Conservative Economist

Conservative Economist

Sunday, March 31

Bush Backs Sharon as Advisers Doubt Israeli Strategy (NYT)
"To build Arab support for his impending confrontation with Iraq, Mr. Bush knows he cannot afford to alienate other Arab nations"

Wrong - To keep themselves in power Arab nations like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt cannot afford to alienate their protector and benefactor, the United States of America. They need us far, far more than we need them.

Arafat Is Relying Upon Israel Being Morally Superior To Arab Countries

Imagine if an ethnic group in Iraq revolted against Saddam. Saddam would quickly kill everyone who opposed him, even if he had to kill millions. I suspect that every Arab government would also be willing to kill mass numbers of innocents to protect itself. If any Arab country faced the problem that confronts Israel it would probably use mass murder to eliminate all its potential enemies. Israel is different. Israel probably could stop suicide bombing by killing all of the bomber's relatives. Is there any doubt that Iraq, Iran or Saudi Arabia would not do this? Because Israel respects life, Arafat's strategy of terror might just work. I would never advocate Israel deliberately killing innocents to survive. However, the rest of the world must recognize that Israel's superior moral values places her at a handicap, and we should provide her with support to compensate for this "weakness."

Tying Marriage Vows to Welfare Reform (washingtonpost.com)
People who oppose gay marriages should also oppose bribing people to get married. I'm not sure if I oppose gay marriage, but the main argument against it is that marriage has been a very successful institution and it's dangerous for the state to radically redefine it. Bribing people to get married does more damage to the foundations of marriage than permitting gay marriage ever could. Obviously, people who are bribed to get married will have less commitment to the institution. Such bribery will inevitably create sham marriages where people get married in name only just to get the benefits. The less seriously people take their wedding vows, the less being married will signify.

Isolate Arafat

Why does Israel let Arafat use his cell phone? Surely, it would be easy to jam.

If U.S. troops got involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict they would certainly be able to stop Israel from using their army to attack the PLO. However, it would be difficult for our troops to prevent suicide bombers. Consequently, they would help Arafat but not Israel.

Cheap Shot Against Bush over the Middle East Situation on This Week with Sam and Cokie
"Unwilling to risk his personal political capital in such an uncertain endeavor" -Terry Moran (ABC News)

The quote makes it seem as if Bush just doesn't care enough. How could Bush use his "personal political capital" to help bring peace? Clinton tried and it made the situation worse.

Fox News is reporting that there are threats to America over the Israeli situation. It seems overwhelmingly obvious that if pro-Palestinian terrorists attack America then the American people's support for Israel will significantly increase. I hope potential terrorists learn from our reaction to 9/11. We no longer submit to terrorists, we annihilate them.

Israel should go on the offensive against their Arab enemies. Many Arab governments are weak and unpopular. Israel should actively promote rebellion in the Arab nations which seek Israel's destruction. Most Arab leaders care only about themselves. If they believe that there is a cost to funding anti-Israeli terrorists, maybe they will leave Israel alone.

Saturday, March 30

TV Drama, Pentagon-Style: A Fictional Terror Tribunal (NYT)

"A television drama is a striking demonstration of how the Pentagon's image builders take Hollywood just as seriously as they take the news media."

Perhaps we should all take the mainstream media just as seriously as we take Hollywood.

Friday, March 29

With Vaccine Available Smallpox Debate Shifts (NYT)
"Because the chances of a smallpox attack are also highly speculative, Dr. Hunker said, the choice is whether it is worth accepting a few deaths and serious injuries to protect the nation against a threat that may not materialize. "There is no good established system for making that choice," he said. " Human beings have certain biases in making choices, and unless you're trained, people tend not to make very good choices.""


The "good established system for making that choice" is called freedom. Individuals should decide for themselves whether they want to get vaccinated. Also, if "there is no good established system for making that choice," then why do you need training to make good choices. What can that training do? It's certainly true that human beings have biases. One of the worst biases is overestimating the government's competence to made decisions for people.


Don't Wobble on Immigration (washingtonpost.com) Good article attacking Pat Buchanan's immigration views. I detest that Buchanan is considered a conservative. After reading his book "The Death of the West" I believe that Buchanan is a racist, and I don't mean racist as it is promiscuously defined by the left. Buchanan thinks that the less white the West becomes the weaker it gets. One of the many reasons I have so little respect for the left is that they don't criticize fellow travelers like Al Sharpton. To gain credibility among minorities conservatives must criticize prominent "conservatives" like Buchanan when they venture into racist advocacy.

Stop the Offensive (washingtonpost.com)
"It remains the case that the key to ending the violence lies with Mr. Arafat."

Exactly what would have to happen for liberals to conclude that Arafat doesn't want peace? If there really were peace Arafat would become less important than the mayor of a mid-sized U.S. city. Only through violence can Arafat make himself one of the most important men in the world.

James Q Wilson on Special Report (Fox news)
Finish high school, get married and don't have a child until you are 20 and you have only a 7% chance of being poor. If you don't do these things you have a 79% chance of being poor.

Israel Raids Arafat's Headquarters (washingtonpost.com)
If Israel takes a hard line and (as I suspect) succeeds, then it will be challenging for critics of America's war on terrorism to claim that "violence never solved anything." If Israel succeeds with force when negotiations failed it will strengthen the position of those who believe that the Pentagon, not the State Department, is the branch of the U.S. government that should respond to terrorism.

Thursday, March 28

Making Colorblindness a Reality (WSJ)
"This initiative, which is gaining signatures for next November's ballot in California, will prohibit state agencies from classifying Californians by race, ethnicity, color or national origin for any purpose having to do with public education, contracting, or employment."

My plan is called the racial freedom of choice act. Under this act everyone gets to choose his own race. So, for example, when applying to college you could check any box you want on the racial classification section and the college couldn't challenge your decision, and would have to include you in any affirmative action program targeted towards the race you picked.

Krugman
Krugman complains about the right-wing interests groups that attacked Clinton over whitewater. Krugman then writes "But there is, of course, no comparable scandal machine on the left."

What about the left's attempt to paint Judge Charles Pickering as a racist? What about Krugman's many, boring, columns trying to link the Bush administration and Enron? What about the NAACP ad conerning hate crimes that was run against Bush and implied that Bush was racist?

Krugman further writes that "One answer is that for some reason there is a level of anger and hatred on the right that has at best a faint echo in the anti-globalization left, and none at all in mainstream liberalism."

No anger on the mainstream left? Has he ever met a feminist?

U.S. Farmers to SowMore Gene-Altered Crops
"The gene-altered crops require fewer chemicals, making them cheaper to grow. The crops are engineered to produce their own pesticide or to be resistant to a popular weedkiller."

If environmentalists really cared about the environment they would welcome genetically engineered crops. Environmentalists oppose GM foods because they hate any changes man inflicts upon their Goddess the Earth.

2 Conservative Jurists Back DNA Testing (washingtonpost.com)
"Two of the nation's highest-profile conservative jurists issued opinions yesterday in a Fairfax County rape case that favored giving inmates access to post-conviction DNA testing to try to prove their innocence."

If the DNA tests are foolproof then we should grant all inmate requests for tests. But, if the test proves an inmates guilt, then the inmate should have his sentence increased. This could be accomplished by only granting tests to inmates who declare, under oath, that they are innocent. If an inmate fails the test he can then be convicted of perjury.

India gives go-ahead to GM crops New Scientist
Environmentalists are, of course, upset. Genetically modified crops can help feed the world. Environmentalists in the west don't have to worry about going hungry but many other humans do. Their effective opposition to GM crops makes environmentalists among the most dangerous loonies on the planet. Every time they succeed in restricting food technology, environmentalists contribute to the slow death of starvation that inflicts far to many humans

OpinionJournal -Professor Sued for Assault
"Marta Sanchez, a University of Virginia law student, is suing Kenneth Abraham, a professor, alleging assault and battery. The Associated Press explains the case:

The lawsuit stems from an incident last fall in an introductory class Abraham teaches for first-year law students. As a demonstration of a legal principle known as the "egg-shell skull rule," Abraham touched Sanchez on the shoulder.

Sanchez said the touch--which Abraham has said was a "tap" and Sanchez has described as a "caress"--caused her to experience disturbing memories of rape, pregnancy and abortion that she suffered in her native Panama."

This shows why professors usually keep their office door open when talking to students. Sexual harassment laws have been beneficial in deterring professors from hitting on their students. But the laws also have a dark side. Professors are afraid of this kind of accusation and it often causes them to be more "distant" with students. I have read that some male politicians refuse to be alone in a room with a young woman. If professors' fear of false and unreasonable accusations escalates, then soon many of us might not want to be alone with a female student.

Wednesday, March 27

Wish List: 9 Innovations in Search of Inventors
A GREAT ARTICLE!

Soldiers in Civilian Clothing (washingtonpost.com)Civilian aid workers are angered that the military is engaging in humanitarian work in Afghanistan. The more humanitarian work the military does the less need their will be for permanent humanitarian workers. The civilian aid agencies probably don't want the competition because it might reduce the contributions their organizations receive

NAACP Denounces Study On Black Drivers, Speeding (washingtonpost.com)"The Rev. William Rutherford said he had not read the study but did not believe its findings."

This comment exemplifies the left's view of science and statistics that any study which comes to a politically incorrect conclusion must be wrong so why bother reading it.

Smallpox Vaccine Turns Up (washingtonpost.com)"A pharmaceutical company has discovered 70 million to 90 million long-forgotten doses of smallpox vaccine in its freezers."

Americans should be given the right to get this vaccine. If many of us were vaccinated it would be much less likely that terrorists could initiate a smallpox epidemic.

BOB HERBERT
"The terrorists will not achieve their ends by blowing up innocents."
What if killing innocent Jews is their ends?

News Analysis: After a Dire Day, Trying to See Beyond Revenge

"Some think Wednesday's suicide bombing might just provide the jolt needed finally to call a halt to the bloodshed."..."But at least Mr. Arafat now had a pretext to start cracking down on terrorism without appearing to bow to Israeli or American demands."

Why would giving Arafat a "pretext" to crack down help? How can the NYT believe that Arafat really wants to stop the violence.

William F. Buckley, Jr. On Publishers' Publicity Problems
"The frustration in the book business mounts as the years go by, but is probably no more clamorous than yesterday for the reason that publishing houses and authors have simply given up. How do you get word out about a book?"

Blogging might be the answer. I suspect that visitors to blogger sites buy lots of books. Furthermore, blogging sites are specialized so publishers will know on which ones to advertise. Finally, with the collapse of the dot.coms, Internet ad rates are very low. So publishers, what will you pay me to run your ad?

Rev. Jackson Offers to Mediate Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

"Jackson blamed media criticism of his finances on the Jews. Saying that he wanted to "talk black talk," Jackson confided in black reporter Milton Coleman that he was being unfairly treated by the "Hymies" who controlled the media. The worst of all was the New York Times, but what could you expect from "Hymietown"? --Kenneth Timmerman's Shakedown p. 161.

I'm surprised that the Palestinians haven't taken Jackson up on his mediation offer.

Nash's Importance

"[John] Nash's stellar reputation among mathematicians does not center on the game theory work. …Other work of Nash's is much more important and striking. In particular, he is best known as the creator of the Isometric Embedding Theorem, which shows that arbitrary Riemannian manifolds can be realized, metrically, as submanifolds of Euclidean space. This is a fundamental result in differential geometry, a field far removed from game theory ...The excessive emphasis on the game-theory paper is one of the ironies of Nash's sudden celebrity." (Slate Fray, Norman Levitt)

As a game theorist I disagree. Nash's game theory result has wide implications for people other than college professors. I'm sure that Nash's Isometric Embedding Theorem is extremely important for mathematicians, but has it helped anyone who doesn't have a Ph.D in math?




Cellphones worse than drink-driving (New Scientist)
Spanish priest installs electronic jammer in church to banish cellular ringing (Yahoo! News)

I wonder if it would be legal, and effective, to drive with one of these jammers in your car? If enough people did this the problem of cell phone accidents might end.


Gains From Antibiotic Ban Noted (washingtonpost.com)
Even though environmentalists want to ban antibiotics use on animals, such a ban would still be a good idea. Wide spread use of antibiotics can create mutant drug-resistant germs. Antibiotics are probably humanities' greatest technological accomplishment. It would be tragic if we diminished this accomplishment in order to have slightly cheaper beef.

Eight Killed in Paris Suburb. French politician blasts 'American-style' shooting that wounded 19.
"[the gunman]did shout "kill me, kill me!" as he was subdued before police arrived to make the arrest." (Foxnews.com)

"Suicide Blast Rocks Israeli Hotel." (Foxnews.com)

If a French politician had blasted "Palestinian-style" killings I bet he would have been condemmed for being insenstive.

Biometrics may scan air travelers
Biometrics has the potential to radically change everything. It could let us throw out our wallets and keys. Biometrics could make it near impossible for people to illegally live in the U.S. if getting constantly scanned because a necessary part of everyday life.

Tuesday, March 26

"Steelmakers say they have had to ration to their customers and raise prices because demand is outpacing supply, even as steep tariffs prepare to lock out millions of tons of imported steel. (WSJ)"

Probably because of the expected tariff, customers are buying steel now to lock in supplies. Shortages are the hallmark of a socialist society where the government doesn't let markets operate.


Experts Lambaste Smut Filters
"Software designed to screen objectionable material is flawed and often worthless, computer experts contend on the second day of a trial to determine if the Children's Internet Protection Act violates the First Amendment."

There seems to be an obvious solution to this problem. In fact, it's so obvious that I'm sure others have thought of it. X-rated material should be required to be labeled. This way it would be trivial to design a filter to exclude it.

Kodak's CEO lauded financial transparency but suggested U.S. competitiveness would suffer if firms are forced to disclose too much to foreign rivals. (WSJ)

The obvious solution is to let shareholders decide how much their company should disclose. The major problem with U.S. corporations is that shareholders do not have enough power. Congress has made it very difficult for shareholders to fire CEOs. If shareholders were able to easily elect outside independent representatives to boards of directors than corporations would be more accountable. The cause of Enron's fall is not too little government regulation, but too much government restrictions on shareholder rights.

Saddam's Payments to Suicide Bomber Families
Key Layne cites a report that "Saddam Hussein is paying $25,000 to the relatives of Palestinian suicide bombers." Shouldn't Israel be trying to take away this money?

STRATFOR.com : Arab Summit Falls Apart
"Despite claims by every Arab state following visits by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that they do not support any aggression toward Iraq, the failure to attend the summit suggests that many Arab states -- especially the five Gulf nations that are home to U.S. military headquarters or pre-positioning bases -- may participate in the campaign." Interesting!

Was Enron's Collapse Really Bad?
I know that a lot of people lost money because of Enron's collapse, but where did this money go? I'm not sure what happened to Enron, but I suspect that it lost a lot of money on bad financial market trades. This means that the money Enron lost was not wasted, but transferred to someone else.

Consider two companies that go bankrupt. The first company wasted billions constructing useless buildings no one will ever use. This company reduced the wealth of society by wasting resources. Now consider a second company that collapsed because it make a financial market bet with Jack that interests rates would rise when they really fell. This second company would not have wasted resources, because its money just went to Jack. While I'm not sure which company more closely represents Enron, I think it might be the second.

Monday, March 25

STRATFOR.com : EU Steals Trade Momentum From Washington"Europe has responded adroitly to new U.S. steel tariffs by threatening to set product-specific tariffs that would fall hardest on states that are key to Republican electoral success in the fall." Very Smart.

Try Suing Saddam
I really thought that this title was meant to be sarcastic.

Perhaps Arab governments teach their citizens to hate America so America doesn't push them to become democratic.

Sudan's War an Ally of Disease (washingtonpost.com)"The ancient parasitic infection known as guinea worm is nearing extinction, with only war-torn Sudan standing as a major impediment to the disease's disappearance in the next several years, researchers reported today."

I'm surprised that environmentalists haven't complained about the guinea worm's near extinction.

War Boosts NATO Hopes Of 2 Nations (washingtonpost.com)
"And in the rush to impress the Bush administration, viewed as the critical voice in determining the final list of countries invited to join NATO, Romania and Bulgaria are refurbishing airstrips and ports with the implicit promise that if the United States wishes to use them in future campaigns, including in strikes against Iraq, they are available for the asking."

The problem with NATO is that once countries join they no longer worry about impressing us and they take our support for granted.

Amazon.com: buying info: Ransom
As a game theorist I'm glad that "A Beautiful Mind" won best picture. However, the Mel Gibson movie "Ransom" makes much better use of game theory.

Sunday, March 24

Europe and Human Rights (washingtonpost.com)Article about how European nations on the United Nations Human Rights Commission are not that concerned with Human rights violations in dictatorships. This is yet another reason why the U.S. shouldn't take Europe seriously on moral issues like the death penalty, global warming and the treatment of terrorist prisoners.

Makers of PCs Fear Wrath Of Microsoft (washingtonpost.com)This seems exaggerated at least for someone like Dell. There are only a few large PC makers and Microsoft would be deeply hurt if they all got together and put Linux on every machine. I'm certain that both Microsoft and the PC makers know this, and consequently Microsoft's power over companies like Dell is limited.

Israel Plans Big Assault If Truce Talks Fail (washingtonpost.com)It's an excellent strategy for Israel to let this be known. A better strategy, however, would be to announce that Arafat will be driven from power if the talks fail. I suspect that Arafat is primarily concerned about Arafat, and consequently he will only support a truce if doing so is in his own personal best interests.

"President Bush's campaign to expand trade among Western Hemisphere nations is the latest administration proposal caught in the crossfire of his battle with Democrats. (WSJ)"
To gain political support, Bush should tie trade packs to the war on terrorism.

For Catholic Church's Future, Tradition vs. Radical Change (washingtonpost.com) If remaining unmarried help priests devote more time to the church than companies would prefer unmarried to married male employees.

Finances Prompted Raids on Muslims (washingtonpost.com)The great evil of Political Correctness is probably the reason we didn't do this before.

U.S. Prods Israel to Allow Arafat to Go to Arab Summit
The U.S. seems intent on winning the support of the Arab world by giving some backing to Arafat. Given this strategy, it's optimal to fully support Arafat on symbolic issues like this but not push Israel on issues of substance.

Big bucks for a bunch of bits"An economic analysis of EverQuest’s estimated 410,000 users discovered the average player spends 29 hours a week at the game. Among those older than 18, almost a third spent more time gaming in a typical week than they did working at their real job."

When I played EverQuest I put in these kind of hours and got worried that something was wrong with me. It's nice to know that I'm normal.

I hope "A Beautiful Mind" wins tonight. I didn't really like the movie, but I'm writing a book on game theory and I figure that sales will be higher if "A Beautiful Mind" gets a lot of publicity.

Is it fair that the rich have disproportional influence over U.S. politics? Yes, because the rich are disproportionately victims of Congressional and bureaucratic excess.

The Palestinians have adopted a stupid strategy. Unless they get atomics, they can't beat Israel militarily. Without atomics, their only hope is to get Israel to acquiesce to their demands. However, Israel will only acquiesce if it is in their self-interest to do so. Consequently, Israel will only give in if it would reduce the amount of violence directed towards them. By demonizing Israel, the Palestinians are showing to the Israelis that they will never stop fighting. Consequently, regardless of how must suffering they inflict on the Israelis, the Israelis will never perceive it to be in their self-interest to acquiesce to Palestinian demands.

Fox News reports that a Florida School was forced to rehire a person who took a massive amount of cocaine. I remember that when I was at Stanford a staff member involved in drug education was arrested for cocaine possession and Stanford didn't fire or even discipline him.

Saturday, March 23

No Mere Terrorist by Friedman"What worries me most for my daughters' future is not Saddam Hussein. He's a homicidal dictator who can be deterred, or eliminated, by conventional means."

I disagree. What if Saddam contracts some incurable disease? How then could we deter him? To insure his high position in Hell, Saddam might want to take as many Americans and Israelis with him as possible when he dies. Saddam probably has the means to do us more harm than any terrorist. While he remains in power he must consequently be considered our primary nemesis.

A Big Gift for Democrats to Build On and Critics to Tear Apart (washingtonpost.com)"Frustration with the Democratic Party and appreciation for Gov. George E. Pataki's work for New Yorkers after the Sept. 11 attacks led nearly 30 black clergy members to endorse the two-term Republican governor for reelection in November." If blacks stopped voting 90% of the time for Democrats they would greatly increase their political power because currently Democrats take their votes for granted while Republicans mostly right off their votes in dispare.

A Big Gift for Democrats to Build On and Critics to Tear Apart (washingtonpost.com)A new record in political donations is set by a $7 million donation given to the Democrats. What surprises me is that more companies don't make multi-million dollar donations. In fact, given the power of congress over business you would expect some companies to have even given $100 million + contributions.

FOXNews.com
As an economist I'm sick of stories saying that network news makes a profit, but not as much profit as the network could make with other shows. If you properly calculate profit it includes OPPORTUNITY COSTS. Opportunity costs take into account what you could have done but didn't. For example, a cost of Nightline to ABC is that ABC could have put something else in the time slot. If this other show would earn, say, $100 million a year, then this $100 million is part of the cost of Nightline and should be subtracted from any profit it makes. Consequently, when opportunity costs are taken into account Nightline almost certainly loses money.

Friday, March 22

The Wrong Way to Remember Sept. 11
Instead of making 9/11 a holiday in which people don't have to go to work, how about having everyone do unpaid overtime on 9/11 and having their companies donate the value of this overtime to charity?

College Board to Revise SAT
The SATs are being revised by the college board so California will still use them. California wants to drop the SATs because they can't use explicit racial quotas so they are trying to reduce academic merit as an admission consideration. I almost think that conservatives should allow colleges to use quotas for say 10% of admissions. This way Colleges would still use merit for the other 90%. Under the current circumstances colleges might eliminate academic merit for everyone to get their desired racial results.

Bush Urges Linking of Foreign Aid (washingtonpost.com)
Helping the poor is a worthy goal. But in countries with corrupt bureaucracies, it can be difficult to do. Aid destined for the needy often goes to buy limousines for the ruling class. Instead of giving money to third world politicians, why not give their people the right to use intellectual property? Rich countries could buy the right to reproduce software and pharmaceuticals in third world countries and could make this software freely available to users there. Unlike money for building infrastructure or for providing tax breaks to businesses, the right to use intellectual property can’t be secretly salted away in a Swiss bank account. It couldn't be used to finance wars. [From an article I wrote for the Weekly Standard that is not available Online.]

Yahoo! News - U.S. Troops Found Afghan Biological Weapons Lab
I almost hope that this is true because it would make it easier for Bush to extend our war on terrorism to anywhere our enemy-scum might be hiding.

Good Catholics, Good Priests -- and Married (washingtonpost.com)
The Catholic church has survived for longer than almost any existing organization because it can adapt to its environment. The troubles the church is facing in the U.S. are so great that it might be necessary for them to allow priests to marry. If the church leadership believes that ending priest celibacy is necessary for the U.S. catholic church to prosper, then this is the path that they will follow.

INS, FBI Seek Four Pakistanis (washingtonpost.com)
The INS mistakenly gave shore leave to four Pakistanis. I don't think we should worry because if the four were planning on engaging in terrorism they would have used an alternative method of getting to the U.S. and not have relied upon the INS making such a big mistake. They got here by chance, not design, so we are probably safe.

Policy Study Is Modifying U.S. Nuclear Arms Stance (washingtonpost.com)
"[Our new policy] warns of a preemptive strike against hostile countries that threaten to use weapons of mass destruction." This is a brilliant strategy for it reduces the benefit to other countries of having weapons of mass destruction. Even if a country like Iraq would never use weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. because of fear of retaliation, they might still gain by threatening us. Such threats could be useful to Iraq because it would scare many Americans and might alter our foreign policy. Consequently, Iraq might want to acquire such weapons simply so they can threaten us with them. If we would massively retaliate against a mere threat, then Iraq would not be willing to issue such a threat. Thus, retaliation against mere threats might discourage nations from even acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

BBC News China 'cracks down on Muslims'
Muslims posed one of the greatest threats to the Chinese communist party. Perhaps the biggest cost of our war against terrorism is that it will strengthen the Chinese government's hand when suppressing dissident Muslims.

NYC Nuclear Bomb Threat(washingtonpost.com)
If nuclear bomb threats are announced they will cause panic. This will create incentives for terrorists to make false threats, which will cause even more panic and make it harder to identify legitimate atomic threats.

Muslim Woman Raised in the U.S.Nervously Dips Into Beauty Pageants (WSJ)
"Fearing the anger of Muslim extremists, pageant organizers decided against holding [a swimsuit competition.]"
"Instead, judges were told to guess if contestants had "nice healthy bodies" beneath their roomy tunic-and-trouser shalwar kameez costumes."
That actually sounds like more fun than what happens at Western contests.

3 - Cent Postal Rate Hike Approved
Lets pick just one State (or even city) and allow companies to fully compete with the post office. If the postal unions are right and competition creates chaos then the damage will be minimal. If it works, maybe we won't need any more rate increases.

Round of Mideast Truce Talks Ends, Hours After Suicide-Bomber Attack (WSJ).
There are some terrorists who don't want a truce. If you stop truce talks after suicide bombings then you give these terrorist more even incentive to kill.

Thursday, March 21

Senate Defeats GOP Effort to Kill Alternative Power Clause (washingtonpost.com)
There are many problems in this world. That humans may someday run out of oil is not one of them. First, there are massive reserves of oil. Second, if we ever did start to run out of oil, its price would increase. This price increase would automatically cause conservation and create incentives to find affordable alternative energy sources. The fact that the government needs to subsidize alternative energy proves that this alternative energy is not needed.

N.J. Report on Motorists Blocked (washingtonpost.com)
"Attorneys in the Justice Department's civil rights division asked the New Jersey attorney general not to release a report from a state study that suggests that black drivers speed more often than white drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike."
It's implied in the article that proportionally more blacks than whites are stopped for speeding in NJ. This must be because either (1) blacks are more likely to speed or (2) NJ police are racist. The Justice Department's civil rights division is in the business of finding racial discrimination and consequently hope that (2) is the valid reason. The attempted suppression of this report is another example of how the left tries to restrict and twist science to fit its world view. In fairness, leftist believes are based upon faith not reason so perhaps it's not appropriate to hold them to too high a standard.

Medical Privacy Changes Proposed (washingtonpost.com)
Information management is the key to reducing medical costs. Different hospitals and doctors often charge vastly different amounts for the same procedures and even have different success rates for these procedures. Insurance companies need as much information as possible to provide incentives for doctors to act in a cost effective manner. If a patient wants to pay for his own care than he should be able to have absolute privacy. If, however, he expects the government or his insurer to do so then it seems reasonable to me that he sacrifice some privacy to not impose too high a cost burden on others.

Tribunal Rules Aim To Shield Witnesses (washingtonpost.com)
Military tribunals trying terrorists will sensibly shield witnesses, judges and prosecutors to prevent retaliation. I have read that it's difficult to prosecute gang members because they retaliate against witnesses. I wonder if we should have similar shields for some civilian trials?. Implementing these shields would, of course, require amending the constitution.

Pope Relays Concern Over 'Sins' of Clergy (washingtonpost.com)
The Catholic Church and Arthur Andersen have a similar problem because their once pristine "brand names" are being damaged by the horrible actions of a very few individuals.

Let's Shakedown Colleges
Kenneth Timmerman's Shakedown exposes how Jesse Jackson extorted money from businesses. While the book shows that Jackson is immoral, it also establishes that he is brilliant. Perhaps conservatives should consider adopting some of his topics with respect to colleges. Jackson would tell a business, for example, that if blacks represent 15% of the customers blacks should get 15% of their jobs. Perhaps conservative / Republicans / Libertarians should tell colleges that if they give say 25% of contributions they should get 25% of the faculty positions. Next time your old college calls and asks for money, ask how many Republicans are on the faculty. If the number seems too low, don't give anything. If enough of those of us on the right did this, colleges would have to give in. (BY the way see my article on Campus Colors for a further discussion of politics in colleges.)

HOLLINGS SOUND BITES (From the WSJ)

Some of Senator Hollings' Remarks:

"You should draw a mushroom cloud and put underneath it: 'Made in America by lazy and illiterate workers and tested in Japan.'"

-- Advice to South Carolina factory workers in 1984, refuting Japanese criticism about American goods' quality

"The same place you bought your wig, Sam."

-- Reply to newsman Sam Donaldson, who, to test protectionist Hollings' fealty to U.S. goods, had asked where the senator bought his snazzy suit

"Clinton's as popular as AIDS in South Carolina."

-- A 1996 sample of Hollings' open disdain for the president from his party

"If they reach 60%, then he can start dating again."

-- Comment when polls showed a rise in Clinton's popularity later in 1996


Google Yanks Anti-Scientology Sites
The Soviet Union once unsuccessfully tried to claim copyrights on its dissidents books, so these books couldn't be published in the West. Google should now eliminate all official Scientology sites from their search engine.

Wednesday, March 20

Intel Exec: Moore's Law Keeps Going and Going
Whether Moore's law continues to hold will probably be the most significant factor shaping this century. If computer speeds keep " gaining 10 times the processing power every five years" then soon we will have computers with vastly greater processing power than humans possess. Such a world may well be beyond comprehension.



Will Boredom Doom Linux?
"Reviewing old code is tedious and boring so no one wants to do it." Linux relies upon volunteers to update its code. Some security flaws have been found in Linux and its code needs to be reviewed for further vulnerabilities. Alas, as the article points out, finding the flaws is extremely boring work. Microsoft can get its employees to do boring tasks because it pays them. Since Linux relies on volunteers it has no carrot by which to induce programmers to do things they don't like. Consequently, Microsoft's OS might soon be far more secure than Linux is. Some thought that Linux posed the biggest challenge to Bill Gate's empire. Perhaps this empire will now be saved by boredom.

China's Economic Facade (washingtonpost.com)
Could China be like Enron? China has been telling the world that it has been doing fairly well economically, but can we trust the Chinese government data?

Winner-Take-Some (washingtonpost.com)
George Will Column about how Republicans might push an initiative for California to allocate its electoral votes as Maine and Nebraska do. Currently, the Presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes in California wins all the electoral college votes. The initiative would presumably change this. Currently, since Democrats are so far ahead in California both parties will probably find it optimal to ignore California in the next Presidential election. If California eliminated their winner take all system, however, both parties would heap vast amounts of attention on California in 2004. Of course, such a move would devastate the Democratic candidate who would now not be able to get all of California's electoral college votes. If such an initiative had a chance, I'm sure getting it passed would become a top priority of the White House.

New List of Safe AIDS Drugs, Despite Industry Lobby
"World Health Organization today released its first list of manufacturers of safe AIDS drugs" many of which are generic versions of drugs produced in violation of U.S. patent laws. "The medicines on the list are approved for United Nations purchase."

Imagine that you run a pharmaceutical company. You could put your money into either searching for a cure for AIDS or baldness. If you find the cure for baldness, you get to keep all your patent rights. If, however, you find a cure for AIDS the United Nations and various left wing activists will do everything possible to limit your patent rights and will label you as evil and greedy if you try and make money off of your AIDS cure. What will you research?

Terrorists tried by military tribunals will have the right to remain silent
Why are we giving terrorists this right? The right was put in the U.S. constitution to protect against coerced confessions. However, we should be trying to coerce these men.

Home Alone in the Universe?
Extremely Interesting!

Stocks declined on profit-taking and weakness in the tech sector after an analyst cut his estimates for Intel. (WSJ)
I suspect that the WSJ has no idea whether profit-taking was a cause of the stock market downturn. How would it ever really be possible to know if people were selling stocks because they thought that the stock price was going to decline or because they were taking profits? There is a much higher percentage of B.S. in financial market reporting than in any other type of serious news.

NBC Drops Plans for Liquor Ads Amid Intense Political Criticism (WSJ)
So, this means that it is possible to use political pressure to get broadcasters to change their content. The next goal should be to get radio stations owned by big media companies to stop playing violent rap music.

Political Games

WSJ article today about how the debt limit needs to be raised to allow the federal government to borrow. The Democrats want Republicans to raise the limit so Democrats can use the issue in the 2002 elections. Here's my thought: attach to the debt limit bill a Senate rule requiring all judicial nominations to be considered by the full Senate within some given time period. If the Democrats block the bill the Republicans can blame the Democrats for hindering the war effort, closing national parks and endangering social security payments. When the Republicans and Clinton caused a government shut down, Congress got all of the blame. Bush is in an even stronger position than Clinton was because of the war and his popularity.


"Then Jackson made a blunder that would make him an object of ridicule and scorn across Africa: he compared guerrilla leader Foday Sankoh to Nelson Mandela."
"Comparing Nelson Mandela to a guy who was ripping arms off of babies was the biggest insult to Africa you could think of [said Sierra Leone ambassador Leigh." (Shakedown )


I just finished Kenneth R. Timmerman's Shakedown: exposing the real Jesse Jackson. The book is a devastating critique of Jackson. It's not a balanced account of him, however, but rather reads like a lawyer's brief. The book is extremely well documented and detail oriented. I didn't like Goldberg's book Bias because I already knew many of the facts presented. Almost all of the facts in Shakedown were new to me, however. The one problem with the book it that all of these details sometimes makes it a little boring. I would strongly recommend Shakedown for anyone interested in political science for the book provides a vivid description of political activism. The book also contains numerous details which further justify the beliefs of Clinton haters (such as me.)

Tuesday, March 19

Online Rants Not Always Free Speech
Fox News article about how people are getting sued for their online comments. Article claims that people treat online postings as similar to conversations and don't realize that they can get sued for what they post. I think that people should get sued if they make up extremely hurtful lies on the order of magnitude like he is a thief or murderer. Smith College has an online message board in which students often discuss their professors. Students should of course be able to write how their professor is mean, unfair and boring. If a student makes up a claim about a professor, which if proven true would get him fired, then I think that the professor should be able to sue the student. For knowledge workers income is often based upon reputation. If you knowingly seek to destroy someone's reputation by disseminating false information it would seem just that you be forced to compensate your victim. Of course, it's not really possible for most people to harm the reputations of the rich, famous or powerful. There should only be penalties for defaming people whom you can materially damage.

"The stated goal in the manual: The overthrow of the godless regimes and their replacement with an Islamic regime"
- Nightline reporting on the contents of a terrorist training manual. If true, it means that nothing, save destroying the terrorists or losing our religious freedom, will stop the terrorists. Certainly the manual implies that neither our Israeli policy, world economic inequality or anything else the far left complains of, was the cause of 9/11.

Pull Up a Chair
THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN writes in the NYT that the U.S. will need to "station American troops on the ground, indefinitely, around both Afghanistan and Israel" to have a successful middle eastern policy. If we put troops near Israel there will be some Palestinians who will want us out. They will shoot at us, and we will have to respond. There will then be American troops killing Palestinians and the Arab's hatred for America will grow. The Arab dictators are not trying to solve the Palestinian-Israeli crisis, rather they are looking for "others" to hate to deflect attention away from their own inadequacies. If America stations troops near Israel, the Arab governments will blame any conflict between America and the Palestinians on us and consequently U.S. Arab tensions will grow.

Pay for Content? Ha, Say Users
"Seventy percent of online adults surveyed by Jupiter, he said, can't understand why anyone would pay for any online content."

Why are people willing to pay for newspapers, magazines, and lottery tickets but not Online content? My theory: the content isn't good enough yet.
Of course, if most people are unwilling to pay for online news and if the online advertising market doesn't pick up then Internet news will be dominated by people willing to write for free (like bloggers) or ideologically driven organizations like the National Review Online. It's possible that the Internet will belong not to the big media companies but rather to those not driven by profits. As someone who likes capitalism, I'm a little worried about this.

Troubled economics of Web video
The article is about web sites charging for video on demand. I don't think this is going to work since consumers have been unwilling to pay for TV on demand.

Did 9/11 Snuff the European Left?
Great Slate article about the political troubles of the left in Western Europe.

Governor of Massachusetts Drops Election Bid
Now There Is Hope That Republicans Will Keep the Governership.

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Student Drug Tests
Why not test every high school student for drugs? If a student tests positive temporarily remove him from school and fine the parents. The army mostly eliminated drugs through testing and I suspect we could do nearly the same with our high school students.

Monday, March 18

Economically illiterate NYT Editorial
The editorial is about the lack of research going into infectious diseases that afflict poor countries. The NYT editorial fails to mention the main cause of this which is that intellectual property rights are often not respected in third world countries. If a pharmaceutical company did develop a cure for a disease that only afflicted people in poor countries, then it would likely have its profit stolen by companies that would make unlicensed copies of the drug.

The articles says "Government incentives such as the U.S. Orphan Drug Act have been crucial in stimulating the development of drugs for rare diseases in wealthy nations. The law does not help against tropical diseases because it encourages research in part by giving companies the right to charge very high prices for their new products." This is an extraordinarily silly claim. If a drug only afflicts poor people, then the profit maximizing price will be one that poor people can afford. It usually costs very little to make copies of drugs once a formula has been found. Consequently, if a pharmaceutical company could find a cure for a drug that afflicted say 20+ million it could make a large sum selling the drug for $10 each. Of course, once the pharmaceutical company developed the drug others would copy it and sell the drug for near the cost of production. Consequently, it would not be profitable for the pharmaceutical company to fund the basic research needed to find the formula

The editorial also suggests that "But it could be tweaked to be of use to the poor. A company that invents a treatment for a neglected disease, for example, could be given a patent extension on one of its lucrative drugs." As the NYT knows, extending patents on lucrative drugs would increase the cost of health care in the U.S. What's interesting is that on this same day Paul Krugman has a column in the NYT about how increased medical costs will hurt conservatives. (See next entry for a discussion of Krugman's editorial.) So, does the NYT want to deliberately raise health care costs to cause trouble for conservative?

Bad Medicine"Why do health care costs keep on rising? It's not because doctors and hospitals are greedy; it's because of medical progress."

Brilliant Krugman column about the trouble medical technology will cause conservatives. He correctly points out that if the government promises to provide the best available health care to everyone then costs are going to astronomically increase. He writes that conservatives will either have to accept bigger government or not provide top quality health care to seniors. I don't see a way out of this dilemma and I suspect that it would be politically unthinkable to ration health care to seniors. Of course, having this problem is somewhat of a blessing because it means that most of us will live longer and healthier lives.

Free Trade and New Zealand
Interesting WSJ article today about how New Zealand suffers because of other countries' trade restrictions. Although New Zealand practices free trade, other countries impose restrictions on its exports. The article quotes Philip Meguire who suggests that New Zealand join NAFTA. This is a great idea. The U.S. should actually let any democratic country committed to free trade join NAFTA. I bet such a policy would greatly anger the French because countries like Poland would then prefer to join NAFTA rather then wait to be found worthy to become a member of the EU.

London Times to charge for internet services This is good news for bloggers. If the traditional media starts charging, the Internet news world will belong to us.

Academics as well as accountants should be accountable (OpinionJournal)
Sadly, for me at least, the main reason that Academics are not held accountable is that most of our work doesn't matter. Consequently, nobody usually goes to the trouble of seeing whether we are being honest in our scholarly work.

More Than 80 Arrested in Internet Child Porn Sting (Fox News)
"We will diligently shut down any and all Web sites, e-groups, bulletin boards, and any other mediums that will foster the continued exploitation of our children."

There is a technological connection between efforts to stop Internet child porn and attempts to stop Internet intellectual property piracy. In both cases the government must overcome technology which is making it easier for people to communicate without the government eavesdropping. I'm surprise that the music companies haven't connected these two issues and claimed that efforts to stop music pirating will inevitably help the FBI stop illegal Internet pornography. Of course it will be easier to stop Internet child porn since the government can impose higher criminal sanctions on this than on intellectual property theft.

"The nine states seeking tougher antitrust penalties against Microsoft Corp. told a judge Monday the software giant should be forced to release the blueprints for its Web browser in order to spark competition in a market it illegally dominated." (WSJ)
Microsoft gives away its browser for free. The only benefit Microsoft gets from Internet Explorer comes from having more knowledge about its workings than other software companies do. When Microsoft designs products that use Explorer, it consequently has an advantage over other software makers. If you force Microsoft to release the blueprints for Explorer, the only way Microsoft could profit from its browser would be to start charging for its use.

Intuitive people worse at detecting lies (New Scientist)
The article claims that people who use gut instincts rather than reason are worse at determining who is lying. Perhaps this is why the emotionally driven left believed in Clinton for so long, while the more reason driven right recognized his true colors early on.

Who Is Responsible For 9/11
"The Church committee wiped out our domestic intelligence programs," says W. Raymond Wannall, who retired in 1976 as assistant FBI director in charge of counterintelligence programs. (From Shakedown 86-87) Shakedown also describes how Jackson and the ACLU joined in on attacking the U.S. intelligence community. The left waged a long war against the FBI and CIA and succeeded in weakening them. While they didn't want 9/11 to happen, their actions were a proximate cause of the attack. This is another part of the legacy of the 60s left. Their "sexual freedom" caused an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, their man are unnecessary feminism cause us massive numbers of illegitimate children and their paranoid fear of police agencies gave us 9/11. Also, although I have just read 90 page of Shakedown (which is about Jesse Jackson) is seems like an excellent book, much better written than the overhyped Bias.

Sunday, March 17

Upholding Moore’s Law Article says that Intel will spend $4.1 billion on R&D. This amount is trivial compared to what is spent by many federal programs, yet I bet this $4.1 billion will do far more good than most of these programs will.

My Take On the Death Penalty and Andrea Yates
If she really thought that her actions would make her children better off then I guess she shouldn't die even if she knew she was committing murder.

Saudis Rebuff U.S. Plans to Confront Iraq (washingtonpost.com)Wouldn't it be funny if Bush announced that the U.S. would no longer concern herself with Middle Eastern affairs. Imagine the terror that would strike the Saudi elite if they believed that America wouldn't protect them from Iraq.

Thatcher: Britain must start to quit EU
The U.S. should ask Britain to Join NAFTA. We should establish a free trade zone of democratic countries that don't want to give up sovereignty to a super-national body.

Jackson's Opposition to School Choice Hurts Black Families (Fox News)
The best argument for campaign finance reform is that while black Americas overwhelmingly support school choice, black political leaders almost unanimously oppose it. I suspect that money from liberal special interests groups (like unions) are the cause of this divergence.

America Must Signal That We Don't Care About World Opinion
On This Week it's reported that the Iraqi trade minister claimed the U.S. won't attack Iraq because we wouldn't get support from Europe or the Arab world. America wants Iraq to stop perfecting weapons of mass destruction. Iraq will only do this if they fear that America will attack. Consequently we must signal that we are willing to fight regardless of what our allies want.

NAACP Marches to NCAA Tournament to Protest Confederate Flag
If this issue represents one of the major civil rights problems of our day then we must have practically achieved a color blind society.

Saturday, March 16

In China, the Rich Seek To Become the 'Big Rich' (washingtonpost.com) The Marxist version of what capitalists are like is coming true in China. As the WP reports the rich in China "don't pay taxes. Most of them have two children because they don't need to obey Chinese family planning laws. They are completely free, probably freer than the rich in America." " and most of [the rich]made their first million by breaking the law." So, the affluent in China can ignore laws and taxes and got their start through crime or corruption. They are truly exploiting the masses.

Street fighting erupts after free-market EU summit "We're here to say 'no' to the European Union, which with each passing day is becoming a model for globalization and is more and more like the U.S. in favor of arms and war," Ada Colau, a spokeswoman for the organizers, told Reuters. Why are anti-globalization protestors often so stupid? Western European leaders obviously want the U.S. to have a weaker foreign policy and a strong EU would constrain America. Leftist like to link everything, but there is no connection between economic globalization and U.S. military involvements. We tend to get militarily involved in countries that have almost no economic significance, Kuwait being the exception but only because of oil.

NAACP Protests Confederate Flag (foxnews)
If this is a major civil rights issue then we must have an extremely healthy society.

From ArabNews.com: Saudis See Advantages In Free Press

"Girls "between 13 and 17, were trampled to death while trying to escape after a fire broke out at the four-story school building located in a narrow area in Makkah’s Hindawiya district."

" The press also charged that officials from the commission prevented Civil Defense men and other male volunteers from entering the school to rescue the girls for fear of “exposing females to male strangers.”

"Analysts believe that the Saudi media have played an important role in highlighting the school tragedy, reflecting a new trend of “openness” in the Kingdom in the wake of the terror attacks on the United States."

My Crazy Plan To Help Russia
Why not open boarders between Alaska and Siberia. This way Americans could set up factories in Alaska to use Russian Labor. Indeed, Russian businesses could set up shop in Alaska where they wouldn't have to worry about corruption.

Friday, March 15

For lawmakers, the aide writes, "War is not Hell; it's an opportunity."
WSJ article about how Congressmen from both parties are using the war to increase pork spending. The war could also give Bush an opportunity to reduce pork. Bush should announce that he won't let the war be used as an excuse to waste money, and promise to veto bills that contain too much pork. What could the Democrats do? They couldn't possibly threaten to close down the government in the current domestic climate. The Democrats would come off very badly in any major direct confrontation with Bush. The Democrats can oppose him on committees where most people don't follow what is happening. Thus, as long as budget fights stay below the radar the Democrats can use their control of the Senate to extract massive amounts of pork for their special interest groups. If Bush stood up to them, however, the Republicans could score a massive victory. I know that Bush wants to keep good relations with Democrats so he can keep their support for the war. However, the war is likely to go on for years and is extremely popular, thus it would be costly and unnecessary to give into Democrats for the duration.

Bush Seeks Foreign Aid Boost (washingtonpost.com)"Bush acknowledged that fighting global poverty is essential to a successful battle against terrorism" This is unfair to all the really poor countries in the world that seem to hold almost no ill will towards the U.S. Perhaps we should only give foreign aid to countries where hatred of America has never been promoted.

A Failure of Energy
NYT is upset that effort to increase fuel efficiency failed. Basic economics says, however, that if you increase fuel efficiency you lower the cost of driving. People will consequently drive more in fuel efficient cars and will create more traffic. A vastly superior way to conserve gas is to increase taxes on gas. Gas taxes unambiguously decrease peoples incentives to consume gas. I'm not saying that the government should raise gas taxes, rather that if one's goal is to conserve gas, then gas taxes are the way to go.

'A Beautiful Mind' Meets Ugly Oscar Tactics

I don't understand why people are concerned that a schizophrenia man made anti-Semitic remarks. In the book at least it showed that Nash was out of touch with reality when he made these remarks. The Arab press, however, knows exactly what it is doing when they denigrate Jewish people. The fact that there has been more media attention given to Nash's anti-Semitic remarks, then those made by the Arab press shows why Bloggers are needed.

Blood Libel (New! Special Dispatch No. 354)

In an article published by the Saudi government daily Al-Riyadh, columnist Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma of King Faysal University in Al-Dammam, wrote on "The Jewish Holiday of Purim." Following are excerpts of the article:

Special Ingredient For Jewish Holidays is Human Blood From Non-Jewish Youth.

"Before I go into the details, I would like to clarify that the Jews' spilling human blood to prepare pastry for their holidays is a well-established fact, historically and legally, all throughout history. This was one of the main reasons for the persecution and exile that were their lot in Europe and Asia at various times."

Isn't the implication of the last paragraph that the author believes that the holocaust was justified and should be continued?

Andrew Sullivan first noted the article but bloggers everywhere should publicize it. The best way for us to stop such hatred is to expose it and let the Saudis' know that such comments in their government press will influence our opinion of their character, honor and intelligence.

Thursday, March 14

Russia 'will stand by coalition even if Iraq is attacked'
But Will France?

Palestinian gunmen lynch collaborators

I saw a sign on the Smith Campus calling for solidarity with Palestinians against the Israeli military. I don't suppose anyone on the anti-Israeli left is bothered when the Palestinian "government" kills its own people for political reasons. I wonder why much of the far left on college campuses is so vehemently anti-Israeli? I don't think it results from dislike of Jewish people, but rather from hatred of America. Since Israel has chosen to be a strong U.S. ally, much of the America left naturally considers her to be evil.

Let's give Paris back to the Germans and East Berlin Back to the Russians.

Just kidding. However, you would think that after all the help we have given Western Europe they might provide us with more support against the Axis of Evil. We are trying to avoid the realistic scenario of Saddam giving atomic, chemical or biological weapons to death-worshiping anti-American terrorist groups. It would be nice if the people we have defended for over 50 years provided us with more support.

DRUG Ads
WSJ has a piece about how the "FDA Is Inundated Trying To Assess Drug Ad Pitches." The government must approve drug ads. Why don't free speech activists every worry about commercial speech? Liberals would fight to the death for my right to wear "Fuc- You" on a shirt, but not support a company who wanted to advertise the off label benefits of their drugs. If we can only get prescription drugs through a doctor, what's the harm in having misleading advertising? If the government didn't force itself to be the censor, I imagine that private organizations that evaluated drug maker's claims would gain prominence.


Pickering Nomination Rejected
Some Democrats admit that they rejected Judge Pickering for ideological reasons. While I would love to see more conservatives on the court, I think it's proper for the Senate to reject judges on ideological grounds. True, our founding fathers didn't intend for the Senate to impose an ideological test on nominees. However, the founding fathers probably also didn't foresee how political our courts would become. Operating from a veil of ignorance under which I don't know who is President, I would prefer that the Senate use ideological criteria, for political judges have the capacity to do far more harm than good. Furthermore, if ideology is openly acknowledged as a reason for rejecting judges, then their will be less incentives to attack personalities and demonize candidates.

The Latino Vote

Dynamist.com(vpostrel.com) writes "If Latinos do in fact tilt Texas politics in a Democratic direction, the national Democratic party is in for a big surprise " because Latinos are closer to Republicans than Democrats on many issues.
I'm not sure of this because on social issue Blacks are also more Republican than Democratic. The Democrats will try and use racial identity politics get a lock on the Latino vote. It might work.

Wednesday, March 13

COPYRIGHT PROBLEMS

Interesting NYT article on copyright protection. I suspect that there isn't much hope for content providers. As bandwidth increases, it will be just as easy to pirate movies as it is to download music. The likely rise of e-paper will cause many readers to download "free" novels rather than paying $30 at Amazon. I can't imagine many students spending $90 for a textbook that they could get for free from the Internet for their e-book. The only hope for content providers is if the government imposes massive limitations on hardware that makes it impossible to pirate anything. This seems like a draconian limitation, but it's probably the only way of saving a 100+ billion dollar industry. Interestingly, if nothing is done then we may achieve a sort of communistic content market where everyone takes according to their needs.

I teach at Smith College which is a private school near the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (UMass). Massachusetts is cutting funds to UMass and this is forcing UMass to cut staff and raise tuition. While many of my professor friends at UMass think the cuts are unfair, I think it's unfair for professors at Smith to have to pay taxes to support their competition. Furthermore, why should parents who send their children to private schools have their funds diverted to public colleges? Some people argue that we need public schools to support those who can't afford private colleges, but this is not true. First, most any U.S. citizen could take out loans to pay for college. Second, people who go to public colleges usually make more money than the average American does. Consequently, it's not just to force all Americans to subsidize the college tuition of those who go to public universities.

I just told my girlfriend that I have become a Blogger. She is rightfully concerned that this means I will devote even more time to conservative politics.

The publicizing of our plans to use nuclear weapons was brilliant. We need to send every possible signal to our enemies that if they use biological weapons we will respond with devastating force, perhaps using atomics.

The immigration mess-up was great news. It might give Bush some political cover to restrict "profiled" high risk immigrants.

Hi, I just created Conservative Economist. To the left are links to several articles I have published. The best is National Security First which advocates preemptive action against Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Libya if they don't stop perfecting weapons of mass destruction. I'm extremely proud that this was published in the National Review Online before The President's State of the Union Speech.