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  • Breast-Related Assurances from the First Lady of Illinois

    November 28, 2006
    Some Illinois political observers are raising their eyebrows about a stack of greeting cards that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office sent out before the election congratulating new parents on their bundles of joy (and reminding them to get their kids immunized). The implication here being that Blagojevich wanted to spend a little government money to get his name in front of potential voters just before the election. I kind of doubt that, but in any case, focusing on that ignores the much more amusing angle, which is that many of the cards were delivered over a year late:
    "I thought it was laughable," said 29-year-old Andrew Fitzgibbon of Lincoln. "Here my daughter is turning 1 and I get something...
  • Money Violates Civil Rights Laws, Court Rules

    November 28, 2006
    A federal judge in Washington, D.C. has just ruled that America's money bills, such as $1, $10, and $100 bills, discriminate against the blind, in violation of the federal Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits the federal government and recipients of federal funds from discriminating against the disabled. Unlike some foreign currencies, such as the Euro, American money bills don't vary in size, color, or texture based on denomination, making it harder for blind people to distinguish them.  Blind people often end up folding each denomination differently in order to keep track of them.   The Rehabilitation Act has been construed to require agencies to make "reasonable accommodation" for the disabled unless doing so would cause "undue hardship."  The American Council for the Blind argued...
  • Marketing principles involves having them

    November 28, 2006
    The current direction of the Conservative Party leadership in the UK could serve as a case study of how not to implement value-based communication (VBC).  The idea of VBC is that you tune how you market your principles and policies to reflect the values people feel are most important in choosing leaders and/or policies.  According to the classification of the late Aaron Wildavsky, there are three main values groups: libertarians, who value freedom; hierarchists, who value order; and egalitarians, who value fairness.  Bill Clinton was a master in portraying his policies as reflecting all three values. Now it is certainly true that the British Conservative Party was failing dismally in matching its policies to voter values.  In the manifesto for the last election in 2005, by my calculation, 5 of the 6 main policies were marketed as hierarchist policies, 1 as libertarian and none...
  • What Spam? It's against the law.

    November 28, 2006
    The European Union claims that unsolicited email --spam-- accounts for between 50 and 80 percent of all Internet traffic. But that can't be true, because a 2002 EU directive outlawed spam. Worse, an EU spokesman yesterday called the United States the biggest offender, blaming us for 22 percent of the torrent. That can't be true either, since here in the U.S. we passed the CAN-SPAM Act in 2003, and as everyone knows, especially the politicians and activists who pushed for that legislation, there isn't any spam here anymore.
  • Zimbabwe military wants "to listen" to make people safe

    November 28, 2006
    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, with 25-plus years of dictatorship under his belt, is now cracking down on cell phones in the name of national security. His military, with a record of expropriating land, torching and looting small businesses, and police brutality, now says that Zimbabwe's citizens are endangering national security by having independent connections to the outside world. According to their military spokesperson, the mobile phone providers should have to route their international calls through the state-owned TelOne so that people couldn't “...
  • Tony Bourdain: Recovering socialist

    November 28, 2006
    I'm a big fan of Tony Bourdain, but he describes himself as a socialist. At the same time, he clearly hates what the nanny state has done to food. Here's an excerpt from his book A Cook's Tour that I used in a debate on the Crunchy Con blog this March:
  • Free to Choose on your Computer

    November 28, 2006
    Idea Channel TV has the classic 1980 Milton Friedman series Free to Choose streaming on your desktop. One can only assume Milton would have approved. Hat-tip: ConservativeHome
  • The Media Filter

    November 28, 2006
    Dr. Crippen, a doctor who has the misfortune to work in the British National Health Service, has an interesting story about the critical faculties of the BBC. Blessed Auntie Beeb simply posted a news release from a firm that makes artificial milk posing as a healthcare advocacy group as a news story, then when found out altered the story without notice. I wonder what could have attracted the BBC to the story in the first place? Claims of babies dying - check. Claims that normal part of diet is causing it - check. Authoritative-sounding statistics - check. General suspicion that industry actually enjoys killing its customers - check. Who could blame them? The story was simply too good to fact-check...
  • Profiles in Awesomeness

    November 28, 2006
    Chrissie Thompson of the Washington Times has written the best newspaper story of the day: a profile of Bureaucrash and our very own Jason Talley. You'll want to read the whole story, of course, but I particularly liked the quote from Fred:
    Fred L. Smith Jr., president of CEI, said he founded the think tank with the goal of using left-wing groups' vertical organization formats, in which they focus on one issue and sponsor both policy analysis and activism on it. Bureaucrash, therefore, fit in with his vision and gives younger people an arena in which to tout pro-freedom principles. "I'm now 65," Mr. Smith said. "I'm not going to jump off a building unfurling a flag saying, 'Economic liberty for the world.'"
    Personally I think Fred is cutting himself short - with a little...
  • Freedom Fighting from the Kitchen

    November 27, 2006
    In the current issue of Doublethink, Baylen Linnekin, founder of the libertarian blog "To the People," asks the burning question: "Is Anthony Bourdain a libertarian?" To get to the answer, you'll need to read the interview of the celebrity chief and TV travel host. But to whet your appetite (no pun intended), consider these choice bits of Bourdain in his own words: On New York City's smoking ban:
    "We're in such a headlong rush to become the next Singapore, I find [it] horrifying and completely, well, un-American."
    On poverty:
    "I think glamorizing poverty -- as long as they wear cute, indigenous clothes and look good from the tour boat -- I think is a danger we should be aware of...I...


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