TCS Daily : August 2006 Archives

Democrats Reorganize for Victory

WASHINGTON (SatireNewsService) -- Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), flanked by former Senator Zell Miller (D-GA), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and other Democratic leaders announced today that the long awaited Democrat plan for victory in th Read More

Roadside Bombs: The Hydra Effect

Here is why we are not going to "win" the war against roadside bombs like the three that killed six American soldiers in and around Baghdad last weekend and have continued to take a steady toll throughout the Iraq conflict.... Read More

What's The Big Idea? Podcast with Frederick Turner (Part 2)

In part 2 of 2, Frederick Turner, author of Natural Religion, describes the spiritual journey that led him to believe that all religions could be true. To listen to the podcast, visit What's the Big Idea?.What's the Big Idea? is... Read More

Safety in the Driver's Seat

In a series of new ads for Volkswagen's Jetta, drivers merrily go about their way, yakking it up with passengers, when a terrible crash occurs. Air bags burst open. Passengers emerge relatively unscathed. And the tagline appears: Safe happens. They... Read More

The GOP's Fawlty Towers

In the late 1970s British cult comedy classic Fawlty Towers, John Cleese played Basil Fawlty who ran a dilapidated seaside hotel and was, quite possibly, the rudest man in England. In a particularly funny episode, The Germans, Basil is expecting... Read More

From Hezbollah to Hezbollost

Israel's and Hezbollah's War of the Rockets has entered a new phase: the War of the Wallets, the race to gain political capital by rebuilding southern Lebanon. Diplomats and military analysts continue to debate The War of the Rockets. The... Read More

Party Central

Sweden - where the ruling Social Democrats have been in power for 65 of the last 74 years - holds general elections in September. As the voting approaches, the need for economic reform in the Scandinavian country is becoming greater.... Read More

Iran's Ribbentrop

Since taking over from his predecessor Mohammad Katami and becoming the president of Iran's Islamic republic a year ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has put on quiet a show. Denies that the Holocaust ever happened and calls for Israel to be wiped... Read More

Is Dishonesty in Our Nature?

What magic is there in embryonic stem cells to make some scientists so economical with the truth and some science journals so credulous? Only a few months after the disgraceful Korean stem cell scandal, another scientist has again announced a... Read More

Profits or Pundits?

Who teaches you more, pundits or profits? That's the question I asked myself every time I saw a talking head on cable TV during the month that was the Israel/Hezbollah crisis. Head-after-head made case-after-case that it contained within in it... Read More

FX May Soon Be Short for Faux

I've written columns on news fakery the past two weeks. In response to last week's column, where I talked about video fakery, reader Jim May emails: "In a recent TCS Daily column, you wrote the following: "'So far, video-photoshopping isn't... Read More

Bipolar Disorder: America's Schizophrenic View of Warfare

Our attempts to compare every conflict to World War II or Vietnam hinder our ability to fight different kinds of wars, including the current one. In the pantheon of American warfare, no conflict garners as much popular admiration as the... Read More

Au Revoir, Les Entrepreneurs

European media reported earlier this month that the French economy had grown by 1.1 percent in the second quarter of 2006, the biggest quarterly jump in five years for the country. Could this mean that France has become more attractive... Read More

Wal-Mart and Toddler Economics

Further to hackney a hackneyed word of the blogosphere, there seems to be something of a 'kerfluffle' over WalMart whirling through the commentariat -- a minor storm making the waves a little choppier than they normally are. Sebastian Mallaby in... Read More

An Innovation Lie...

On August 7,, the investigative journalism venture launched earlier this year by billionaire bad boy Mark Cuban, claimed its first victim: Xethanol. Apparently, Xethanol was going around telling investors that its alternative fuel solution had the p Read More

Europe's Munich Moment

In March 2003, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the current French Prime minister, Dominique de Villepin -- then his country's foreign minister -- condemned the Coalition of the Willing in these words to the Security Council: "The United... Read More

Diplomatic Impunity

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov openly told Pravda in 2004: "Russia's policy is neither pro-Arab nor pro-Israel. It is aimed at securing Russian national interests." These include earning money through arms sales, distancing Russia from unpopular Western pol Read More

America: More Like Sweden Than You Thought

One of the joys of my working life is that I get to read papers like "The State of Working America" from the Economic Policy Institute. They are, as you may know, the people who urge that the USA become... Read More

Hit or Missile

North Korea's July missile volley raised legitimate concern about American vulnerability to ballistic missile and cruise missile attack. Hezbollah's rocket barrage of Israel demonstrated that terrorist organizations (non-state actors) can acquire and use missile sy Read More

Hurray for Frank Quattrone; Rotten Tomatoes for the Media

Hurray for Frank Quattrone. It has to be said. The evidence seems to suggest that he was innocent. And even in the unlikely case that he was guilty, the prosecutor never made the case beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard... Read More

Time Bomb

BERLIN -- Only three weeks after a foiled terrorist plot Germany has grasped the full scale of the disaster it had avoided by mere accident. The bombs planted on two trains in Western Germany could have brought a massacre on... Read More

Give Japan a Seat

TOKYO -- What do Estonia, Latvia and Uganda all have in common? They all received their first ministerial level visits from a Japanese official last month.The visits mark the beginning of a new charm offensive aimed at improving links with... Read More

Categorical Errors

Pluto is no longer a planet. That Pluto was a planet turns out to have been a matter of great public interest, if the media coverage of its demotion is a fair indication. It was on the front page of... Read More

Don't Give Peacekeepers a Chance

If the Bush administration is successful in cajoling major European nations into contributing peace keepers to southern Lebanon, it will have dealt a serious, perhaps fatal, blow to its efforts to peacefully curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions. The Bush administration Read More

Things Worth Investigating

When it comes to fossil fuels, the political class (mostly, but not entirely, on the left) has developed a case of "investigitis." We're seeing this dynamic reappear along with the latest energy problem -- the BP oil pipeline shutdown. Calling... Read More

Bill and Karl Take a Walk in the Woods...

Two aging Baby Boomers meet for a walk in the woods -- a rambly joint stroll at an undisclosed location. The two men have long been recognized as the godfathers of their respective political parties; they share the same mystique... Read More

Assessing Eliot

In November, Eliot Spitzer likely will be elected as New York's next governor. Whether that will be good news for New Yorkers is perhaps debatable, but it's great news for America's economy. It would be unfair to call Washington Post... Read More

Nippon's Bad Idea

One of the surprises about Japan's economic success in the late twentieth century was its ineptness in trade policy. It was the world's number three trading power in the eighties, yet exerted very little influence in the GATT or its... Read More

What's The Big Idea? Podcast with Frederick Turner (Part 1)

Science doesn't just coexist with faith -- it may actually support the existence of religion. So says Frederick Turner, author of Natural Religion, who argues that the universe is just weird enough to support a supernatural explanation. To listen to... Read More

Beyond Farce

The following is not the outline of a rejected screenplay by an aspiring Hollywood writer trying to outdo 24. Nor is it product of a freshman political science student's imagination, concocting a term paper after a weekend of partying. It... Read More

Exchanges of Violence

JERUSALEM -- Israel's war in Lebanon was unlike any other in history. The uniqueness was a product not just of Hizbollah's ability to fire some 4000 katyusha rockets over the heads of hapless Israeli "defenders", but also because it was... Read More

No, Rice Krispies Aren't Bio-Toxic

If you listen to environmental activists these days, you might think that snap, crackle, and pop coming from your Rice Krispies is the sound of impending doom. This week they're trying to scare consumers about bioengineered, or genetically modified, rice.... Read More

Three Can't-Miss School Reforms

As we approach the start of another school year, it might be good to think about school reform. What follows are some ideas that do not require government action to be implemented. They only require common sense. External Examinations Teachers... Read More

Balkan Tiger

The fountain of youth found in Macedonia? So claims travel writer Richard Bangs. If true, it is surprising that rejuvenation of the Macedonian economy has been so elusive for so long. In fact, the arrival of Macedonian independence in the... Read More

Tax for Thee, Not for Me

Looking out of the Long Gallery at Worstall Towers, surveying the rolling acres, I can see that the nights have started to draw in. It is also an even numbered year, so that must mean there is an election in... Read More

What's Needed at FDA

Even in the dog days of August, a lot of attention has been paid to Senate confirmation hearings for FDA commissioner nominee Andrew von Eschenbach. Most of it has focused on a hold placed on his confirmation by two Democratic... Read More

Txt Msg Tax = :-(

In May, a senior centre-right French MEP named Alain Lamassoure suggested that the EU should levy a tax on text messages (SMS) and email messages to shore up the future financing of EU programs. The suggestion came at the joint... Read More

Transforming India's Mental Landscape

India recently celebrated the 59th anniversary of its independence. That a nation with so much regional, ethnic and religious diversity could hold together as a peaceful democracy would have seemed astonishing in 1947, when there was no precedent for an... Read More

Sane Mutiny: The Coming Populist Revolt

"British holidaymakers staged an unprecedented mutiny -- refusing to allow their flight to take off until two men they feared were terrorists were forcibly removed. The extraordinary scenes happened after some of the 150 passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight ove Read More

Forget the World Bank, Try Wal-Mart

Between 1990 and 2002 more than 174 million people escaped poverty in China, about 1.2 million per month.[1] With an estimated $23 billion in Chinese exports in 2005 (out of a total of $713 billion in manufacturing exports),[2] Wal-Mart might... Read More

The Miracle of Cuban Healthcare?

"Newsnight", as the cognoscenti of British politics know, is one of the most popular and highly regarded news programs in Great Britain. Airing on BBC2 every weeknight at 10.30, the program is known for its hard-hitting interviews and thorough, if... Read More

UNIFIL Unfulfilled

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was established in 1978 "for the purpose of confirming the withdrawal of Israeli forces, restoring international peace and security and assisting the Government of Lebanon in ensuring the return of its effective authority... Read More

The IMF's Asian Challenge

What a difference ten years make to the global economic landscape. Almost a decade ago, Asia was engulfed in a major economic and financial crisis that forced many Asian countries to go as supplicants to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).... Read More

When Bad Decisions Go Good

When is a bad decision good? When it yields unexpectedly good returns. On Thursday, in a Detroit federal court, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor issued a disturbing and flawed ruling that essentially struck down the Bush administration's Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) Read More

21st Century Politics as YouTube Politics

Politicians used to rely on press secretaries to persuade people in the media to print good news about them, and bad stuff about their opponents. They still have press secretaries, but increasingly they're bypassing the middlemen and going directly to... Read More

Risk-Terrorism Analysis

Reason magazine science correspondent and TCS Daily contributor Ron Bailey argues that our fear of terrorist attacks is irrational, because you're more likely to die of a car accident, drowning, fire, or murder. He concludes that, "with risks this low... Read More

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor... Arguments

Tip to masochists: if you want a lot of hate mail, write pro-immigration articles for conservative publications. I'm decidedly not a masochist, but I do believe that when they throw lemons is the best time to open a lemonade stand.... Read More

The Problem of Saints, The Hope of Freedom

"Yet this much we know with certainty: The desire for freedom resides in every human heart. And that desire cannot be contained forever by prison walls, or martial laws, or secret police. Over time, and across the Earth, freedom will... Read More

Passport Puzzle

At a recent technology conference in Las Vegas, Lukas Grunwald, a German security expert, showed how a few hundred euros combined with some publicly available information helped him clone a German electronic passport that had been specially designed to eliminate... Read More

The AIDS Boomerang

TORONTO -- Remember the 60s song, "I fought the law and the law won"? Forty years after the tune came out, people are still humming it, at least I am -- although I've changed the lyrics a bit to sum... Read More

Direkte Patienteninformation: Mündigkeit als Basis eines reformierten

Die Gesundheitsreform ist in aller Munde. Wie viele Jahre nun schon laboriert das Gemeinwesen um die für jeden einzelnen im Grunde eminent wichtige Frage. Und leider wurde der Einzelne dabei bisher außer Acht gelassen. Der informierte Bürger ist am besten... Read More


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'Cane Mutiny

What a difference one year makes. With the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall (August 29, 2005) rapidly approaching, who would have predicted that we would now be in the middle of a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season? Weren't the global warming... Read More

Al-Manar: Beacon of Hate

Hezbollah has long used the satellite broadcaster Al-Manar as a medium for winning the hearts and minds of their supporters inside Lebanon and throughout the Muslim world. Al-Manar, literally "the beacon" in Arabic, is the official mouthpiece for Hezbollah --... Read More

The FDA's Marijuana Problem

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a marijuana problem. On April 20 of this year, the FDA rejected marijuana for medical uses. The FDA said, "no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United... Read More

9/11 Myths, Debunked

Trust that conspiracy theorists will attempt to exploit the fifth anniversary of 9/11 to spread sensational claims and sensational lies. Moreover, it's a fair bet sensationalist media will collaborate, not because the squawk show host or headline scribbler believes Read More

The Red Wines of Summer

Soda pop shapes the palate of most Americans long before we taste our first wine. We're used to sweet, cold, fizzy drinks. Not surprisingly, we usually cut our wine teeth on wine coolers or, at best, intensely sweet White Zinfandel.... Read More

Airbus Deflates

How the aircraft-building industry has changed. Consider the situation of Airbus Industrie, the European consortium, which as recently as the end of last year was beating its American rival Boeing. For five years in a row Airbus had outsold Boeing... Read More

What's the Big Idea? Podcast with Ramesh Ponnuru

Guest Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of National Review, discusses his new book, The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life, in which he argues that even the experts misunderstand the implications of... Read More

A Taxing Agenda

To paraphrase Marx and Engels: a specter is haunting the Bush Administration, the specter of a nonexistent popular domestic agenda. Given the Administration's dramatic failure to push for Social Security reform last year, it would seem that it has shied... Read More

The Puzzle of New War

What is "New War?" We have many ready monikers: irregular war, asymmetrical war, unconventional war, guerilla war, 4th generation war, anti-terrorism, and counter-insurgency. All of them miss the mark. They describe what is new as new fighting features: the new... Read More

A Preference for Ignorance

"When Consumer Reports rates cars, they drive them; [U.S. News and World Report] does the equivalent of measuring the amount of steel used in cars, rather than their performance." -- Richard Vedder In the fields of health care, education, and... Read More

The New Crusaders

The free world is being confronted by crusaders. The American Heritage dictionary defines a crusade as "a holy war undertaken with papal sanction" or "a vigorous concerted movement for a cause or against an abuse". The suicide bombers in Iraq,... Read More

Policy Vacuum

There is one player missing from the stage. While the "international community" talks long and loud about Israel's "disproportionate" response (now known to have been invented or, at least, exaggerated by the media) and the need for a cease-fire, without... Read More

YouTube Politics

The Washington Post ignited a firestorm Tuesday with a front page report that Virginia Senator George Allen, a highly touted 2008 presidential hopeful, twice called a cameraman for Democrat James Webb, who was of Indian descent, "Macaca" while ribbing him.... Read More

Saying No to 'Climate Porn'?

In the movie Goodbye Lenin, a son works hard to protect his ailing mother from the fact that Communist East Germany disappeared after 1989. In an analogy with sinister undertones, global-warming pessimists advocating "climate-friendly behaviour" (CFB) are now being Read More

How Green Is Your Church?

In the first chapter of the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve are commanded to "tend and keep" the Garden of Eden, as well as to "fill the Earth", and "subdue" and "have dominion" over the creation. It is clear... Read More

What Is 'Islamofascism'?

"Islamic fascists" -- used by President George W. Bush for the conspirators in the alleged trans-Atlantic airline bombing plot -- and references by other prominent figures to "Islamofascism," have been met by protests from Muslims who say the term is... Read More

Unfrozen Caveman Voter

How many times recently have you been in virtually any social situation -- business lunch, gathering with family, summer barbecue with friends -- and when the war has come up in conversation, one of the following statements is made: "It's... Read More

British Revolution

Last month, Andrew Mitchell, Britain's shadow secretary for international development, proposed a Pan-African Trading Area (PATA) that would see a reduction and, hopefully, elimination of import tariffs between African states. PATA is a good idea, but it would requ Read More

Terrorists Win - What Next?

The Second Battle of the Litani (following our Civil War practice of naming engagements after the strategically significant waterways along which they are fought) is over. With a ceasefire called for by the unanimously-passed United Nations Security Council Resolut Read More

Orange Revolution, Still Ripe

In the early morning hours of August 3, following a four-month failure to form a majority government in the parliament, Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko announced to the nation that his party, Our Ukraine, will sign a power-sharing agreement with the... Read More

Grandma Shrugged

Today, in what was once the freest nation on earth, we are regulated from stem to stern. I'm not just talking about high market-cap corporations coughing up millions just to comply with the latest Byzantine addition to the Federal Register.... Read More

Another Word War

Mahmood Ahmadinejad, President of the Republic of Iran, has a blog. The day draws ever more nigh when I shall be the last human without a blog, as I am now, so far as I can tell, the only one... Read More

Don't Trust If They Won't Verify

Once again, fake news is in the news, as it turns out that many moving stories of carnage in Lebanon were not only moving, but, well, fake. This raises major questions about the future of the news business, and offers... Read More

A Sheep in Wolf's Clothes

The EU Presidency is by far the most honest expression of the European Union's real nature. First, given that it hardly matters who presides over the entity ruled by an unelected and largely unaccountable European Commission - the EU Presidency... Read More

Sanity Returns

Sanity is finally beginning to prevail among central bankers in Asia. After keeping their benchmark interest rates artificially low, they are beginning to anticipate that their domestic monetary policies were adding to a tsunami of excess global liquidity. At last, Read More

Why Israel Lost

A front page story in Monday's Washington Post declared Hezbollah "The Best Guerrilla Force in the World" and noted that, "As the declared U.N. cease-fire went into effect Monday morning, many Lebanese -- particularly among the Shiites who make up... Read More

The Jihadi Big Tent

Three pro-terror demonstrations held this past Saturday -- at the White House in Washington, D.C., in San Francisco and Los Angeles -- provide insight into the global networks that support jihadi Islamic fascists. On the same day, pro-Hezbollah, anti-U.S. and... Read More

Consistent, Yes. And Foolish?

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." If this is true in politics, many of my fellow American Jews have smaller minds than they think. Why so pessimistic? Because the recent conduct of... Read More

News You Can Abuse

The venerable Reuters news agency was caught last week publishing a faked photo. There are at present several disturbing things about the incident and what it means for the future of news. First, it wasn't the first time that such... Read More

A Liberal, Radical and Progressive Manifesto

It's difficult to convey the shock with which a modern American liberal will greet Deepak Lal's new book, Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-First Century. Lal effectively points out that just about every goal... Read More

Lords a-Leaping

"The £14 million in secret loans was known only to Mr. Blair, Lord Levy and Matt Carter, the general secretary of the Labour Party at the time" -- The Times, July 16 2006 Sometime before the end of the year,... Read More

Should Taipei Go FTA Shopping?

The economics focus in the latest issue of The Economist is on how Mongolia is the only WTO member not yet in some form of bilateral or regional free trade arrangement. The author analyses the consequences of a further proliferation... Read More

Why Political Heretics Are Worse Than Infidels

Joe Lieberman is a heretic. Please don't get me wrong. Nobody, not even Lieberman's enemies, questions the Connecticut Senator's abiding Orthodox Jewish religious faith. But as Tuesday's primary election shows, a majority of Nutmeg State Democrats see their senator Read More

Gitmo into Gold

WASHINGTON -- Most readers of this column have never heard of Puno; quite a few have heard of Guantanamo Bay. Puno, a poor region in southeastern Peru, could become an economic powerhouse and stem the politics of resentment that is... Read More

Killing Us Softly

The news that Scotland Yard managed to foil a terrorist attack that would have conceivably dwarfed the 9/11 attacks is not quite as good it might first appear. Certainly, the prevention of "mass murder on an unimaginable scale" is something... Read More

Genes and Juice

Two major scandals in the run-up to this week's European athletics championships in Gothenburg , Sweden, have reignited the debate over doping in sports. American sprinter Justin Gatlin (holder of the men's world record in the 100 metre sprint) and... Read More

French Duplomacy

Franco-American co-sponsorship of a UN Resolution aimed at a cessation of hostilities in Lebanon was hastily, or hopefully, interpreted as a sign of newfound harmony. That entente is beginning to look like a fragile bridge stretched across a widening chasm.... Read More

Alarmist Tsunami

Across Asia Pacific his week, there was a surge of global warming hype. The novelty for new alarmism goes to the English-language Viet Nam News which prominently carried a feature by a Reuters writer in Oslo about Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a... Read More

Two Parties, Like it or Not

Every so often I read that the Democrats are about to implode, how various rifts will tear the Republicans asunder, that the Libertarians will emerge as a competitive party, or about the emerging Independent majority. These are all fascinating as... Read More

What's the Big Idea? Podcast with Martin Fridson

This week host Nick Schulz interviews guest Martin Fridson, author of Unwanted Intrusions: The Case Against Government Intervention in the Marketplace. To listen to the podcast, visit What's the Big Idea?.What's the Big Idea? is brought to you in conjunc Read More

The Enemy Within

Earlier this year, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W. Bush talked trade in addition to their higher-profile nuclear discussions -- and both seem keen to continue lowering trade barriers between the two nations. But as with many... Read More

Summer Opportunities

July 2006 may prove to be a signal, era-shaping month in 21st-century history. Sensationalists, fear mongers, defeatists and terrorists prefer predictions of catastrophe and disaster. On the surface, last month looks like a violent disaster, an August 1914, with th Read More

Saving California From Californians

Some aspects of our political and personal lives -- zoning, city planning, traffic laws, noise ordinances, conformity in architecture, composition of school boards, and so forth -- can effectively be determined at a local level. Arguably, central authorities at the Read More

The Age of Post-National Warfare

"Look," he says, "I'm sorry for reminding you of this, but if we still had laws, the Mafia would be a criminal organization." "But we don't have laws," she says, "so it's just another chain."-- Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash In... Read More

Going Ballistic

In the latest issue of Russia's leading defense weekly, Voenno-Promishlenniy Kur'er, Russia's senior military officer accuses American officials of seeking "absolute military superiority" over Russia and China by pursing unlimited ballistic missile defense (BMD) pr Read More

Photoshop of Horrors

The recent discovery by the Blogosphere that Reuters had doctored a photograph taken in Beirut throws the spotlight once more on the thorny issue of ideological bias, intentional or otherwise, in the mainstream media (MSM). By refusing to investigate the... Read More

Independent's Day

Though his "Joe-mentum" -- translating into a furious final ten days of campaigning -- closed the gap from the double-digit lead that Ned Lamont held in some polls of only a week ago, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman has nevertheless become... Read More

Prayer Conditioning

How appropriate that the ailing Fidel Castro managed to intrude upon a fairly heavy news cycle, since the numerous power outages and rolling blackouts caused by the current heat wave have left so many American cities resembling Havana. The Cuban... Read More

Future's Bright, Gimme My Shades

I study nuclear science/I love my classes/I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses...--Timbuk 3 The same concept -- perhaps aside from the loving the classes part -- could be said for NASA's STEREO mission, which is currently expected... Read More

Furst in His Class

Editor's Note: Alan Furst is a master of the historical spy novel. His latest work is The Foreign Correspondent, available now from Random House. TCS Daily's Josh Manchester recently caught up with Furst. Josh Manchcester: Are you an historical novelist... Read More

Spy vs. Shy

"War is never the answer." That's the official motto of the world's left wing in response to the war on terror's military option. True to form, the Italian left has always advocated a "non-military" approach to the war on the... Read More

Revolution a-Brewing

Earl's Court in London has seen many a famous rock and pop gig. Last week, the venue hosted the Great British Beer Festival, an event I visit every year to sample beers from all over the UK and beyond. But... Read More

Radical Ambitions

Have you noticed that the leaders of the global NGO movement, such as WWF and Oxfam, no longer demonize the World Bank as a tool of the free market? They reckon they have brought it to heel. Given how James... Read More

Natural Born Snoozer

Go see "World Trade Center," the new Oliver Stone movie. There, I said it. I don't want anyone to think I'm in any way disrespecting the heroes of 9-11 -- the brave men and women who went running up the... Read More

China's Interesting Journey

If China really wants to be viewed as the second great global power, it should make its currency convertible, and let its value be determined by the market. It should rein in its exporters from gaining an unfair edge. It... Read More

'The Rest' Test for the West

More and more people are asking if the Israeli-Hezbollah war is really a proxy war between the U.S., representing the West, and an Iran-Syria axis representing a devil's handshake between two factions of Islamofascism. The short answer is yes, but... Read More

The Pelican, Briefly

You know how words, phrases, images, half-formed ideas, flit through your mind as you skim more or less idly through your favorite websites? Mostly they go as quickly as they come, leaving no trace, but occasionally something sticks just long... Read More

Hate to Say We Told You So, But...

While events make it seem like an age ago, it was in fact exactly one month ago that TCS published a column whose prescience and eerie timing surprised even to us, its authors. In The Hezbollah Nexus?, we reminded readers... Read More

4x4 Class Struggle

Crusades usually start with a peace declaration. Here's what the Italian Minister of Environment Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio had to say recently on the subject of sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and whether they should be allowed to circulate in Italian cities: "We... Read More

China's Interesting Journey

If China really wants to be viewed as the second great global power, it should make its currency convertible, and let its value be determined by the market. It should rein in its exporters from gaining an unfair edge. It... Read More

Morality and the Underdog

When it's neither sad nor infuriating, it's at least amusing to see the UN and western media scramble to rationalize a moral defense of Hezbollah in the present Lebanese crisis -- and to mount ever more convoluted rationales for moral... Read More

Wait Till Next Year, and the Year After and the Year After ....

Not a day goes by without some trade official or politician stating he is committed to salvaging an outcome in the WTO Doha Development Agenda negotiations, and that such an outcome is possible this year. But nothing is going to... Read More

One Party America?

I spent a good portion of my life working to eliminate or replace one-party systems in the world. So it is with mixed emotions I watch the Democratic Party continue to lop off its nose in order to spite its... Read More

Disaster Rules

Glenn Reynolds has presented an important challenge when it comes to disaster relief. "It does seem clear to me that we need an approach that's more flexible, and more capable of weighing information from numerous sources in a hurry. Any... Read More

Culture and the Demographic Crisis

A study of history may cast some light on the present demographic crisis in Europe and the developed world -- in which several nations have fallen below the population replacement rate -- and on the current controversy over immigration here... Read More

Friedman's Lessons for Europe

Milton Friedman - Nobel economist, arch-monetarist, barely five feet tall but still utterly ebullient - turned 94 this month. His thinking has a lot to tell Europeans about how to run their governments and their economies. It was Friedman who... Read More

No Justice, No Peace?

"No peace without justice" has become more than a pious mantra in contemporary international relations. Since the end of the Cold War, the establishment of mechanisms for legal accountability has been part and parcel of the global conflict resolution toolkit.... Read More

That 70s No-Show

There's a great scene in Annie Hall in which characters played by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are talking to their respective therapists. It takes place in split-screen. Both psychiatrists ask "How often do you two make love?" Keaton's character... Read More

Intelligent Debate

Many evolutionists long regarded it as counterproductive to engage in public discussions and debates about Intelligent Design (ID). Doing so, they worried, would give ID publicity and respect that it did not deserve. Plus, it was a waste of time.... Read More

Crackberry Crunch

When the state engineered new product manufacture controls I knew my days of (occasional) Liquid Paper and felt-tip sniffing were over. I let that one go. But the growing belief that most of us may soon need rescuing from our... Read More

"To Hulk With Them" Conservatives

I have found the solution to all our problems in Iraq, and his name is Saddam Hussein. He's tanned, rested, and ready. He's got a plan to restore order in Iraq. He knows how to deal with insurgents. He's got... Read More

What's the Big Idea? Podcast with Deepak Lal on Globalization

This week's guest is UCLA professor Deepak Lal, author of Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century, who explains why it's possible to embrace globalization without losing one's soul.  Professor Lal, while ackn Read More

Divided We Stand

The current reconstruction effort in Iraq seeks to keep the current boundaries of Iraq whole. But by keeping Iraq whole, the United States may in fact be hindering a successful reconstruction effort and needlessly delaying the achievement of an honorable... Read More

Oligopolies of Force

"I don't see a state of Lebanon surviving with a militia next to an army. That's it."- Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt As Lebanon is pounded by Israeli air strikes and as Hezbollah uses Lebanese soil as a staging ground... Read More

Don't Look Now, But the World Economy Is Booming

The world economy is booming. To see the evidence, check out the back page of The Economist. There is a column showing the GDP growth rates of 27 developing countries. In a typical copy from the late 1990s as many... Read More

Europe Slips a Disc

The DVD standards war between Sony's Blu-Ray and Toshiba's HD-DVD has entered a distinctively European chapter after the European Commission decided to weigh in on the issue. Last week the EU's executive branch launched an antitrust probe that is to... Read More

"Water, Water Everywhere, But..."

As Summer temperatures are set to be some of the hottest on record, and much hyperbole is written about whether this is influenced by man's activities, Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjorn Lomberg, is about to set off to Australia to promote his... Read More

Low Fidelity

Whether Fidel Castro's condition is terminal or not, Cuba's transition has begun. Nobody at this stage knows what kind of transition it will be or how long it will take, but the symbolism of Fidel Castro handing over power to... Read More

Bush's Geneva Turn

The Pentagon decision on July 7, 2006 to adopt a key article of the four Geneva Conventions for Guantanamo Bay detainees is an important step -- but perhaps not for the reasons one would expect. For one, the order points... Read More

Systems Breakdown

A couple of years ago, I wrote here: I had a worrisome conversation the other day with a former administration official about homeland security. My complaint was that things remain futile and stupid, with airport security checks confiscating tweezers and... Read More

Revisiting WARNO

"Whither Deterrence?" That's an interesting question to ask at a time when undeterrable missiles, thousands of them, have been raining down on Israel from Lebanon. Of course, the question of deterrence -- or not -- has, shall we say, implications... Read More


Referee decisions always seems to be in the news. Disputes over the calls made by umpires, linesmen, or refs in the game of your choice have surely been part of the conversation since the beginning. But just as surely, the... Read More

War Crime and Punishment

Last night, I awoke haunted by images of children's bodies being pulled from the rubble in Lebanon. I couldn't sleep for hours, thinking about the brutality of war and responsibility for the carnage. My heart ached with grief. In any... Read More

Profiles in Surrogacy

Ever since Hitler used the civil war in Spain in the mid to late 1930s to test his aircraft, tanks, and blitzkrieg tactics, dictators have looked for surrogates to try out options for aggression. Arguably Josef Stalin used the Korean... Read More

Car Wars

What if I said you could save $1000-$2500 the next time you buy a car? What if I told you that you didn't have to haggle with a lot lizard in the process? In fact, you could use the Internet... Read More

Only the Strong Survive

[Note: this is the fourth article in a series on potential reforms to the patent system. The first three installments can be found here, here, and here.] In the previous episode of this series, I examined a few common-sense strategies... Read More

Poisoning Shareholders

"Don't mess with markets" is sound advice for anyone, most especially politicians trying (on those rare occasions) to make the world a better place. "Don't listen to them" is also useful, especially for politicians being told how to make the... Read More

Indiscriminate Pacifism

Rebuffed at the recent Rome Conference, a cluster of European nations, allied with the UN and the Lebanese government, are still pushing aggressively for an immediate ceasefire on the Israeli-Lebanese front. To stop the fighting, they brandish the pure white... Read More

Ice, Ice Baby

The Arctic is becoming a place of pilgrimage for those who want to raise awareness about global warming. David Cameron, leader of the UK Conservative Party, recently made a high-publicity trip north, negotiating the ice in a dog-sleigh to show... Read More

Yes NATO... But NAATO?

TOKYO -- Three years ago there were reports of discussions between US and Indian officials about the possibility of creating an Asian version of NATO. Indeed, Professor Madhav Nalapat, an influential adviser to the Indian government who was reported to... Read More

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