Global warmism

October 18, 2009

Does anyone still want to argue that this is not a religion?  This is not the language of scientific dispute.

The decline and fall of the American Empire

October 18, 2009

Crime edition.  This is really the headline: "Is political correctness to blame for lack of coverage over horrific black-on-white killings in America's Deep South?"

With honest headlines like that, maybe I'll have to start getting all my US news from British papers.

Statistical journalism

October 17, 2009

This is a great piece of (Saileresque) statistical journalism on affirmative action and law.  Journalism like this deserves support.

The decline and fall of the American Empire

October 16, 2009

State-worship/decline-of-religion edition (note I’m an atheist):

Many Americans now believe many things about their government that are false, and they expect much from the government that the rulers cannot provide. The public at large embraces myths about what the government can do, what it actually does, and how it goes about doing it. . . . Lacking a true religious faith yet craving one, many Americans have turned to the state as a substitute god, endowed with the divine omnipotence required to shower the public with something for nothing in every department – free health care, free retirement security, free protection from hazardous consumer products and workplace accidents, free protection from the Islamic maniacs the U.S. government stirs up with its misadventures in the Muslim world, and so forth. If you take the government to be Santa Claus, you naturally want every day to be Christmas; and the bigger the Santa, the bigger his sack of goodies. This prevailing ideology constitutes probably the most critical obstacle to reductions in the government’s size, scope, and power. Getting rid of this ideology will be diabolically difficult, if possible at all.

The decline and fall of the American Empire

October 16, 2009

British edition (so what?):

Meanwhile, honest, hard-working taxpayers are financially punished so that the feckless can carry on abusing public money.  The destructive absurdities of the welfare state have been graphically highlighted by new official figures which show that three quarters of claimants on incapacity benefit are perfectly capable of holding down jobs. no less than £11billion a year is now drained from the public purse by almost two million spongers who are faking their illnesses or disabilities so that they do not have to look for work. . . .

One of the remarkable achievements of modern British social security is to have created more apparently disabled people in this country than the blood-stained carnage of the First World War. . . .

It is telling that more than 1.1 million incapacity claimants are not suffering from any physical disability at all, but get their handouts by moaning about problems like “stress” and “depression”. . . .

By far the greatest outrage is the money dished out to more than 100,000 alcoholics and drug addicts. It is the height of lunacy and immorality for the state to pay people to continue with their dangerous habits. . . .

[Here comes democracy to the rescues . . . er . . . nevermind] The Tories did nothing to tackle these abuses during their last spell in office, because the unemployment figures could be massaged by categorising claimants as  “disabled.” Labour has been even more cynical, because the party has seen electoral advantage in the creation of a vast client army which owes its living to the socialist state.

What’s the word I’m looking for?

October 16, 2009

This letter from Professor Boudreaux is spot on:

Africa’s root problem is not a scientific one, and so it cannot be solved by science.  Africa’s root problem – including its inadequate infrastructure – lies in its social institutions.  Unusually corrupt governments, insufficiently secure property rights, and suffocating restraints on trade and industry make the application of advanced technologies in Africa unprofitable.

If only someone could come up with a system in which African countries would be better governed, by governors who had sufficient respect for property rights and free movement of goods, services and people.  I wonder what such a system would be called . . .

Hint: it starts with a "c" and rhymes with olonialism.

The decline and fall of the American Empire

October 15, 2009

One party state edition:

We can expect a number of interest groups would have the government pressure Citigroup not to underwrite M&A deals that would bring value to Citigroup as a result.  Citigroup has already agreed to limit its visa program to hire foreign workers. Citigroup loans money so that people can buy houses, the government subsidizes loans so that people who cannot otherwise afford to buy houses can do so.  We can expect that the government will pressure Citigroup to subsidize loans to select groups at an interest rate lower than the risk of the loan would suggest, thus losing money for Citigroup and causing it to violate its fiduciary duty to its shareholders.

Government ownership in banks is prevalent around the globe, and the evidence is that this happens with reckless abandon.  In Italy, for instance, banks with substantial state ownership lend at lower rates, for loans of similar terms and risk, in regions important to the ruling coalition in Parliament.  Based on this evidence, we should expect to see Citigroup, and other TARP recipients, subsidize lending in battleground states as a result of  the government’s controlling interest in TARP recipients combined with the sovereign immunity it enjoys.

The decline and fall of the American Empire

October 15, 2009

Diversity edition:

Leaders of the Maryland NAACP, worried that a Baltimore mayor's criminal conviction could result in the appointment of a white or Republican leader who may not fully represent the majority black and Democratic city, are asking state lawmakers to strip the governor of authority to permanently fill the office. . . .

Marvin L. Cheatham, the president of the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP, introduced the resolution because he heard an attorney on a radio program discussing a lack of clarity on succession if Dixon were to be convicted and sentenced.

"Our concern is who would the governor appoint?" Cheatham said. "Here you have a predominantly African-American city. What if the governor appointed somebody white? . . . Would he appoint someone Irish to be the mayor?"

Can you be too smart?

October 15, 2009

Maybe, if you go into finance.

Note to self

October 14, 2009

Don’t move to the Caribbean:

“When I originally thought of New Orleans, I was conditioned by the press to think of it as an extremely ill-governed city, full of ill-educated people, with a great deal of crime, a great deal of dirt, a great deal of poverty,” said Duany, who grew up in Cuba. “And when I arrived, I did indeed find it to be all those things. Then one day I was walking down the street and I had this kind of brain thing, and I thought I was in Cuba. Weird! And then I realized at that moment that New Orleans was not an American city, it was a Caribbean city. Once you recalibrate, it becomes the best-governed, cleanest, most efficient, and best-educated city in the Caribbean. New Orleans is actually the Geneva of the Caribbean.”

But this is interesting:

“They have such a profound misunderstanding of the culture of the Caribbean that they’re destroying it. The heart of the tragedy is that New Orleans is not being measured by Caribbean standards. It’s being measured by Minnesota standards.”