November 1, 2007The time for wimpy, squishy, liberal environmentalism is past. The crisis is so deep that it's time to take more, shall we say, "serious" steps. So seems to be the attitude of one apparently committed environmentalist DownUnder.
A man has been charged with murder in Australia after an elderly man who was watering his garden was bashed to death in an apparent case of suburban water-rage.
Australia is in its sixth year of severe drought and most towns and cities have imposed strict limits on household water use, prompting a rise in suburban arguments and neighbors informing authorities about those who waste water.
In the latest incident, police said 66-year-old Ken Proctor was using a hose to water the front lawn of his suburban Sydney home when a man walking past made a remark...
October 30, 2007How you can profit from the coming nuclear holocaust will likely be the next publication by the conservative site Newsmax. After all, it just sent out a message from Jarrett Wollstein of Intelligent Options:
Iran War Danger Creates Huge
In the last few days, the danger of expanded war in the Middle East has greatly increased.In Northern Iraq, Turkish troops intensified attacks on Kurds, creating a new danger of intense warfare in this previously largely peaceful area. Also, just yesterday, the Bush administration announced major new...
October 30, 2007It appears that the Communist Party of China occasionally makes a mistake. Too bad millions of people already have paid a price and millions more are likely to get stuck with the bill as well.
Reports The Times of London:
October 30, 2007The health care mess is complicated. It's a strange mix of government and private, with perverse tax incentives skewing the entire system. Handing the whole thing to government with the injunction "run this" might seem like the simple answer. But it sure isn't the rational response.
Just consider the state of socialized systems abroad. Obviously, American health care has more than its share of horror stories. But go where the government runs things and you lose virtually any control over the system.
Consider the state of dentistry in Great Britain. According to the Guardian:
October 29, 2007The problems of the health care system are many and complex--burdensome state regulation, massive federal programs, counterproductive tax incentives, and the popular presumption that health care is a "right." Making sense of the mess is extraordinarily complex, which means it is easy for advocates of increased government control to make simple promises, such as "universal" coverage and "free" care.
Yet the market continues to work, and the development of consumer-directed care is an enormous positive. As patients control more of their health-care destinies, companies are responding by providing them with more information. For instance, consumers will soon be able to rely upon Zagat-style ratings of doctors.
Reports USA Today:
October 29, 2007It's time to pull out the world's smallest violin for The Nation magazine. They are lefties, but at a time when the conservative establishment is promoting Big Government at every opportunity, as well as restricting civil liberties, increasing military spending, and launching unnecessary wars, I've grown fond of lefties.
But not too fond. The Nation, like other small publications, is worried about an impending postage rate increase. They naturally think the increase is outrageous, though they can offer no evidence for that position, other than the fact that, well, they can't afford to pay more. As Teresa Stack, The Nation's president, was kind enough to inform me via email:
October 29, 2007Trade sanctions are a favorite foreign policy tool, but they don't have a very good record. It's hard to find a case where sanctions forced a regime to change policy against its perceived interest. Even the best of cases, such as South Africa, there were many factors in play. The ban on oil sales against Iraq reduced the regime's revenue, but did not drive Saddam Hussein from power.
The tragedy in Burma, or Myanmar, has raised the issue yet again. The U.S. already has a stiff sanctions regime; the Europeans impose less exacting standards. But other nations--China, India, Thailand--blissfully trade and invest with Burma.
October 26, 2007It may be a forlorn hope that politicians of either party will ever be truly fiscally responsible, opposing spending programs that either are not authorized by the Constitution or, even if authorized, are unwise. The temptation to take advantage of the taxpayer for electoral purposes is too strong.
But the very same politicians might act like fiscal hawks if they fear that their constituents will find out whenever they tap the public till for political purposes. Amanda Kathryn Hydro of the Reason Foundation and Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center in Seattle propose what they call "Google government":
October 26, 2007There's nothing new about partisans playing hardball when it comes to politics. But it is unusual when partisans attempt to jail their opponents. That apparently has become the preferred tactic in Oklahoma, where state Attorney General Drew Edmondson has indicted three taxpayer activists for supposedly violating a statute that only allows "residents" to circulate initiative petitions.
It always seemed clear that this was a political hit job--for instance, one of the Oklahoma 3, Paul Jacob, long discomfited politicians by pushing for term limits. Now the evidence seems irrefutable. It turns out that when the issue of the residency requirement was raised by opponents of an initiative to ban cock-fighting.
Explains the Oklahoma Gamefowl Breeders Association:
October 16, 2007Government finances are suffering, spending on the Iraq war continues to escalate while Social Security and Medicare continue to head over the financial cliff. Yet states and localities continue to throw money at the owners of sports franchises. The poor billionaire sports moguls--whatever would they do if they couldn't force taxpayers to give them land and build them stadiums?
A number of activists are pressing Uncle Sam to step in to ban competitive state looting of their citizens in order to attract sports franchises. Reports the Associated Press:
Cities and states are offering billions in financial incentives to build stadiums to keep professional sports teams while neglecting bridges, roads and schools, advocates charged Wednesday.
Congress should end the ''economic war'' among the...