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Just say no

Although this piece from the USA Today still fails to grasp the overriding idea that the best designs arise from the bottom-up, it nevertheless makes some great points about NASA's failures over the last few decades. An excerpt: Read more »

On human shields, the 'system', and duty

Steven Den Beste's recent thoughts on human shields provides some fodder for some miscellaneous issues. Read more »

Privatization to blame for hurricane power outages?

From today's Washington Post Letters to the Editor section (bold mine):

Monday, September 22, 2003; Page A22

Now that the sky has cleared and the winds have died, Washingtonians should be asking how much of the dislocations we're suffering are attributable to weather beyond our control and how much to an under-funded, under-maintained infrastructure.

Broken windows everywhere

A nice article by Steven Yates appears today at the Mises Institute highlighting several examples of the Broken Window Fallacy in the recent media, along with an explanation of why it is bad economics.

A call for homeschooling decriminalization

With a title that sadly underscores the fact that even millions of years of evolution cannot keep even the most obvious of facts self-evident to do-gooders, Ariel Dillon of The Independent Institute writes about personal experiences as a homeschooled child and calls for the decriminalization of homeschooling. An excerpt: Read more »

Quote of the Day

Randy and Avi look into their cups. A weirdly glittering layer of scum is floating atop their coffee.

"It is gold," Furudenendu explains. Both of the Gotos laugh. "During the eighties, when Nippon had so much money, this was the fashion. Too ostentacious. But you go ahead and drink."

Randy and Avi do - a bit nervously. The gold dust coats their tongues, then washes down their throats.

"Tell me what you think," Goto Dengo demands.

"It's stupid," Randy says.
Read more »

Ask the business owner

In response to Brian of Peeve Farm's statement about business owners...

I had the following get stuck in my brain like a kidney stone, so here it is:

Q: What is the primary function of a business?

Liberal: To give jobs to employees.
Conservative: To make money for the stockholders.
Free-Floating Whatever: To create goods & services.

The economy needs more hurricanes

The Mises Blog points to the an article by Peter Carlson of the Washington Post in which certain quotes espouse the Broken Window Fallacy. Certainly, some businesses will benefit from the hurricane, but the overall effect has to be a priori negative. Otherwise, the economy would benefit from more hurricanes, earthquakes, war, and flooding.

Braving the elements


Why hokie fans are the best fans in the country:

BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 18 -- They played the game.

Is life just a roulette wheel?

Kevin Brancato writes a world-class rant against Brad DeLong's binary conception of misfortune and its remedy.

Waiting for Isabel

A recent examination of the visitor stastistics revealed that approximately 20-25% of our visitors come from outside the US. One of the bigger stories that those outside the US might not know much about is that there is a major hurricane, Isabel, headed toward the east coast as I write this. I have read estimates that as many as 50 million people are in its potential path. Read more »

Hodgson on 'left-libertarians'

Stephen Hodgson of Unpersons writes on the contradictions within the term 'left-libertarian'.

I would add that although the right often pays lip service to libertarian ideas, it does not implement them in policy, and is moving farther and farther away from any sort of connection. In the US, the Republican Party is not about smaller government, personal responsibility, free trade, sound money, or restraining government spending in practice and increasingly, nor in philosophy.

Red and blue all over again

Kevin Drum is understandably upset that the so-called 'red-states' in general spend more in federal tax money than they generate in tax revenue than the so-called 'blue-states'. And California, being of course one of the blue-states, is a net loser in this federal redistribution of taxes. How infuriating it must be to be a Californian.

Kevin concludes from this data that "red America is living on welfare, and the payments are coming from us commie symps in blue America." Read more »

Cancun editorial roundup

NY Times - The Cancun Failure

Washington Post - Cancun Collapse

New Zealand Herald - Breakdown at WTO dire for NZ

New Straits Times (Malaysia) - Triumph and defeat in Cancun Read more »

The falling man

Although the anniversary has come and gone, I just noticed this article in Esquire about what has become one of the most famous photographs in history. For me, the most poignant memory of 9/11 was the people jumping out of the buildings. What goes on in a person's mind in that moment of decision, when the choice of jumping appears preferable to staying put? Read more »