TCS Daily : September 2006 Archives

Zombies Always Win

The zombies always win. That's why they're the scariest monsters of all. What you are, the dead were; what the dead are, you will be. Look at the bones and the rot and realize: you're looking at yourself. Death eats... Read More

The Sword Is Mightier Than the Pen

The demonstrators had extraordinary moral credibility. Last week in Kigali, Rwanda, survivors of the 1994 Rwanda genocide called on the United Nations and world leaders to act to end the continuing genocide in Sudan's western Darfur region. "We survivors stand... Read More

An Intelligent Reading of the National Intelligence Estimate

Reports in the Sunday editions of the New York Times and Washington Post that an April National Intelligence Estimate concluded that the Iraq War has increased the danger to the United States from terrorists created a media feeding frenzy. Critics... Read More

Taxi Cab Obsessions

Early last spring, I invited my new girlfriend to Rome for an extended week-end. For Scandinavians still trapped in a six months long hibernation, being able to sip campari and orange juice on the sidewalk in March sunshine is a... Read More

From Checklist to Checkmate

The Transportation Security Administration is partially lifting its ban on liquids brought on board aircraft. The AP reports: "We now know enough to say that a total ban is no longer needed from a security point of view," said Kip... Read More

From Far Left to Libertarian

The question of how I became a libertarian ultimately is a question about how I changed my mental model of the political system from one of "good guys vs. villains" to one of the importance of limited government, individual liberty,... Read More

Admit We're Peaceful...or Else

Addressing a packed St. Peter's Square during his weekly general audience last Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI revisited his September 12 lecture to academics at the University of Regensburg. The pontiff, a celebrated university professor, explained that his controver Read More

A Pebble's Ripple Effect

Whether or not you believe that we're in the midst of an episode of anthropogenic global warming, it seems to me that burning fossil fuels when there are alternatives is obviously a bad idea. Leaving aside greenhouse gases, burning coal... Read More

Neuro Wine in Old Bottles

In the September 18 edition of The New Yorker magazine, writer John Cassidy leads a fascinatin­g tour through parts of the new field of neuroeconomics, the study of the neurological underpinnings of economic decision-making. Sadly, a number of the economists... Read More

What Is The Cost of Compassion?

File this under famous last words, somewhere next to Herbert Hoover's pre-Depression promise that prosperity was right around the corner: "The only hope to stop the spending is to elect George W. Bush." Congressman John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) made this fateful... Read More

The Future of Higher Ed

The National Commission on the Future of Higher Education will release its final report today, with Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings giving the administration's response to the Commission's work. The Secretary should be pleased with parts of the final docu Read More

The Pen, the Sword and the Pontiff

Madeleine Bunting, writing in The Guardian, has sharply attacked the Regensburg address of Pope Benedict XVI. Among the points that she makes, there is one that deserves special attention, because it expresses the sentiment of all those who have criticized... Read More

Man-Made Volcanic Effect?

Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Germany and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California at San Diego has proposed one way to curb global warming (natural and/or man-made) is to purposely shoot... Read More

Whatever Happened to Media Consolidation?

Numerous writers and analysts have argued that large media conglomerates' purchases of movie studios, magazines, and book publishing companies over the past four decades have had a deleterious effect on the quality of production in these media, because it forced... Read More

The MacArthur Model

Playing to their historic strength, the Bush State Department released the latest statement on US policy for dealing with terrorism just after Labor Day. Entitled the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, it is being promoted by the Administration as an... Read More

Red and Blue America: Meet the Health Belt

The division of America into red and blue is a totem of our times. The red states voted for Bush, the Blue for the Democrats. The blue states are on the coasts, the red states are flyovers. More importantly to... Read More

Global Warnings from the Ivory Tower

The Royal Society of London, England's premier scientific society, has sent a letter to Exxon-Mobil asking that the energy giant stop funding organizations which have "misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence." This unusual st Read More

Our Enemy, The State

ROCKAWAY BEACH, NY, Sept. 11, 2006 - Just two doors down from the Dunkin' Donuts where I'm writing this is Engine Company 268, which sacrificed 15 of New York's Bravest -- including its chief -- in the conflagration at the... Read More

'Shouting Hoo, Hoo, Hoo at the Tops of Their Tongues'

Back in the 1960s and '70s the Harvard Lampoon occasionally put together a parody version of some mainstream (I almost wrote "legitimate") magazine, such as Cosmopolitan or Time or Playboy. If memory serves, there was always a letter to the... Read More

Climate Change and the Demographic Shift

A great deal of ink and electrons have been wasted in trying to explain what it is or is not that we should do to try and reduce emissions of CO2 in the United States. One fascinating paper just published... Read More

Another Hungarian Uprising?

In 1956 Hungarians revolted against the yoke of communist domination from Moscow. In 2006, it appears Hungarians are revolting against the yoke of austerity from Brussels by demanding that the EU-leaning Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany step down. Already Read More

The Global Ambush

Remember the "Arab street," that riot-in-the-road featuring flammable Israeli flags, Saddam Hussein posters, clenched fists and chants threatening "Death to America"? The street may have lacked pavement and a fire hydrant, but it had beaucoup television cameras. Fl Read More

The Importance of DIY Movies

As a movie critic for TCS Daily, I sometimes feel like a bicyclist at a Harley-Davidson convention: My presence is tolerated, people are friendly enough, but I'm not exactly necessary. I know that most TCSers want to get their brain-motors... Read More

Sweden Has Learned From Its Own Lesson

The centre-right four-party Alliance won the elections in Sweden this Sunday, ending 12 years of Social Democrat rule. The Alliance promised to do stepwise market-oriented reforms, as opposed to the Social Democrats promise to do nothing. What conclusions can be... Read More

Pope Benedict and the Muslims

It seems to have been too much to expect that the educated West, in dealing with the challenge of Islam after the atrocities experienced in New York and Washington five years ago, would do so in a spirit of caution,... Read More

The Sex Strike

WASHINGTON -- A group of women have started a sex strike in Pereira, a city in western Colombia, to persuade their men to give up violence. They will make love again only when their husbands and boyfriends make peace. A... Read More

We the Sheeple? Why Conspiracy Theories Persist

Conspiracy theorists allege that the events of 9/11 are not adequately explained by the "official story" fingering Osama bin Laden and his network as the culprits. What really needs explaining, though, is not 9/11, but the existence of such conspiracy... Read More

A Military Strategy, Not a Marketing Strategy

In my response to my essay making the case for staying home in November on Election Day, I received a lot of pushback from voters who believe that the war on Islamic fascism justifies voting for Republicans, despite what one... Read More

Something Old, Something New

Since I was named editor back in late 2001, TCSDaily has grown in ways I could not imagine. And it has thrived in part because it has been willing to evolve in a tumultuous and challenging media landscape. That evolution... Read More

I Know You Are But What Am I?

The Senate race in my home state of Virginia between incumbent Republican George Allen and his Democratic opponent, former Reagan Navy Secretary James Webb, has gotten ugly even by the rather low standards of American politics. Unless you've been vacationing... Read More

Down on the Farms

As we mark the one-month anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, the best that can be said is that ceasefire between Israel and the Hezbollah terrorists who carved a state-within-a-state in southern Lebanon is holding. This is perhaps... Read More

Voting Early and Often

Can I call 'em, or can I call 'em? Nearly four years ago, I predicted charges of electoral fraud before the polls had even opened in the 2002 elections. I was right, and such charges have only grown louder as... Read More

Crazy for Work

Unemployed you say? We can't really offer you a job... but we could classify you as mentally disabled to improve our labor market statistics! That's the message 25-year-old Swedish citizen Jessica Pettersson got from the state unemployment office. Pettersson has... Read More

Cops and Warriors

This year, Iran's theocratic dictators celebrated Sept. 11 by banning several opposition newspapers, including Iran's leading "reformist" daily, Shargh. Shargh had committed political sin and published a cartoon that Tehran's robed dictators found insulting to Pres Read More

An Evolving Faith

Angela Rawlett is a college student facing a personal dilemma. Wanting to be a veterinarian, she had planned to major in biology. But this will involve studying evolution, which seems to be in conflict with her Christian faith. Angela's father... Read More

Pilgrims' Progress

Note: This is the first installment of a two-part series. What do historian Nathaniel Philbrick and Atlantic columnist James Fallows have in common? Both advocate similar but distinct approaches to conflict resolution and point the way toward potential success in.. Read More

A Shot Across Many Bows

As expected, various and sundry Islamic leaders are criticizing Pope Benedict's Regensburg speech. The LA Times reports: "Pope Benedict XVI flew back to Rome on Thursday to face an international flurry of protest over comments he made critical of historical... Read More

Waiting Out Castro

As the summit of the non-aligned movement of countries continues in Havana today, those hoping for a reappearance of 80-year-old Fidel Castro may have to content themselves with the news that he reportedly gave UN's Kofi Annan and a few... Read More

Investment Spam Scams Work; What Should We Do About Them?

Let me guess what's inside your inbox -- or at least its spam folder. Chances are that 15% of your spam is made up of stock tips on numerous "microcap" stocks traded on Pink Sheets, an over-the-counter quotation system. These... Read More

Census and Sensibility

I'm giving you a red pill and a blue pill. If you take the red pill, your income will roughly double in the next ten years, but your neighbor's income will triple. If you take the blue pill you and... Read More

Drug Testing, Drug Hazards

A clinical trial that went badly awry at London's Northwick Park Hospital in March became the drug-testing community's worst nightmare. Six healthy volunteers ended up in intensive care after each received the first injection of a new drug called TGN1412,... Read More

Is Democracy the "Countercause"?

Tom Ricks' book FIASCO: The American Military Adventure In Iraq has been climbing the charts of late. Interestingly, Ricks cites another work called Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice by David Galula as being vital to understanding the fight in Iraq... Read More

From No Nukes to New Nukes

The six-month consultation period on the EU's Green Paper on a European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy comes to an end on September 24. But no matter what the accumulated public feedback reveals, recent news headlines underline some... Read More

Europe's New Religion

The leaders of the 25 member states of the European Union will meet in the Finnish city of Lahti next month to discuss the future direction of the bloc. The defeat of the proposed constitutional treaty by Dutch and French... Read More

What's The Big Idea? Podcast with Ryan Sager

This week's guest is New York Post columnist Ryan Sager, who discusses his new book, The Elephant in the Room: Evangelicals, Libertarians, and the Battle to Control the Republican Party, which explores the splits and potential fusions between fiscal conservatives,. Read More

Help Wanted

Five years after it spawned 9/11, Afghanistan is no longer under the control of the medieval Taliban and its al Qaeda partners. That's the good news. The bad news is that five years after 9/11, it doesn't appear that Afghanistan... Read More

Snuff Cinema

TORONTO -- Five years after 9-11, it's apparent that we all aren't getting along. And the political left is throwing plenty of mean punches. A case in point is that new Bush snuff movie, "Death of a President." Some might... Read More

November: The Case for Staying Home

"As a life-long Republican and occasional federal official, I must acknowledge a hard truth: I don't much care how a divided government is next realized. And, in 2006, there's only one way that's going to happen." -- William Niskanen The... Read More

'I Am a Man of My Time'

Politicians and boxers share a common trait: They never want to quit. The refusal of boxing champions to retire probably stems from an imperial complex. You don't renounce supremacy conquered through force until a greater force overpowers you. Politicians cling... Read More

The Angina Monologues

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (SATIRENEWSSERVICE) -- "How do we force women to wear burkhas? Torture their children if they don't! How do we clear a mine field in war? Promise thirteen year old boys they'll go to heaven if they get blown... Read More

What Left and Right Both Miss About the Wal-Mart Debate

Once again, Wal-Mart is being used as a political football. On the left, politicians and pundits use Wal-Mart as the poster child for living wages and mandatory health care benefits. On the right, Wal-Mart is held up as a paragon... Read More

Keep Your Grubby Mitts Off My Hard Drive

I'm a big fan of -- as my credit card statements can attest -- and I've watched their gradual entry into the online video world with considerable enthusiasm. If anybody can make that work, I figured, it would be... Read More

What Are the 'Dynamics of Economic Well-Being'?

Recently, the Census Bureau reported its findings on 2005 household income for the United States. The August 30 Wall Street Journal's headline for its story on these findings was, "Median Household Income Rises 1.1%." The line underneath (what journalists called... Read More

Something Ventured...

...most strange of all, right now the world's hottest tech stocks are traded not on Wall St but on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt... A stunted venture capital industry - that intricate network of entrepreneurs, investors and bankers which turns good ideas... Read More

China's Trade Dilemma

China wants to wear the white hat in global affairs. It is already trying on the hat for size, and feels that it fits. It has watched the USA don the black hat -- in the views of the opinion... Read More

Is There an Elephant in Here?

Editor's Note: A little over a year and a half ago, TCS Daily sent New York Post columnist Ryan Sager down to the 2005 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to observe the state of the conservative movement in the wake... Read More

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

The World Bank and the IMF seem to have lost any capacity to defend their own interests or their core mission. They have criticized the Singapore Government for blocking entry to Singapore of NGOs clearly on mission to cause trouble... Read More

Free Time

But I like the giant metronome. It's a gigantic kinetic sculpture (for which outsize proportion matters) beckoning the city from its massive, gray plinth atop Letná Hill north across the Vltava River. The body is shaped simply to present a... Read More

Snake Oil Policy

Washington has hundreds of pending bills dealing with energy, and it's difficult to predict which ones will move in a Congress under pressure to do something about $3-a-gallon gas before the November elections (even though average prices have recently fallen... Read More

A Conservative Case for Immortality

One of the sharpest dividing lines we experience as human beings -- the difference between life and death -- has long been a part of American politics. In the abortion debate (and related), the battle lines have been drawn, with... Read More

The Grand Tax Illusion

You will have seen, around and about, a lot being said about how the current recovery just isn't feeding through to the average man and woman out there. Wages don't seem to be rising; in fact, Paul Krugman recently made... Read More

We Are Not Safe (And That's Okay)

Polling data tell us the American public feels less safe than it did pre-9/11. American soldiers are dying daily at the hands of insurgents/terrorists in streets of Baghdad and the mountains of Afghanistan. We just learned that terrorists were coming... Read More

The French Climate Skeptic

Skeptical voices in the international global warming debate are predominantly Anglo-Saxon, with occasional smatterings of Nordic, Russian, Italian and Dutch. But the French are conspicuously absent. How come? French intellectuals are reputed for their independence Read More

From Communism to Keynesianism

While it seems that China has escaped from the economic disasters of the bad old days of communism, it is succumbing to the theories and policies of warmed-over Keynesianism. Beijing is giving up class struggle and central planning to apply... Read More

"Luck is the Residue of Design."

On Sept. 11, 2001, Al-Qaida's terrorist hijackers implemented an audacious, imaginative, and well-designed -- but risky -- attack. Al-Qaida's 9-11 planners and hijackers believed audacity and vicious execution would minimize the risk of failure. But they all counte Read More

The Victory of September 11, 1565

By the middle of the 16th century, the Knights of Malta had been for decades a particular irritation to the Sultan of the Empire of the Ottoman Turks, then the world's premier superpower and the imperial power of the Jihad.... Read More

Stranger in a Strange Land

"Oh it gets so lonelyWhen you're walkingAnd the streets are full of strangersAll the news of home you readJust gives you the bluesJust gives you the blues"-- Joni Mitchell I was kind of anesthetized that summer, nestled in the hills... Read More

Who's Going to Win?

During the Cold War, some of the fiercest anti-Communists believed their cause was likely to fail. The writer and former Communist Whittaker Chambers sought to rally the West against his erstwhile comrades, but wrote that in making his break from... Read More

Big Oil's New Conspiracy

We have heard much in recent months about the plot by oil companies to gouge consumers at the pump. Now, I am writing to report another insidious plot on the part of Big Oil. They are scheming to lower prices.... Read More

Yemen: A Glimmer of Hope?

In the midst of a barrage of disheartening news from the Middle East, there's one bright spot that should hearten cynics, realists and idealists alike. On the Arabian Peninsula, below the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, next to the Sultanate of... Read More

To Live and Die in Toronto

Why is it so dangerous to be a reporter these days? Why are so many journalists being targeted? Two Fox News reporters were grabbed in Gaza, held for nearly two weeks, exploited for propaganda purposes, and then released. They were... Read More

Europe in Hibernation

As Madeleine Albright once said, "To understand Europe, you have to be a genius - or French." John Gillingham, author of Design for a New Europe, is definitively not French - as a matter of fact, he is an American... Read More

Europe Rising?

We might forgive Europeans a little gloating in recent weeks over some economic news of the man-bites-dog variety. It seems the EU outperformed both the US and Japan in the last quarter, posting a 0.9 percent growth rate (with an... Read More

The Showa War?

Ever heard of the Showa War? If not don't worry - you're not alone. In fact most people outside Japan have probably never heard of it either. Yet this is the name that has been chosen by Japan's most widely... Read More

What's The Big Idea? Podcast with Dierdre McCloskey

This week's guest is former Marxist Dierdre McCloskey, a professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago who argues that capitalism - rather than being evil or even neutral - tends to improve people and to even encourage art! To listen... Read More

Rain on the Economic Forecasters' Parade

Investors are keenly interested in the pronouncements of economic forecasters, judging by the massive amounts of ink and airtime allotted to them by the media. It doesn't necessarily follow, however, that heeding the prognosticators is useful in selecting securitie Read More

Lifestyles of the Superrich and Not So Famous

When I lecture to teenagers and twentysomethings here in the United States, I often ask members of the audience to "raise your hand if you're wealthy." Except for the young woman years ago who announced that her father owned a... Read More

'I Buy Goods From Poorer Countries'

Editor's note: How long can Europe keep further globalization at bay? Jason Miks talks to Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith Institute, about the EU's need to reconsider labor mobility, free markets, and immigration TCS: The British trade secretary... Read More

Path to Prosperity

On May 1, 2004, eight ex-communist countries joined the European Union. Time will show whether EU membership will improve or harm their economic prospects, but 17 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is clear that economic transition... Read More

Help Wanted: Leadership in World Trade

The position of world leader in free trade that was occupied by the United States since the end of the Second World War is now vacant. While there is still a chance that the United States can regain the mantle,... Read More

Will Broadband Kill the Broadcast Star?

Katie Couric made her debut as the anchor of the CBS Evening News last night, and if there was something historic about the broadcast, it might be this: you didn't have to watch it on TV. CBS had announced that... Read More

A Tolstoy Economy

Leo Tolstoy wrote that while happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The same might perhaps be said of the unwinding of major global economic imbalances at different times. For while the serious... Read More

The Indy Music Comeback

Independent music is making a comeback. Or, perhaps more accurately, it's taking the next step along a path that looks like bad news for traditional record labels. Some time ago, I mourned the demise of, the original independent-music portal... Read More

Naming Our Enemies

"Ideally, in the case of a right (for example, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures) that could be asserted against government measures for protecting national security, one would like to locate the point at which a... Read More

Bosnia's Big Picture

Reuters is reporting that Richard Gere will start shooting his new movie in Sarajevo later this month. Flak Jacket, based on a true story, follows an American war correspondent's quest to uncover the hideout of Radovan Karadzic, the wartime leader... Read More

Property to the People

In October 1995, a Chinese peasant named Li Xinwen traveled to Beijing from rural Anhui province. After being forced from his land to make way for an expansion of the local bureaucracy, he sought justice from the central authority. He... Read More

Back to Work!

Is the stereotype of the vacation-loving European an unfair one? A new poll published in the Financial Times suggests it may very well be. The survey found that a majority of the continent's workers would actually like to work more,... Read More

Beating Swords Into Soccer Balls

Lost in all the hype surrounding the recent war between Hizbullah and Israel are the human interest stories. I don't mean the pictures of particular dead children, fleeing refugees or cramped bomb shelters. No, I mean human interest stories in... Read More

Countdown to Genocide

The final countdown for Darfur looms. Back in April, in a widely commented piece on TCS, we warned both that the impending Darfur crisis was a calamity of overwhelming proportions and that it was intrinsically linked (despite the irony of... Read More

Science in the Media Sausage Grinder

Recent weeks have offered a rich harvest of new "health" threats with splashy headlines warning us about the supposed dangers from processed meats, hair dyes, and tanning parlors. While all of these stories are all a little odd, perhaps the... Read More

Commodifying Life and Its Critics

In Marxist theory, capitalist drones afflicted by false consciousness are constantly indulging in the fetishism of commodities -- placing material possessions on an absurdly high pedestal. Likewise, critics of the practice of obtaining patent protection on life for Read More

Prison Break?

British prisons are, once again, bursting at the seams. While the Home Office is doing its best to accommodate "future bookings" (8,000 new places), humans rights activists and prison reformers have mounted a concerted media campaign over recent months aimed... Read More

'These Staff Reductions Are Due, In Part, to Our Productivity Initiatives'

The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity -- the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the... Read More

Attack of the Lifesaving Tomatoes

Five years ago, Dr. Eduardo Blumwald of the University of California announced that he and his team had succeeded in genetically modifying tomato plants so that they could grow in soil with a high salt content. Not only that, but... Read More

The "Scoop" on Lieberman

While there is no doubting the vitriol that Democrats feel for Sen. Joseph Lieberman nowadays, there is certainly a great deal of doubt concerning the strategy of isolating Lieberman. Or at least, there should be. Not only are Democrats in... Read More

The Straight Dope on 'Medical Marijuana'

The medical marijuana controversy rages on. Is it a "medicine?" Does it work? Is it safe? Are claims of medical benefits merely a ploy for legalization?The FDA weighed in several months ago by endorsing a multi-agency study that found "no... Read More

Got to Admit It's Getting Better...

In two major newspaper articles, one in last Monday's New York Times (August 28, 2006) and one in last Wednesday's Washington Post (August 30, 2006), two of the nation's leading newspapers do their readers a huge disservice. In the Times... Read More

The Residual Value of Marshawn Lynch

By all accounts, Marshawn Lynch is the real deal. Overshadowed last season by Heisman winner Reggie Bush, the Cal running back is himself ranked among the leading candidates for this year's trophy, and is the chief reason some believe the... Read More

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