

Syria and Iran: The Perils of a Radical Bond

BEIRUT -- Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited his comrade in isolation, Syrian President Bashar Assad, during a two-day official visit to Damascus. Assad was surely pleased with the event, which allowed him to play up a rare alliance... Read More

Keeping up with Mr. Jones, CEO

A recently announced proposal by the SEC to curtail runaway CEO compensation by forcing increased corporate disclosure of total annual compensation is certainly well-intentioned. After all, the average large firm CEO now takes home $11.8 million in annual compensat Read More

Restrictive Uniforms

Perhaps the most encouraging trend in public education today is the growing willingness of educators and policymakers to embrace choices and customization, while turning away from the notion of one-size-fits-all corporatism that dominated 20th century school reform Read More

Contract Schmontract

In Max Borders' reply to my recent TCS article on "The Metaphysics of Conservatism", he appeals to the "contractarian" theory that morality rests on a tacit agreement between rationally self-interested individuals to abide by certain rules because it is to... Read More

A Truce, But Why?

History is what no one ever expects to happen, and last week it happened again. A tape was released, purportedly from Osama bin Laden, in which he offered a truce "under fair conditions" with the United States, in order to... Read More

Folk Beliefs Have Consequences

"the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute" -- Maureen Dowd, the New York Times Maureen Dowd's statement is Marxist. No, she did not advocate revolution by the proletariat. She did not say that we... Read More

Dr. Death and Mother Gaia

James Lovelock, godfather of the "Gaia" theory that the Earth's biosphere is a single living entity, has weighed in on the fate of mankind under the threat of global warming, as well as other environmental maladies. In a January 16... Read More

How Strange Can Life Be?

Peter D. Ward is a biologist with contrarian tendencies on various questions about extraterrestrial life. His 2000 book, Rare Earth, coauthored with astronomer Donald Brownlee, argued that complex life is probably uncommon in the universe, such that there is little Read More

The Doha Round: Bang or Whimper?

While there is a solid consensus that the December WTO Hong Kong Ministerial meeting produced only meager results, a cacophony of voices and opinions has emerged regarding the final outcome of the Doha Round -- and, indeed, how soon the... Read More

Figuring Out the Flu

The current outbreak of H5N1 avian flu in Turkey -- birds infected in more than 20 localities, about two dozen confirmed human cases and four deaths within about a month -- may be a kind of dress rehearsal for what... Read More

Mea Culpa

Boy do I feel stupid. In my article on Hillary Clinton's remarks about Bush running the House of Representatives as a plantation, I totally misrepresented the Senator's comments as if she had been talking about the White House, from which... Read More

Twin Anniversaries

At noon on January 20, 1981, Ronald Reagan took the oath of office as President of the United States. Minutes later, the remaining hostages who had been held captive for 444 days at the American embassy in Teheran were freed.... Read More

'Why Shouldn't We Believe That? We Are Americans'

I have written about Ronald Reagan before, here and here, so my admiration for the 40th president is no secret. But on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his inauguration, it seems fitting to take a look back at... Read More

Damage to Catalonia

Spain's Defense Ministry recently ordered the house arrest of a senior officer who warned that the armed forces might have to step in if the northeastern region of Catalonia went too far in its push for more self-government. Lieutenant General... Read More

More Euros for Terror

After a relatively quiet December, the New Year saw a massive upsurge of violence in Iraq, including a series of horrifying suicide bombings that took the lives of hundreds in a matter of days. As with every such spike in... Read More

Exposing Moral Free-Riders

Dear President / Prime Minister / Chancellor: You, along with the leaders of many other nations, have morally condemned the United States' treatment of our terrorist prisoners. It's true that we use much harsher interrogation techniques on terrorists than... Read More

From "The Beirut Spring" to Toppling Assad

Two events sparked Lebanon's 2005 "Beirut Spring," that "street revolution" of protests and pro-democracy demonstrations which ultimately forced Syria to end its two-decade-long military occupation of Lebanon. The first revolutionary fire-starter was Iraq's histori Read More

Figuring Out the Flu

The current outbreak of H5N1 avian flu in Turkey -- birds infected in more than 20 localities, about two dozen confirmed human cases and four deaths within about a month -- may be a kind of dress rehearsal for what... Read More

What the Monster Learned

Your name is Mark Hulett and you are a monster, even if you don't know it yet. Your judge's name is Edward Cashman and he is a different kind of monster, even if he doesn't know it yet. And your... Read More

The Scope of Collateral Damage

We seem to have missed out on a significant victory in our war against Islamic fascism this past weekend when the US fired a missile at a house in Pakistan in which the target, Al Qaeda's number two man, apparently... Read More

Freedom at Midnight

On August 14, 1947 -- the night before India was to celebrate its independence -- the country's first Prime Minister, Jarwaharlal Nehru, made one of the most dramatic speeches of the 20th Century. "Long years ago we made a tryst... Read More

Hillary Clinton and the 'White' House

*** Editor's note: There is a significant error in this article. The author and editors deeply regret the error. See the author's correction to this article and apology for the error here. Hillary Rodham Clinton recently said that the White... Read More

Needing the "Fox Effect"

Fox News has in well under a decade surpassed its competition in the US cable TV news industry. Analysis of this success has polarized debate among broadcasters in the US over whether and to what extent the mainstream media are... Read More

The World Is Round (It's Just Gotten Smaller)

CARTAGENA, Colombia -- After telling me the social history of her native town, and of her one stint in the United States (Miami, of course), Candelaria López, paused in the snip-snipping of my hair to utter a banality that I... Read More

Open Sesame!

Over at the new Cato Unbound, Jaron Lanier has written an essay on open and closed approaches on the Internet. I've actually responded over there with some further thoughts (as has Eric S. Raymond and, by the time you read... Read More

How Thinkers Influence Us

"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed, the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite... Read More

Rights Schmights

In "The Metaphysics of Conservatism" Ed Feser presents an annotated history of Western philosophy with the hope of guiding us to the idea of Natural Rights. He doesn't say that outright, but it's clear that Feser is concerned about the... Read More

How Many Divisions Has the Caliph?

Should the Caliphate be reunited? It depends on whom you ask. Osama Bin Laden is for such a reunification of all Muslims, which is surely enough to persuade most Americans to oppose it. But could the Caliphate be reunited? That... Read More

War on Foreign Speculators

For the last several years, the Korean government has been fighting the appreciation of its currency, the won. Despite their efforts, it recently passed the psychologically important 1000-won-to-the-dollar mark and is projected to eventually rise to around 950 to t Read More

Wage Against the Machine

Over the weekend, you may have seen the New York Times Magazine article called "What is a Living Wage?". Apart from not quite managing to spot that a "living wage" is an extraordinarily bad idea economically, one that actually works... Read More

The Enemy of Your Enemy Is Sometimes Your Enemy

BEIRUT -- Syria's exiled former Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam ratchets up his own personal war against Bashar Assad's ruling Ba'ath Party regime every couple of days. First he implicated Assad in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik... Read More

Suicide Girls

Americans woke one Tuesday morning recently to news that women had strapped bombs to themselves and detonated them inside the Baghdad police academy -- killing over two dozen people and injuring nearly forty. Later in the day, the Defense Department... Read More

Europe In Heat

Last week the European Commission gave some official guidance to member states drawing up national plans for allocating carbon dioxide emission allowances for 2008-2012 under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). According to the Commission this second trading per Read More

Do We Need the IMF?

One of the striking features of today's discourse on the international economy is the increased frequency with which existential questions are asked about the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Even at the highest official levels in the most developed countries, th Read More

The Great Train Razzia

Paris 5 January 2006 -- French opinion makers are against the clash of civilizations the same way they are against the war in Iraq: fervently sure of their own moral superiority. But reality has a way of its own, and... Read More

Japan's Constitutional Destiny

TOKYO -- Sixty years ago this March, General Douglas MacArthur asked a small group of Americans to embark on an audacious task -- to write a new constitution for Japan. What made the request so extraordinary was that he wanted... Read More

Nothing Trumps Some Things

Sometimes doing nothing has its own rewards. At the end of 2005, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) responsible for maintaining a national mortgage ma Read More

Misunderstanding Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is a movie that has received much praise and attention, and it is one that deserves it. Yet there is an aspect of the film that has gone unnoticed. Though it is often spoken of as a love... Read More

Armor All?

He fell thunderously, and his armor clattered upon him.-- The Iliad, Lattimore translation. Pfc. Steven Tschiderer fell thunderously when a high power round from a Dragonoff sniper rifle hit him in the chest. But he got right back up (see... Read More

When Less Really Is More

On January 6th, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a new regulatory initiative to "consider whether to propose amendments to the disclosure requirements for executive and director compensation, related party transactions, director independence and oth Read More

Liberals Should Know Better

This is the first of a series of essays written for liberals by a libertarian/conservative. That is, I would like liberals to read it, knowing that you will be inclined to disagree. Most of my friends are liberals. This series... Read More

Arik's Legacy

Even if Prime Minister Ariel Sharon survives his stroke, he is unlikely to head his newly established Kadima party in the March 28th parliamentary elections, or to lead Israel beyond that. With Kadima losing support, many of its founders are... Read More

Blame the Republithugs? Or Women?

You may have seen the idea being passed around recently that all this wonderful growth we're having in GDP and productivity is bypassing the common man, that the bosses are getting all the gains. It's put forward with such horror... Read More

Windy Publicity Stunt

You're the CEO of a large publicly traded company. Among the biggest costs at your nearly 200 retail stores, bakeries, and distribution centers is your annual electric bill. So what would happen if you held a press conference to announce... Read More

Good Riddance to Traditional Pensions

IBM announced last week that it would freeze the old-style pension plans it provides to more than 100,000 employees and instead offer an improved version of its 401(k) plan. This is no run-of-the-mill accounting change or cut-costing measure. It is... Read More

EPA's Faith-Based Pollution Standards

Editor's note: This is the second of two parts on EPA's new particulate matter standards (the first of which can be found here). There is no question that high levels of air pollution can kill. About 4,000 Londoners died during... Read More

Forget the WTO; Concentrate on Trade

The failure of WTO talks in Hong Kong wasn't difficult to predict. It has been obvious for some time that vested interests have hijacked the original agenda. Instead of free trade, influential voices are promoting a different message: poorer WTO... Read More

Yugos Happen: The Lure of Crap Cars

As the Detroit Auto Show focuses on the flash and glamour of a host of new offerings from auto manufacturers this week, it might be time for a little antidote to the hype. Here it is, a fun little book... Read More

The Metaphysics of Conservatism

Richard M. Weaver's Ideas Have Consequences, published in 1948, was among the founding documents of contemporary conservatism. The title phrase has become something of a cliché, and overuse has stripped it of the interesting meaning it once had. Nowadays most... Read More

What Is a Moderate Muslim?

As we enter 2006, Islamic radicalism remains no less a challenge to the world than it did four years ago. One of its chief aspects involves how non-Muslims, who typically have little knowledge of Islam, may accurately identify Muslim moderates.... Read More

Restoring 'The Medicine Chest of Europe'

Germany has a new chancellor, a new government, and a new opportunity to restart the engine of innovation that once positioned it as one of the most powerful and innovative economies in the world. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will... Read More

'Real Power Is Something You Take'

The controversy over President Bush's ordering the NSA to monitor phone conversations without a warrant is the latest in a long line of fights over executive authority during wartime. Congress has been increasingly frustrated at being cut out of the... Read More

Burned by Hot Buttons

Over Christmas, I reread several of Winston Churchill's speeches. Though over six decades old, Churchill's words still move, empower and inspire. Churchill mastered what rhetoricians call "emotional appeal and exhortation," yet he never ignored or glossed the harsh Read More

"The Lights Are Going Out All Over Europe"

Does Russia's confrontation with its European neighbors over gas exports signal a new cold war? During the early nineteen-eighties, the Reagan administration lobbied strongly against its NATO allies in Europe becoming dependent on gas supplied by the Soviet Union f Read More

Cyprus: NATO's Internal Cold War

If you live in the United States, the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is not a place you are ever likely to see. Most visitors are middle class tourists from Europe -- Britain, mainly -- who buy cheap package vacations at... Read More

Intelligent Design? Not So Much!

In a recent TCS column, Dominic Basulto took the debate over Intelligent Design on a wild ride into corporate governance. Yes, really. Seemingly every major media publication has already weighed in on what the teaching of intelligent design ID could... Read More

A Congress of Your Peers

Charles Madigan, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, recently asked his readers to send in suggestions for a new Newt Gingrich-style Contract with America. He was looking for ideas for changes in our political business-as-usual, changes that would improve the... Read More

Mining the Media Distortions Yields Black Gold

Here's a headline you aren't likely to see: "Sago mine tragedy defies improved mine safety trend under the Bush administration." Yet, the facts support it. Mining fatalities have dropped every year President Bush has been in the White House, according... Read More

After Sharon

In last Wednesday's Haaretz, political correspondent Yossi Verter noted that the re-emergence of corruption allegations against Ariel Sharon would not be enough to prevent him remaining Prime Minister. For this "Something very serious has to happen". That evening S Read More

Tony the Triumphant

Tony Blair, take a bow. Whatever the political problems you have faced personally with your support of the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, whatever the degree to which you have fallen out of favor with Labour Party activists thanks... Read More

Angie in Wonderland

In her first New Year's address to her fellow countrymen-and-women German chancellor Angela Merkel outlined her new year's resolution for Germany: Reclaim the country's top economic position in Europe within the next decade. In taking on this project, the new... Read More

Fueling Energy News

Carbon-based energy sources are what's 'in' for 2006. These classic fossil fuels, which many thought were on their way out courtesy of the Kyoto Protocol, have made a truly stunning comeback: indeed they dominate energy news at the dawn of... Read More

The Scarcity of Security

The insurance industry estimates that the U.S. cities facing the highest risk of terrorist attack are New York, Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco. Other cities at a high risk of attack are Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, Seattle, and Boston. All... Read More

Politics Makes For Bad Movies; Bad Movies Make For Worse Politics

Aristotle believed that art imitates life. Oscar Wilde responded that, no, life imitates art. I offer two modest corollaries: First, politics makes for bad art, especially bad movies. And second, bad movies make for worse politics -- and tragically bad... Read More

Fill the Moat, Lower the Portcullis

The issues surrounding the possibility of a pandemic of the H5N1 strain of avian flu are extraordinarily complex, encompassing aspects of medicine, epidemiology, virology, and even politics and ethics. Moreover, there remains tremendous uncertainty about critical f Read More

Ready? Or Not?

Is avian flu a threat? Yes. Is it a big or immediate threat? It's hard to say.Right now, there's no evidence of human-to-human transmission; people are dying, but they all seem to have gotten it from birds, though the fast-spreading... Read More

The World Bank Gets Introspective

Time magazine recently named Bill and Melinda Gates, along with pop star Bono, as "Persons of the Year". Through their foundation, the Gateses have been pouring billions into programs designed to help the health of residents in poor nations. But... Read More

"Real Wage" Slaves?

With the economy growing rapidly and the unemployment rate hovering around 5 percent, it's getting harder and harder for critics to find current economic statistics about which they can register concern. Gone are the days when pundits (or political candidates)... Read More

The View From Another Planet

For the second time in less than a year outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade I have been subjected to stinging attack from New Zealand's Trade Minister Jim Sutton. As with the first occasion I suspect that the... Read More

2006: Cheaper at the Pump?

2005 was a very expensive year for gasoline. And thanks to Washington, 2006 could be even worse. The feds did not waste any time, with two costly gasoline requirements having taken effect on January 1st. That's right. The year has... Read More

Fines and the Fraudsters

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced a new policy for deciding when it will impose monetary fines on corporations that violate the securities fraud rules. Under it, two principal considerations will go into the decision: "The presence or. Read More

Fines and the Fraudsters

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced a new policy for deciding when it will impose monetary fines on corporations that violate the securities fraud rules. Under it, two principal considerations will go into the decision: "The presence or. Read More

Gender Bender: Mind the Gaps

The Equal Opportunities Commission in the UK recently celebrated 30 years of its existence with a report on the still extant gap in pay between men and women. As a piece of politics it was highly effective, only 10 days... Read More

Getting Desperate Down Under

Things are not going well for the global warming alarmists. The first high level meeting of governments which account for the largest share of the world's economy, most of the world's population and most emissions of greenhouse gases will be... Read More

Gambling on the Future

LAS VEGAS -- This desert town has always been an oasis of dreams -- some good, some bad, but almost all about the same thing: hitting it big. It's a town where glamour meets gauche, where high-rollers mix with hicks... Read More

Quiz Show

Over at Reason Online, Matt Welch challenges his pro-war on terror libertarian friends to take his specially designed libertarian quiz. (Note: all of Welch's answers to his own questions are "no.") I have taken up his challenge and humored him... Read More

Microeconomic Microcosm

Every economics nerd in the country had to be ecstatic when they tuned in to watch NBC's "Deal or No Deal". After watching the show for all of two minutes I turned to my wife and exclaimed something about it... Read More

Tory Spilling

As we start the New Year, the new leader of Britain's Conservative Party, David Cameron, is changing policy at a blistering pace. His allies, friends and enforcers are insisting that anyone who resists change does not want to win elections.... Read More

The Rise of East Asia?

At the recent 11th ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Australia formally acceded to ASEAN's non-aggression pact called the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia. Almost overlooked, this event actually marked one of the decisive steps in the redefinition... Read More

The Permanent Campaign Is, Well, Permanent

A funny thing happened to the Bush Administration in 2005. It forgot the basics of politics today. Fresh off an impressive re-election, President Bush and his political advisors seemed to think that they were entering a period when playing politics... Read More

The West and the 'Hoax'ocaust

Today among populist Muslim leaders, there is a rallying cry in the making, and this rallying cry is a denial of the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews. First, the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shocked the world community by flatly... Read More

Kuttner v. Friedman; Hamlet Without the Prince

"A signature Friedman debating technique is to disclaim knowledge when conversation moves into an area where the facts are at odds with his theories." -- Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect If you want to read the debate between Robert Kuttner... Read More

Tapping Our Common Sense

The intense controversy swirling around recent disclosures that President Bush ordered warrantless wiretap surveillance of communications between foreign terrorists and their correspondents in the U.S. has -- as would be expected -- inflamed passions across the pol Read More

Decisions, Decisions

Nick Schulz: David Henderson is Professor of Economics at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterrey, California. And he's a research fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He was a senior economist with President Regan's Counsel of Economic... Read More

Bad Economics, Bad Movies

Even in Italy, Christmas spurred a cultural debate. Anti-capitalist activists complained that the traditional holiday spirit has been overtaken by commercial fervor. It's a time of year, they say, when American cultural imperialism reaches its peak. A prime example Read More

A Lose-Lose Compromise

Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz returned from the EU budget negotiations in Brussels at the end of December a proud and happy man, certain that he had worked out the best possible compromise and that the EU budget for the... Read More

Russia's Godfather Saga

"Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," was the lesson taught to Michael Corleone by his father Vito in the Godfather movies. It's something Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently also took to heart when he chose to keep the... Read More

The Slow Rot of Hosni Mubarak

CAIRO - To those who are easily and perhaps willingly fooled, Egypt's ruler Hosni Mubarak appeared to cry "uncle!" after sustained U.S. pressure to open up his one-party state and hold real elections. But the reforms are a farce --... Read More

Technology Is Amoral; People Are Another Story

The debate about anti-terrorism eavesdropping focuses public attention on the nexus between technology and politics and how the two affect our lives. The short answer is, power, including computing and telecom, can be a force for good -- or evil,... Read More

The Dog That Has Not Barked

As I write, 1,576 days have passed since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and still there has been no subsequent terrorist assault on American soil. Every day, 130 domestic and 118 foreign airlines serve the United States. Air traffic... Read More

The Materialism Fallacy

"most of a country's wealth is captured by what we term intangible capital...Intangible assets include the skills and know-how embodied in the labor force. The category also includes social capital, that is, the trust among people in a society and... Read More

Particle Civics

When the Environmental Protection Agency cuts allowable particle pollution levels more than 45 percent, you might expect commendations from environmentalists and the press. You'd be disappointed. EPA recently proposed reducing allowable daily levels of fine particu Read More

Kicking the Burke Habit

By now many of you have read Jeffrey Hart's controversial new essay ("The Burke Habit") on conservatism, and perhaps some of the blogosphere commentary surrounding it. Let me play the small child to Hart's naked Emperor, and blurt out the... Read More

The Mullahs' Quest, the Mullahs' Fear

Pity the United Nations and the European Union. The militant theocrats running Iran have ignored their pleas, protests, promises of aid and finger-wagging threats of economic sanction. Tehran's mullahs want nuclear weapons. Money, media appeals and political yammer Read More

Particle Civics

When the Environmental Protection Agency cuts allowable particle pollution levels more than 45 percent, you might expect commendations from environmentalists and the press. You'd be disappointed. EPA recently proposed reducing allowable daily levels of fine particu Read More

The Triumph of 'Angry and Stupid'

Starting the New Year off much like he ended the old one, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the liberal dubbed "the most popular and important force in the blogosphere" by the Weekly Standard, hurls invective at the Bush administration and those who... Read More

The Left's Intelligent Design Problem

Scion of America's greatest Keynesian, James K. Galbraith recently penned one of the most astonishing near misses in recent memory. In the December/January edition of Mother Jones Galbraith accuses free-market economists starting with Adam Smith of being Intelligen Read More

The Globalization Difference: The End of the Abusive State

Like a flashy celebrity caught smacking his ex-girlfriend in public, Russia's Vladimir Putin has had to retreat from his decision Sunday to blackmail Ukraine by cutting off the country's natural gas supplies. Following an outcry from West Europeans, Russia resumed. Read More

Meet Jacques Six-Pack

Why is so much wrong with the French? It's a question many people have been asking lately, and often with good reason. Free-marketeers complain about étatism and protectionism, making a WTO success in Hong Kong impossible and obstructing the modernization... Read More

Pipeline Politics

KIEV -- At 10 in the morning on New Year's Day the Russian gas giant and state monopolist Gazprom switched off its natural gas supplies to Ukraine. This astounding move came after a few hectic weeks of intense negotiations over... Read More

A Roadmap for Victory

Now that the Iraqi people have once again defied expectations by participating in yet another successful election, it has come time to determine how best to proceed in the next phases of reconstruction. The challenge in planning the next phase... Read More

Grey's Anatomy

Are people beginning to take the idea of healthy life extension seriously? I think that they might be. Last year, here at TCS, I interviewed Cambridge University researcher Aubrey de Grey. This year, he was interviewed by Sixty Minutes (You... Read More

Activist Shareholder Proposals, Totally Unfit

A group of Bally Total Fitness shareholders is pressing a proposal to amend Bally's corporate bylaws. The action would: Allow shareholders the right to remove the company's Chief Executive Officer and President by the affirmative vote of a majority of... Read More

Reviving Political Economy

"One day late in April 1986, Committee Chairman Bob Packwood announced a miraculous conversion to the cause of tax reform...Within weeks, the Senate had approved a tax bill that was stunning in its boldness and fealty to the principles of... Read More

The Scribe's Problem Child

Dear (if I may be so forward) Tim, I read and enjoyed your discussion of Wikipedia and Britannica, and let me say at once that I appreciate your appreciation of such virtues as the latter may have in your eyes.... Read More

Consider Yourself Warned

Ever since the obesity "epidemic" became a media staple, the public health community -- along with pundits on both sides of the Atlantic -- have been coming up with ever more alarming prescriptions for fixing this alleged health disaster. The... Read More

Activist Shareholder Proposals, Totally Unfit

A group of Bally Total Fitness shareholders is pressing a proposal to amend Bally's corporate bylaws. The action would: Allow shareholders the right to remove the company's Chief Executive Officer and President by the affirmative vote of a majority of... Read More

Ominous Prospects for an Aging Population

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal described "a growing backlash against the pharmaceutical industry that is already affecting the development and marketing of drugs in the U.S." The article also cites increasing emphasis by the FDA on drug... Read More

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