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Let the games begin

An 'independent' central bank and a new currency will be created for Iraq.

"The officials who used to steal most of Iraq's resources, and misuse what little was left have gone," [L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq] said in a radio and TV broadcast outlining the economic plans. "All of Iraq's resources will now be spent on you, the Iraqi people, and on projects which directly benefit you."

Why am I skeptical?

<i>Order of the Phoenix</i> = <i>Atlas Shrugged</i>?

Brian and Natalie Solent aren't the only ones who see libertarian themes in the latest Harry Potter book. Mindles H. Dreck compares it to Atlas Shrugged, and likens Dumbledore to Hank Rearden.

N. Z. Bear now has traffic stats

For any blogs that use SiteMeter, N. Z. Bear now has blog rankings based on daily traffic. I'm not sure how accurate the actual site visit numbers are. Our webhost has a control panel which (I think) uses two separate stats services - Awstats and Webalizer stats. Awstats has our visits as being more than double Sitemeter's statistics, and Webalizer is almost triple. Read more »

What is the endgame?

From the Denver Post:

The War on Drugs is confusing for the soldiers fighting it. The local warriors made a bust here a couple of years ago, and they wanted to keep it secret. I don't like secrets, especially when someone has been thrown in jail. I wanted to know who was arrested and why the person was arrested. The old undersheriff was reluctant to share that information with the newspaper.

Government information awareness

In response to the US government's Total Information Awareness program, a professor and graduate student at MIT have created Government Information Awareness. [via The SmarterCop] Read more »

Well wishes from Samizdata

Jonathan Pearce of Samizdata has some flattering words for America from across the pond. It is a credit to the culture of the Anglosphere that the British people and the American people have largely forgiven and forgotten the wars of 200 years ago, while collectivist societies in other parts of the world are still mired in perpetual animosities and tribal warfare dating back thousands of years.

Happy 4th of July!

What are we celebrating?

minuteman.jpgWhen the rumblings began in the Colonies, they began as whispers of discontent. The ideas of freedom soon spread like wildfire from person to person, growing to a palpable bulge under the surface of British rule. Read more »

Smoking and the Harm Principle

I thank Pietro of The SmarterCop for highlighting Catallarchy on his blog in response to our entry in the New Blog Showcase. Scrolling down his front page, I noticed a post in response to the Florida smoking ban. Read more »

Kinsley on marriage and the state

Michael Kinsley agrees with what I've seen is a growing viewpoint in the blogosphere - that the debate about gay marriage should not be about gay vs. straight, but rather about society vs. state. [via Unqualified Offerings] Read more »

Dreck on the Constitution

Mindles H. Dreck has a follow-up post to an earlier entry on the Constitution, the nature of rights, and the too easily forgotten Ninth Amendment. Like Mindles, I see rights as being 'freedom from' rather than 'right to', i.e., a right of property does not mean that you can do whatever you want to with your property, but rather that others may not interfere with your property. Read more »

Haspel on 'Brights'

Richard Dawkins, inventor of the the word 'meme', is at it again. He has now come up with the concept of 'Brights' (a meme?), which according to his website are people "who have a naturalistic worldview." Although I use the word 'meme' in my writing, I am not convinced that it is valid as a meaningful concept. Aaron Haspel has some thoughts on the inherently loaded concept of 'Brights', its redundancy, and the resulting debasement of the English language.

Exploitation or commerce?

Adam Young has a great article at the Mises Institute website about Andre Jehan, a restaurant owner in the Portland area who hired homeless individuals to hold up advertisement signs for the restaurant for 40 minutes in exchange for a slice of pizza, drinks, and a few dollars. In response, others working on behalf of advocate groups like Ralph Nader and Gary Ruskin demanded that they be paid minimum wage.

"If they don't get minimum wage, this is exploitation," [Ruskin] said.

Lucas on college and life

Rachel Lucas is getting ready to graduate college and writes about her experience 'paying her dues'. Read more »

Democracy? Just say no

As I've written before, one of the most dangerous ideas prevalent in modern political culture is the widespread glorification of democracy. 1xdf.gifContrary to popular belief, the Founders did not create a democracy; rather they studied the great societies of history and did everything they could to prevent democracy from arising in America. Read more »

And you thought Homeland Security was bad

The AISO, Australia's central intelligence agency, spies on its citizens much more than the governments of the US or Britain, according to this article.

Australian police forces are using electronic surveillance at 27 times the per capita rate of their US counterparts. The 2514 court warrants issued for phone taps last financial year -- almost double that issued in the US -- was a tenfold increase in the past decade and a 16 per cent rise on the previous year.