"There are men, in all ages, who mean to exercise power usefully; but who mean to exercise it. They mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters." Daniel Webster

Thursday, April 30, 2009

More on Chinese with Western Names

At Gene Expression, Razib writes:

Chinese in China naturally have less of a need to assert their "authenticity," so why not adopt what needs to be adopted?

The Three Best Sentences I've Read This Week

Roger Koppl writes:
Some of us do think that designer labels will save our souls. That’s bad. But it’s a whole lot better than thinking that, say, the F├╝hrer will save your soul, or a crusade against the infidels, or nationalism, or a host of other collective salvations.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Barack Obama's First 100 Days

Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie review the president's performance and find him to be self-absorbed and out of touch.

Swine Flu in Perspective

It has been a little more than two weeks since the first confirmed case of swine flu was detected in Mexico. Since then there have been eight confirmed deaths, worldwide, from the swine flu and about 150 suspected deaths from the disease.

In that same time period, some 9,600 to 19,200 people across the world have died from regular flu.

As I write this, there has been one confirmed death in the United States from swine flu, a Mexican infant whose family was visiting this country. In the last two weeks, there have been about 1,600 deaths in the United States from regular flu.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Golden Eagles Hunting Wolves

What's Up with People in China Having American Names?

Huan Hsu wants to know.

She's the Best the GOP Can Do?

Jerry Taylor shows what's wrong with Sarah Palin's energy plan.

Luck, Wealth and Immigration

Economist David Henderson advises the government on how to help create wealth and reduce bad luck.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Moving Away From Fossil Fuels? Not Hardly

Peter Huber writes:

China, not the United States, is now the planet’s largest emitter. Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and others are in hot pursuit. And these countries have all made it clear that they aren’t interested in spending what money they have on low-carb diets. It is idle to argue, as some have done, that global warming can be solved—decades hence—at a cost of 1 to 2 percent of the global economy. Eighty percent of the global population hasn’t signed on to pay more than 0 percent.

The Immigration Fallacy

Will Wilkinson writes:

Here is what Toronto is not: Toronto is not dirty, dangerous, or poor. Toronto is not a hell of lost liberties or a babble of cultural incoherence or a ruin of failed institutions. Yet a popular argument against high levels of immigration suggests it should be.

Nearly half the denizens of Canada's most populous metropolis were born outside the nation's borders—47 percent according to the 2006 census, and the number is rising. This makes Toronto, the fifth biggest city in North America, also the most diverse city in North America. Neither Miami, Los Angeles, nor New York City can compete with Toronto's cosmopolitan credentials.

Here is what Toronto is: the fifth most livable city in the world. So said The Economist Intelligence Unit in a report last year drawing on indicators of stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure. (The Economist's world champion of livability, Vancouver, harbors a treacherous 40 percent foreign-born population.) Toronto is wealthy, healthy, well-educated, and much safer than any sizable American city. In 2006, its murder rate was 2.6 per 100,000 residents, which makes it less than half as deadly as Des Moines, Iowa. The most culturally mixed city on the continent truly is one of Earth's closest approximations of urban paradise.

Kyle Maynard Fights MMA

Do I need to add that Alabama doesn't have an athletic commission?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

We Need an Immigration Stimulus

The Wall Street Journal says that "a recession is exactly when we want innovative outsiders." The Journal reports:
Immigrants have had a disproportionate role in innovation and technology. Companies founded by immigrants include Yahoo, eBay and Google. Half of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants, up from 25% a decade ago. Some 40% of patents in the U.S. are awarded to immigrants. A recent study by the Kauffman Foundation found that immigrants are 50% likelier to start businesses than natives. Immigrant-founded technology firms employ 450,000 workers in the U.S. And according to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants have started one quarter of all U.S. venture-backed firms.

Questions for Protectionists

Economist Don Boudreaux wants some answers.

No Change. No Hope

Co. Andrew Bacevich on Obama's foreign policy.

Here's more from The American Conservative's Daniel Larison.

Worst. Russian. Accent. Ever.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

RIP Bea Arthur

Richer Is Greener

The New York Times John Tierney writes

When the first Earth Day took place in 1970, American environmentalists had good reason to feel guilty. The nation’s affluence and advanced technology seemed so obviously bad for the planet that they were featured in a famous equation developed by the ecologist Paul Ehrlich and the physicist John P. Holdren, who is now President Obama’s science adviser.
Their equation was I=PAT, which means that environmental impact is equal to population multiplied by affluence multiplied by technology. Protecting the planet seemed to require fewer people, less wealth and simpler technology — the same sort of social transformation and energy revolution that will be advocated at many Earth Day rallies on Wednesday.
The old wealth-is-bad IPAT theory may have made intuitive sense, but it didn’t jibe with the data that has been analyzed since that first Earth Day. By the 1990s, researchers realized that graphs of environmental impact didn’t produce a simple upward-sloping line as countries got richer. The line more often rose, flattened out and then reversed so that it sloped downward, forming the shape of a dome or an inverted U — what’s called a Kuznets curve.
In dozens of studies, researchers identified Kuznets curves for a variety of environmental problems. There are exceptions to the trend, especially in countries with inept governments and poor systems of property rights, but in general, richer is eventually greener.

More here and here.

Former Pirate Hostage Blasts Limbaugh

He doesn't sound pleased with Rush.

And While the Bush Administration Put All Our Eggs in the Iraq Basket

Pakistan grew close to collapse.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I've Had Days Like This

Japanese museum curator breaks 2,200-year-old relic.

The Overpopulation Myth

I missed it on Earth Day. But the folks over at the Master Resource blog reprinted Julian Simon's "Happy Earth Day" letter from 1995. Julian was a great economist who always knew that man is "the ultimate resource" (which inciddentally was the title of one of his books). Julian is most famous for winning a bet from congenital doomsayer Paul Ehrlich on the scarcity of various resources.

I've noted before that it says something sad about humankind that optimists who are consistently right, such as Julian, are given less respect and acclaim than pessimists who are often wrong, such as Ehrlich.

What Earth Day Means to Me

I'm a bit late in linking to essay by Don Boudreaux.

Judge OKs Government Theft

The federal government's so-called border fence will go cut Eloisa Tamez's property in half. The government will pay only for the part the fence sits on, even though she will lose all access to that on the other side of the fence.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Internal Passport National ID Not Dead

The Cato Institute says reports of the REAL ID act's demise are exaggerated.

You Haven't Heard Much About This From the Republican Echo Chamber

A congresswoman caught on tape with an Israeli national (and suspected Israeli agent) offering to intervene in the espionage trial of two employees of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee if the agent will put pressure on Nancy Pelois to get here the top slot on the House intelligence committee. Supposedly, a wealthy Jewish businessman would cut off his funding of Pelosi if she didn't act.

Philip Giraldi has more here and here.

DHS's Bogus E-Verify Statistics

The Cato Institute says don't believe what the government tells you. Always good advice.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Skeptical Prophet

John Tierney has a nice remembrance of former Nature editor John Maddox. I've often wondered why optimists such as the late Julian Simon, who was usually right, are not regarded as well by the public as pessmists such as Paul Ehrlich, who was generally wrong in his predictions.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is Their a Right to Immigrate?

Philosopher Michael Huemer says yes.

HT: Bryan Caplan.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Was the Tea Party Movement Hijacked?

Roderick Long answers the question.

First They Banned Gay Marriage

Now, Nebraska isn't letting some straight people get married.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Was the Tea Party movement Hijacked?

Lew Rockwell has more.

Queens of the Mexican Drug Cartels

There's something about a pretty lady with lots of guns and cash.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Has the Tea Party Movement Been Hijacked?

Mark Thompson says yes.

Radley Balko has more. As does Andrew Sulliivan.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Singer Wows Judges, Becomes Internet Sensation

If you haven't heard of Susan Boyle yet, watch this clip. (Sorry YouTube has disabled embedding on this one).

At first, I thought it was a set up, a little too rags-too-riches to be true. But Collette Douglas Home has more, and if what she writes is accurate, this is quite remarkable.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting Super Seniors to Graduate

San Jose State University says that 1,500 students have been seniors at that school for at least three years. Two of them have been on senior status for 15 years. Sounds like some people I went to college with.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

U.S. Citizens Held as Illegal Immigrants

The Associated Press reports:

end up in detention because the system is overwhelmed, acknowledged Victor Cerda, who left Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2005 after overseeing the system. The number of detentions overall is expected to rise by about 17 percent this year to more than 400,000, putting a severe strain on the enforcement network and legal system.

The result is the detention of citizens with the fewest resources: the mentally ill, minorities, the poor, children and those with outstanding criminal warrants, ranging from unpaid traffic tickets to failure to show up for probation hearings. Most at risk are Hispanics, who made up the majority of the cases the AP found.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Telling the Smart and Entrepreneurial to Stay Away

The New York Times looks at how U.S. immigration law hurts Silicon Valley.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

U.S. Citizens Caught in Immigration Sweeps

The story about the guy who was deported, arrested when he tried to re-enter the United States and spend five years in prison for it is particularly infuriating. Only when he was scheduled for release did ICE review his files and figure that, yes, he was a U.s. citizen all along.

Atlas Shrugged and the Tea Party Revolt

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Refusing Battle

Drawing upon lessons from the U.S. Civil War, World War I and other major conflicts, Col. Douglas MacGregor writes in the Armed Forces Journal:
America’s experience since 2001 teaches the strategic lesson that in the 21st century, the use of American military power, even against Arab and Afghan opponents with no navies, no armies, no air forces and no air defenses, can have costly, unintended strategic consequences. Put in the language of tennis, the use of American military power since the early 1960s has resulted in a host of “unforced errors.” Far too often, national decision-making has been shaped primarily by the military capability to act, not by a rigorous application of the purpose/method/end-state strategic framework.

Decision-making of this kind explains why Operation Iraqi Freedom never had a coherent strategic design. The capability to remove Saddam Hussein was enough to justify action in the minds of American leaders who assumed that whatever happened after Baghdad fell to U.S. forces, American military and civilian contractor strength would muddle through and prevail. It’s also why U.S. forces were kept in Iraq long past the point when it was clear that the American military and contractor presence in Iraq was a needless drain on American military and economic resources.

The superficial thinking informed by a fanciful view of American history and international relations that gave birth to the occupation of Iraq is not a prescription for American prosperity and security in the 21st century.

South Africa's Next President

Jacob Zuma sounds like such a nice fellow.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Forget the Past

I don't see how it he call Barack Obama a moderate, but Andrew Sullivan has some interesting things to say about the GOP.

Obama Aims at Mexico, Hits Oregon

The trade war the Democrats have ignited hits pear farmers

Monday, April 6, 2009

They Are Wily Animals

HT: Andrew Sullivan

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Tony Schiavone Has a Blog

He's now an announcer for the Gwinnett Braves.

Why Creditors Should Suffer

Economist Tyler Cowen says the Obama administration's financial bailout may be laying the seeds for even more problems in the future.

Obama Has Some Tough Decisions to Make

Saturday Night Live takes what could have been a decent three-minute opener and stretches it to five minutes.

Play Him Off, Keyboard Cat

The Banker Who Said No

Forbes reports that banker Andrew Beal sat out the easy money lending spree on the early part of this century.

Amid one of the most reckless lending sprees in history, regulators focused on the one bank that refused to play along. Beal's moves confused and worried them, and so they began to probe him with questions. "What are you doing?" he recalls them asking. "You're shrinking yet you're raising capital?"

Says Beal about the scrutiny, "I just didn't fit into any box." One regulator, the former head of the Texas Savings & Loan Department, Charles Danny Payne, says, "I was skeptical at first, but I've gained a lot of confidence over the years," adding that Beal has an "uncanny ability to sniff out deals."

Next, the credit rating agencies started pestering him about his dwindling loan portfolio. They never downgraded him but scolded him for seeming not to have a "sustainable" business model. This while their colleagues were signing off on $32 billion of bum collateralized debt obligations issued by Merrill Lynch.

Now, he's expanding and picking off underpriced assets. Is the government helping him now? Not on your life.

U.S. Attacks Former Allies in Iraq

Get ready for the stabbed in the back claims from neo-cons and the Republican echo chamber.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Down With Adolescence

The Classically Liberal blog argues against treating teens as children.
Consider the case of the great Revolutionary War hero and classical liberal, the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette, at 14 was engaged to his future wife, then 12. Two years later they married. As a wedding gift the 16-year-old was made a captain and given command of a company in the Nailles Dragoons when he turned eighteen, a command he accepted. At about this time Lafayette also became a father. Instilled with a belief in radical liberalism Lafayette recruited some friends and the band head to the American colonies to help end the rule of the British monarchy. At 19 he was made a Major General by the American forces. Under today’s laws General Lafayette would have been arrested after his engagement as a sex offender, given the age of his wife.

For the record, Lafayette’s wife, Adrienne, was also a liberal and once wrote that she considered the term “fanatic for liberty” to be a compliment. When, some years later, her husband was captured in battle by the Austrians she travelled to Austria so she could be imprisoned with him for two years until his release. She remained with her husband until her death in 1807. Apparently she never realized she was a “victim” and her husband a “perpetrator.”

HT: Jason Kuznicki

Japan Appoints New Ambassadors of Cute

No, really.

The Rise of Hyper-Local News

Some Web-based businesses are thriving despite the recession.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Cato Institute blogger Jim Harper notes a new study says electronic employment verification system will cost $10 billion a year.

How to Save Nato? Get Out

Col. Adnrew Bacevich nails it again.

You'll Never Hear About This From The Republican Echo Chamber

Where this guy remains a top draw regardless of how the outside world now sees him.

HT: Radley Balko.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Is Iraq Unraveling?

Tom Ricks isn't the only one asking that question. Violence is starting to pick up and the government is starting to turn on the so-called Awakening forces rather than bring them into the armed forces as promised.

Many observers argued that "the Surge" didn't really change anything in that country. What really counted was Al Qaeda overstepping itself and alienating the Sunniy population and the United States paying off insurgents not to fight it. Those factors papered over but did not change the fundamental fractures in the country. Daniel Larison says the Surge's failure was predicted years ago.

Andrew Sullivan has more.

But the Republican echo chamber and neo-cons have already been wroking on their "stabbed in the back" argument. The Surge, they'll argue, did work until it was undercut by the evil and incompentent Obama administration.

Upside Down Flags Again

During the Clinton years, some conservatives flew their flags upside down in protest of his presidency. That was a legitimate use of a symbol of distress.

Then, during the Bush years, some left-wingers flew them upside down to protest the Iraq War or crackdowns on illegal immigration. Right-wingers said that was unAmerican.

Now, some conservatives are flying their flags upside down again. It's apparently no longer unAmerican. It is once more a legitimate use of a symbol of distress.