diet coke for breakfast

Friday, February 27, 2004

Posted by RFTR - Ohio woman gives birth to six babies in one minute - Feb. 27, 2004: "'The speed at which the babies came out was overwhelming. It was like a popcorn popper,' the baby's grinning father, Keith Hanselman, told reporters. "


Posted by RFTR
I saw The Passion of The Christ on Wednesday night, and I've finally gotten around to posting some of my thoughts on Running for the Right. Check it out if you're interested.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Kerry Looks to Protect Jobs, Blasts Bush:

A decorated Vietnam War veteran who has campaigned on his combat record, Kerry said it was time 'to put patriotism back in the driver's seat.'

This sounds more like Mercantilism than patriotism.
I think I learned that Mercantilism doesn't work when I was in Junior High.

Posted by RFTR
The Volokh Conspiracy

Some great comments on blogging.

Posted by Tanstaafl - U.N.: UK spying 'illegal' if true - Feb. 26, 2004:

A U.N. spokesman said the world agency 'would be disappointed' if reports that British spies listened in on Secretary-General Kofi Annan's phone conversations turn out to be true.

I think they can suck it up.

Posted by Tanstaafl

Now i know where the "pun" in InstaPUNdit comes from.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Extra words

People think it sounds more intelligent, when, in fact, it just wastes time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Posted by RFTR
The Left's Anti-Semitic Chic ( "It used to be said that anti-Catholicism was the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. Today anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. "

Wow, George. Powerful way to start a column. He makes some great points, read the whole thing. (from Running for the Right)

Posted by Tanstaafl

How funny is it that this site linked to us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Posted by RFTR
I got this link from the The Volokh Conspiracy, who describes it, saying: "Now, for the first time, I have come across a survey of the econometric literature on abortion policy. It is written by Jon Klick, a very smart guy at AEI, and a former student of mine. The topics include 'the effect on incentives on sexual activity, the effect of limiting unwanted births on welfare payments, crime rates, and women's educational attainment, as well as the direct effect of changes in abortion policy on abortion and fertility decisions.'"
Might be of interest to the economist(s?) in our mix.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl -- "An object at rest, CANNOT BE STOPPED!!! - EMB

Matt are you out there? Haven't heard from you in a while.

Matt -- I'm here... unfortunatly I've been limited to a quick read during my lunch break. I've had sort of a crazy schedule for the last month and not as much free time as I would like. I'll be in touch :-)

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Posted by RFTR - Nader to run for president as independent - Feb. 22, 2004

Awesome. Just Awesome.

Jake -- I actually don't think that Nader's entry is going to matter once. Many justified voting for Nader in the last election because they didn't think that it would matter in the grand scheme of things (they thought that Gore would still be elected) and they wanted Nader to get federal matching funds. It turned out that Nader's votes were badly needed by Gore. With this year's major Democratic primary issue being electability, I doubt most of the left will make the same mistake twice.

Brian -- Sorry, my "Awesome. Just Awesome," comment wasn't very explicit. I don't particularly think that he'll make all that big a difference either. The comment was based mostly on my reading the message boards at DeanforAmerica, and seeing many people say both "Well, that's it, I'm voting for Bush," and "Well, that's it, I'm voting for Nader," which is basically the same conclusion.
Also, as I think I've mentioned before, I saw Nader speak a week and a half after he failed so miserably in 2000, and from that I never would have expected him to run again. Yet, here he is...

Friday, February 20, 2004

Posted by RFTR
OpinionJournal - Taste: "SMOKE GETS IN THEIR EYES: Though California already bans smoking in restaurants, bars and office buildings, there is one haven of liberty left: most of its state prisons. But that's all about to change if a bill that just passed the state Assembly becomes law. It's a second-hand smoke issue, say state authorities, who claim that the bill would improve inmate health and save the state a small fortune in related medical costs. But when the San Diego Union-Tribune asked a group of prisoners what they thought, they said it was the worst idea since the state abolished weight-lifting equipment a few years back. As one prisoner told the paper: 'I'm very hard to get along with when I can't smoke.' "

OK. Pure and simple: California has lost it. You really want to take away a calming influence from the prisoners? How about we take away their cable TV first? (via Running for the Right)

Posted by Tanstaafl
The Stanford Daily Online Edition:

Though such press releases often cite factors beyond the University?s control for the tuition increases, the blame on these external scapegoats can seem contradictory. Last year, the explanation attributed the increase to ?the downturn in the economy.? This year?s explanation turned to ?inflationary pressures,? which always accompany the noted ?improvement in the overall economy.? This inconsistency leaves students wondering about the extent to which the economy or other outside factors truly affect tuition increases.

These aren't inconsistencies. The economic downturn hurt revenue (probably mostly from investment income on the endowment), but there was no deflation, so costs stayed the same. The inflation this year increases costs. The question is, has revenue come back at all? I would hope so, but its hard to say. What it really sounds like they want is either Stanford's budget or an annual report like a public company would file. But Stanford's not a public company and is therefore under no OBLIGATION to publish such a document, although it very well may issue one. What these students fail to understand is that tuition, like any price, is just as much a function of demand as it is of cost.

As for the analysis about marginal financial aid, they've got a screwy way of looking at it. First of all, Stanford set up the system to work this way, and if it pays tuition past a certain level of need, then those who can least afford the tuition hikes will be those who get financial aid first.

As I'm writing this, it sounds an awful lot like the federal tax system. These same people writing this editorial are all for tax increases on the rich to pay for social services for the poor. They balk at tuition increases for themselves though, even though much of that money goes to financial aid. Guess it's a bit different when you're the one being "taxed" isn't it?

Posted by Tanstaafl
White House: Caucus plan for Iraq shelved:

Power must be handed over to a body that is impartial in order to be able to make a decision that will provide continuity. We can't do it the American way like when George W. Bush replaced Bill Clinton the whole system changed and we cannot have this.

That statement really scares me. Either this guy doesn't understand how the transition works here, or he understands and prefers a system where the same guy "rules" for an extended period of time. I'm pretty sure that's what we got rid of, and I didn't think Iraqis would be happy to see that return. And this is a guy that WE picked for the interim council

Posted by Tanstaafl - Daily Dish:

At this point in the election cycle, only three post-war incumbent presidents have been behind their challengers in the polls: Harry Truman and Gerald Ford. And George W. Bush.

I don't like calling President Bush a "post-war incumbent"... in that the war on Terrorism is probably just getting started.

BTW, does anyone know what the acronym GWOT stands for (Great War on Terror maybe?)

Posted by Tanstaafl
The Economics of Progress (

Recommended Reading. I also still recommend reading The Choice for a good understanding of why outsourcing isn't bad.

Even more recent than George Will's example is the example of televisions. Once upon a time, most TV's were made here in the US. Then Japanese firms started competing with better technology and lower cost. The US, shifted instead to making computers. Eventually, more and more computers will be made overseas, and we'll move into making something else.

UPDATE: Spinsanity confronts the distortions that Democrats are making of Gregory Mankiw statements (mentioned in the George Will article).

Posted by Jake

Posted by Jake
On the Road Again

UNLIKE THE SENATE, which made only a few modest budget-cut proposals to finance increased spending, Young and Oberstar have proposed a 5 cent inflation-adjusted hike in the gasoline tax, which currently stands at 18.4 cents a gallon--where it has been for more than a decade. This "user fee," in conjunction with the Senate's proposed budget cuts on items such as the ethanol subsidy, would allow the bill to pay for itself without adding a single dollar to the mounting federal budget deficit.


There is still one more vital element to this equation: jobs. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that every additional $1 billion invested by the federal government in transportation creates 47,500 new jobs. One of the Bush administration's greatest weaknesses going into the 2004 presidential election is the staggering number of American jobs lost since 2001. What better counter could the president hope for when they are attacked by Democrats on the job issue than a massive public works program that benefits big business just as much as the average commuter?

Did I miss something? What magazine is this? When the Weekly Standard start advocating tax hikes and federal spending?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl

Even if Bush is behind... he hasn't started campaigning yet.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see some people like Karen Hughes or David Frum come back to work on the campaign. Even if they don't I'm SURE Karl Rove is in the process of gathering some pretty cutting edge minds together to hand a big 'ole smack-down to whoever wins the Dem nomination. But... until that's truly sown-up, it would be a waste of money and political capital to start campaigning. I think they learned that lesson after having needlessly and sloppily targeted Howard Dean during the 2004 SOTU.

Brian --This page at OpenSecrets is also telling. Bush has raised over $130 million, and has spent barely a dime. Kerry and Edwards combined have raised just over $42 million. Throw Dean in, and you go up to $83 million. It's going to get fun.

James-- My understanding of current campaign finance law is that Dean's money is largely inconsequential. He can't give more than $3,000 to either Kerry or Edwards and he can't spend it on issue ads within 60 days of an election, which is when it would have the most power. At best, he can save it for a future run.

Brian --Yeah, my only point was that all three of them put together have only raised 2/3 as much as Bush has, and they've already spent most of it, whereas he hasn't even started.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Stanford Special Fee Reforms pass Grad Student Senate:

For years, the surcharge had been more than sufficient to accommodate refund requests and had even accumulated a surplus. But when the rate of refund requests skyrocketed last year and this year, the buffer fund suddenly looked to be on a fast track to bankruptcy.

Boy, this sounds an awful lot like many people's complaints about what the Bush administration has done to the Federal Budget. Maybe those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Posted by Tanstaafl - Conservative law students unite

If only we knew a "conservative" at Yale Law who could give us some insight into these experiences.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Iranian train blast kills hundreds

Iran seems to be having more than its fair share of tragedies. Maybe that's because its government has a total disregard for the safety of its people. One hopes that will catch up with the religious leaders of the country eventually.

Posted by RFTR
'Breathalyzer in every car' bill passes house (via The Volokh Conspiracy)

I'd like to say I'm against this, but I'm not sure how to do so. It's kind of tough to say I'm against taking away the right to drive drunk. Maybe there's something wrong on public health grounds?

James-- I don't support a right to sell cocaine, but I'm also not going to support a bill allowing a police officer to search everyone he sees. I'm with the ACLU on this, it punishes law-abiding citizens. As for the "who will pay for it" part of the article... puhleeez. So you're going to give a tax credit to pay for it, which means that you'll have to get more tax revenue from everyone (and by everyone I mean those "evil" rich people). Let's hope this doesn't become a trend.

Brian --That's why I keep you around--those are exactly the reasons I was looking for. Thanks.

Posted by RFTR
Andrew Sullivan will be on Chris Matthews tonight. Try not to miss it..

Posted by Tanstaafl
Soft Money and the FEC (

This could get REALLY ridiculous really quickly. I don't like, but I believe strongly in their right to spew their venom. The WaPo is less firm in its beliefs.

Posted by Tanstaafl
TAKE THAT TOYON RAs (2001-2002):

"California Education Code sec. 94367 (the 'Leonard Law'), which in relevant part reads:
(a) No private postsecondary educational institution shall make or enforce any rule subjecting any student to disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication that, when engaged in outside the campus or facility of a private postsecondary institution, is protected from governmental restriction by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 2 of Article 1 of the California Constitution. . . .

(e) Nothing in this section prohibits the imposition of discipline for harassment, threats, or intimidation, unless constitutionally protected. . . ."

Posted by Jake
Kerry Captures Wisconsin; Edwards Is a Strong Second (

Exit polls showed the economy and jobs to be the most important issue for Wisconsin voters. Among voters who cited that issue, Edwards had a double-digit lead over Kerry. Edwards had as big a lead among political independents, who cast three of 10 votes in the open primary, and a more than 2 to 1 advantage among the self-identified Republicans who made up about 9 percent of the electorate.

Kerry won among core Democrats, including those with incomes of less than $50,000 a year and those without a college degree. His biggest single advantage was found among those who rated the ability to beat President Bush as the most important quality for the nominee to have. Kerry overwhelmed his rivals among those voters, drawing nearly seven in 10 to his side, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool.

Edwards is down but not out. This is my read on the whole situation. Many voters are going over to Kerry for the same reasons that the Iowans voted for him in the first place: he looks much more electable than Dean. (Apparently no one is interested in making a Nader-style symbolism vote this election when their primary goal is getting Bush out.) Kerry has a similar -- if not to the same degree -- appeal to the Democratic base.

However, Edwards has a greater appeal to the center that the Democrats need to win the general election, not just the primary. This probably isn't going to be enough for Edwards to come away with a big win on Super Tuesday, but it could be.

By and large, I would say Edwards is the best one on the Democratic field right now. He also lacks Kerry's biggest liability -- a long voting record. (Although I looked it up, Edwards also voted against the $87 billion dollar appropriations bill for Iraq.)

We'll see how it turns how out, but I still think that Edwards has legs, if not for a P spot than maybe for VP.

UPDATE: Sullivan has similar thoughts.

Posted by RFTR
Andrew Sullivan is a smart guy
I'm currently watching his appearance on Bill Maher's HBO political show. If you'd like to see it, I have it on HBO On Demand, and I'd be happy to make a tape for anyone. He's witty, and doesn't back down. The more I read and see of this guy, the more I respect him, even when I disagree with his opinions.

Bill Maher: [introduces the gay marriage topic] and Rob, you're a gay man
Rob Schneider: I'm willing to learn
Sullivan: Really? We can have a drink afterwards, right?
Schneider: Let me just say this. I am for--
Sullivan: [he's wearing a blue shirt, Schneider wearing a red one] We can be red and blue American finally getting together.
Schneider: I am for gay marriage--
Sullivan: And I'm right behind you.


Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Posted by RFTR

Posted by RFTR
POE News: Rumsfield Fighting Technique

Man, this guy uses his hands a lot...

Posted by Tanstaafl
Polaroid warns buyers not to 'Shake It':

Polaroid said its film should be laid on a flat surface and shielded from the wind, and that users should avoid bending or twisting their pictures. Of course, 'lay it on a flat surface like a Polaroid picture,' doesn't sound nearly as cool.


Posted by Tanstaafl
T-Mobile is a Lying Bastard Company

I feel this guy's pain. Getting my corporate discount out of AT&T wireless was a similar nightmare. It's only about 5 a month, but it hasn't showed up on my bill for 8 months.

So I called up AT&T's customer service # one Saturday. They told me that I would have to talk to their Business Office which was only open M-F. So I waited until Monday.

I called up the Business office. The woman who took my call told me that in order to get a corporate discount, I would need to be attached to a foundation account. "Ahah!" I told her, "I have the foundation account # to which I'm attached!" After looking me up, the CSR politely informed me that I actually HAD received the discount the prior month... but it had not shown up on my bill. This baffled me... the discount didn't show up on my bill... I paid the amount on the bill... how exactly did I "receive" this discount.

Well, apparently, it had accrued into some imaginary account that AT&T was holding for me. She said that she would correct the problem and that it would start showing up on my bill. I thanked her, but pointed out, that I should have been getting the credit all along (and had been getting it before I upgraded from digital to GSM), and I would like it applied retroactively back to April when I upgraded service. That's when the fun started.

She informed me that she couldn't retroactively apply it, but that she could give me a couple of months as a courtesy. It was at this point that I lost it. I explained to her that it was not a "courtesy" to fix a mistake that THEY had made when I UPGRADED my plan, and that if she couldn't do it, then she needed to find me someone who could. The rest of the conversation went something like this:

CSR: "Sir, It really isn't possible."
Me: "Well then I need to speak to your manager."
CSR: "Yes sir, but it may be a wait since the supervisors are all busy, and they will tell you the same thing."
Me: "Look, someone there can and WILL fix this for me, if that's not you, and you don't know who that is, then you need to go get me your manager right now."
CSR: "Umm, ok sir please hold for a minute"
<...Tall and tan and young and lovely, The girl from ipanema goes walking, And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ah...>x3min
CSR: "Ok sir, It's a total of 8 months since April, I show that 3 months have already received the discount even though they didn't show up on your bill and as a courtesy I can give you the discount for the other 5"
Me: "And these will show up on my bill?"
CSR: "Yes sir!"
Me: "Excellent."
CSR: "Sorry for any inconvenience and thank you for choosing AT&T wireless."

Of course, I'm waiting to see if these show up on my bill, and let's be clear... I'm not holding my breath.

Here are my rules for when you have difficulty with CSRs of any ilk:
1) Get their name and some sort of employee ID number
2) Ask to speak to a manager quickly... even if they don't transfer you to the manager right away, they become a LOT more cooperative when that threat is real.
3) Never take, "It's the policy" as a final answer. There is always someone who can override the "policy", and once I've gotten that answer, I make it the CSR's job to find the person with the override authority.
4) Be willing to walk away (this is true in ANY negotiation). You can threaten to cancel your service, membership, subscription, sale, whatever. Even if you don't end up cancelling, if they think you're serious, you might get some traction.

Now, Gina (an infrequent contributor to this site) is even better at this than I am. She actually got Netgear, to replace a broken piece of equipment AND give her a full refund... however, you'll have to ask her what magic levers she pulls to get results like these.

Brian --I understand the "Demon in the Sack" method works pretty well. Short of that, I honestly can't believe she got Netgear to do anything worthwhile.

Posted by Tanstaafl

This is an extremely interesting proposal. There are couple other things that would need to be worked out. First I would allow airlines to trade or sell slots if they are so inclined. Second, I think I would set up the auction for 6 month contracts that begin 6 months from now. That way, the airlines have a heads-up as to when they will have slots, and can adequately schedule flights.

You can see Ms. Kiesling's energy markets expertise shine through in this suggestion by the way. Pricing systems for electricity that take time of day that power is used into account have been recommended by many as a way to curb usage during peak hours. Here too, higher prices during peak times would help distribute price sensitive passengers out to less busy times.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Cingular nabs AT&T Wireless for $41 billion

Well one way to end the potential competitive market in cell service created by number portability would be consolidation.

Competitive market => Oligopoly => Monopoly???

Posted by Tanstaafl
It's splitsville for Barbie and Ken

Somebody's screw is loose.

Brian's UPDATE: Dennis Miller's comment: "The couple is citing irreconcilable pelvic similarities."

Posted by RFTR - Scientists discover new form of mad cow disease - Feb. 16, 2004: "If a new form of the disease were affecting humans there should be an increase in the incidence of CJD, said Brown, who was not part of the research team. "

This can't be classified as anything but bad news.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Posted by RFTR

Friday, February 13, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Scientists develop new hydrogen reactor:

Hydrogen does not emit any pollution or greenhouse gases. But unlike oil or coal, hydrogen must be produced -- there are no natural stores of it waiting to be pumped or dug out of the ground.

Sounds like a good step.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Beware Generals Bearing a Grudge

A worthwhile read if you're at all interested in military history or concepts of leadership.

Posted by RFTR - Daily Dish: "Maybe this will be the first time that a true firewall is established between the web, the Brits and the rest of the media. Maybe I'm wrong and this won't break out as a major story. That in itself would be a media milestone. (On the other hand, Drudge got 15 million hits in the past 24 hours - twice his normal traffic.) Can we all pretend we didn't hear this and carry on as normal?"

Andrew Sullivan, commenting on John Ellis, commenting on the Kerry story. Good point.
I have to say, it bothers me that I firmly believe if this story was about a Republican candidate for the presidency it would have broken imediately. What I'm trying to decide for myself right now is, does that outrage, and the resulting desire for this story to hit the major media, outweigh my overall pleasure that the media is showing some restraint for once, and my hope that maybe this will establish a pattern. (copied from my post on Running for the Right)

Posted by Tanstaafl
Will the Floodgates Open Now? Kerry Goes on Record About Intern

I heard this interview this morning. It wasn't particularly remarkable. Imus wasn't very tough on Kerry. He appologized for having endorsed Bush and I think he said that he was now endorsing Kerry. All in all it was still very boring. Imus wanted to talk about how stupid people were being looking at 30 year photos and dental records. Kerry wanted to talk about the economy and job loss. If the economy continues to improve, that could really be a losing strategy.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Teen accused of BMW scam:

After completing and returning paperwork that was mailed to his home, the teen called the dealership pretending to be a banker confirming the transfer, police said.

The dealership needs some better controls.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Posted by RFTR
DRUDGE REPORT 2004?: "Intrigue surrounds a woman who recently fled the country, reportedly at the prodding of Kerry, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
A serious investigation of the woman and the nature of her relationship with Sen. John Kerry has been underway at TIME magazine, ABC NEWS, the WASHINGTON POST, THE HILL and the ASSOCIATED PRESS, where the woman in question once worked."

Drudge seems to think it was an infidelity. He also quotes Clark as having said "Kerry will implode over an intern issue," as well as Dean campaign sources who say that's why Dean decided not to drop out after Wisconsin. Could be interesting, could be a non-event.

Posted by Tanstaafl - Hillary Clinton lands on 'Tough Guy' list - Feb. 12, 2004:

Department of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was No. 21, two places above rapper 50 Cent, who was shot nine times and drove himself to a hospital.

Go Donny!

Posted by Tanstaafl
Wired News: Adware Spreads Quickly on AOL IM

Great, one more thing to watch out for.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Powell Scolds Hill Staffer At Hearing

I guess somebody woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Told Ya:

Another irony: the British Conservative Party that Mill was attacking in the 1860s had at least as much in common with modern liberals as with modern Conservatives. For instance, the Conservative leader Benjamin Disraeli invented the 'two Nations' mantra that John Edwards has transmogrified into 'Two Americas.' 1860s Conservatives were also supporters of workplace regulation and protectionism, though on some other issues (e.g. - imperialism) they did differ from modern liberals.

Posted by Tanstaafl
From Valentine's Day to Kerry's Convictions:

What matters, then, is intellectual flexibility. When you are presented with new facts that blast apart your old beloved precepts, you either reexamine what you believe, or you hammer the new round pegs into old square holes.

Always insightful and entertaining.

Posted by Tanstaafl
OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan:

Now for our challenge. What should the Bush paragraph consist of? How to make it new? How to make it memorable, and true? Readers, you are invited to wrap up in one paragraph what the Bush campaign should say as it unveils itself anew. The White House reads this site. They'll see it. Take the floor and tell them how to do it.

I propose we hash one out here and then post it in the reader responses.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
The Onion | Saddam Hussein Rules Over Cell With Iron Fist:

Hussein has repeatedly refused weapons and contraband inspections.
'Most of the prisoners I've dealt with see the daily checks as routine,' the soldier said. 'But Saddam likes to complain about how we need evidence of wrongdoing before we can cross the cell's threshold.'
Occasionally, guards have been forced to threaten Hussein with sanctions to get him to comply with inspections.
'Every couple of days, he refuses to let us look under his bed,' an unnamed soldier said. 'There's never anything under there, but sometimes he likes to make a big deal out of refusing.'


Posted by Tanstaafl
This Guy Served with Lt. Bush in the ANG

Interesting letter that's worth reading.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Asymmetrical Information: How dumb is our president?:

There's an assumption among the humanities types I run with that lacking the particular things that make you good at being a journalist, a professor, or an analyst, such as interest in academic research and discussions, good research skills, a good prose style and a quick tongue, are what make you good at any important job, and especially a president's job. But Jimmy Carter had a PhD and he was a hopeless ditherer. Harry Truman was not particularly bright, and he desegregated the damn military. Leadership is not an academic excercise.

Jane Galt makes some good points about the different skills required to lead Businesses and to do well in Academia.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Faculties are Liberal Because They are Smarter

I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap.

First of all, JS Mill was a liberal in the CLASSICAL sense, not in the modern sense. Similarly, when he was discussing conservatives, he did not mean Republicans.

Second, academics are not the only intelligent people out there. I regularly come across people who are as intelligent as many of my professors were. They are in the real world, inventing things, driving businesses, and contributing to society in numerous ways. Academics are the thinkers and dreamers. Academics are not as concerned with producing things. They see the world as they would like it to be, not as it is. This is a large part of why they prefer liberal policies. Business leaders, by contrast, are more pragmatic. They are the doers. They often see government as overly wasteful and bureaucratic and are frustrated by the ineffectiveness of government programs. Many have a keen understanding of economics, especially how it affects the real world and real people. This is a large part of why they prefer conservative policies

Given a choice... I would associate with the latter.

Brian --I've delt with this characterization several times. I remember one particular example where a Liberal friend of mine said that she'd read a study claiming that there was a correlation between the level of intelligence and the likelihood of being Liberal. When I asked her to produce the study, and she did, I read it more closely. What it actually states is that, the more non-trade degrees one attains, the more likely one is to be Liberal. Business degrees, for the purposes of this study, were considered trade degrees, as were legal and medical. So, effectively, the study just proved that Liberals are more likely to be interested in academia, as James explained above. Why watching and explaining is thought to require more intelligence than doing, I can't explain.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Trippi Blames Gore

Same thing: Al invented the internet.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Posted by Jake
The Command Post - Global Recon - Putin's Election Rival Disappears

Russia...not the shining example of democracy that you would hope for.

Posted by Jake :: Daniel W. Drezner :: Bush meets the press

Drezner has a good wrap-up on the different takes on Bush on Meet the Press.

Posted by Jake
The Wreck of the BBC

The Hutton Report was, to read the British media, the Night of the Long Knives, the bonfire of the vanities, and the Cultural Revolution all rolled into one hideous assault on cherished press liberty.

If you live in the fantasy world of self-adulation and preening pomposity of high-powered liberal journalists, I suppose the aftermath of the Hutton Report might seem like that. But for those who have to toil in the less sensational world of reality, the unassuming 72-year-old peer may just have done the world one of the greatest services in the history of journalism and public broadcasting.

For Lord Hutton has exposed, from the pinnacle of independent judicial authority, the fatal flaws at the heart of the world's largest broadcaster. His report has confirmed what critics have argued for years: that the BBC, once one of the cultural treasures of the English-speaking world, has lost its way.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Belief, sound basketball keys for Stanford:

Arizona coach Lute Olson called Hernandez the most valuable player in the league and the best point guard. It's hard to argue when you witness how he can control a game and is involved in assists, making critical shots or being a defensive pest.

I never would have guessed this when I met a Freshman Hernandez at a TGIF party a few years ago. good for him.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Posted by RFTR
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Kerry wins early edge in Washington caucuses: "Dennis Kucinich was third at 14 percent."

Any state that gives Dennis Kucinich 14% of their support should just get it over with and secede already.

Posted by Jake
The Ethics of the Iraq War in the Absence of WMD

Randy Barnett examines an essay looking into how we justify wars. I like the thrust of this because it clears away quibbles about legal justification to the moral justification. Bears read in its entirity. Money quote:
Again, this is not to suggest the ends justify the means, but rather to acknowledge that there are always deeper reasons to go to war than what lawyers, diplomats, and politicians profess. Those underlying factors are ultimately judged as moral or immoral by history's unforgiving logic of how, and for what reason, the war was waged -- and what were its ultimate results. We live in a sick, sick West if we investigate Mr. Bush's and Mr. Blair's courageous efforts to end Iraqi fascism, while ignoring the thousands of Europeans and multinational corporations who profited from his reign of terror.

Postmortem. If the United States went to war with Iraq only because of the threat of WMDs; if the mass murdering of Saddam Hussein was found on examination to be highly exaggerated; if we had some secret plan for stealing the oil of Iraq, if Saddam Hussein posed no future threat to the United States or its allies; if the war resulted in a worse future for Iraq, the United States, and the surrounding Middle East; and if the administration deliberately constructed false intelligence evidence to advance such an unnecessary war that resulted in misery rather than hope, then an apology is needed now. But so far, that has simply not been the case.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Posted by Jake
Missed Signals On WMD? ( (via InstaPundit)

The Iraqi regime initially decided to deceive U.N. inspectors about some aspects of the nuclear and biological programs for two reasons, Jafar said. First, to obscure the extent to which they had violated treaties against developing such weapons and, second, to minimize the destruction of the facilities where they
had carried out the work.

First hints of the Iraqi bioweapons program were made to U.N. chief inspector Rolf Ekeus in 1995, because the Iraqis knew that defectors had spoken of the program, Jafar said. A full accounting of the bioweapons that had been destroyed four years before came later in 1995, after the defection to Jordan of Hussein's son-in-law Hussein Kamel. Remaining aspects of the nuclear program were also disclosed to U.N. inspectors after Kamel defected, Jafar said.

But U.S. and U.N. officials suspected the Iraqis were probably hiding other violations. The mistrust was amplified by Hussein's antagonism toward the U.N. inspectors, whom he regarded as spies who might threaten his personal security, Jafar said.


Jafar's story reinforces one theme of the unfolding Iraqi WMD saga: Even for intelligence analysts and U.N. experts, facts could not be disentangled from expectations. The will to believe that Hussein had WMD was far stronger than the evidence that he didn't.

I agree with Glenn Reynolds. Far more people would have died leaving Saddam in power.

But we have to ask ourselves: why did people in three administrations believe that Saddam had WMD? This would assert that it was because he was not trustworthy (which is true) and because we knew he had it before (which is also true).

It may sound like nitpicking, but I think it is important to know the truth. It is also important as a buttress against the argument that the Bush administration lied or distorted the facts.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Henninger needs a reality check:

Commerce follows culture in a country like the U.S., and finally the culture is pulling large segments of the new economy down to its level. Where's the bottom? The imperative to produce revenue growth is driving the media players ever downward to win mass audiences aged 16-30. Authentic creativity can't compete, as desperate managers dive to the culture's lowest common denominator of what sells--and at this level we know what sells. The dumbing down of America has been followed by the scuzzing down of America. One might hope that the Super Bowl fiasco would cause media marketers to seek other ways to hit revenue targets without driving the culture into a dying swamp, but that's not likely. The pressure to perform fast is the strongest force in play here.

Lighten up Francis. If it bothers you, don't watch. It might solve the problem in two ways.
1) If you don't watch, then it can't "harm" you.
2) If enough people don't watch, then the media outlets will try something different. That's the beauty of a market economy. In the end, the majority of people get what they want.

Honestly though, I'm a bit tired of all of this. Why is anyone surprised that a Jackson (or Timberlake for that matter) did something ridiculous?

Posted by Tanstaafl Needs a Copy Editor:

No injuries or fatalities has [sic] been reported due to the defect, which stems from high electrical current flow through the ignition switch

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl - Photos lead to charges in alleged gang rape - Feb. 4, 2004:

An employee at the photo shop discovered pictures of several men engaged in sex acts with an apparently unconscious 13-year-old girl. Authorities said the attackers were posing for the camera and flashing gang signs.

I don't know that there is a punishment gruesome enough to fit what these guys did.

Brian-- Maybe we should just try a little bit of everything until something fits...?

Posted by Tanstaafl
Self-righteous Producer:

NBC's decision was criticized by John Wells, the executive producer of the popular and long-running medical drama, who said such 'affiliate overreactions' have a 'chilling effect' on dramatic integrity.

Statements like this always show me that these guys don't understand their place in the machine. NBC is a business. It's employees and management have a fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders of GE stock. Their job is to make as much money as they can, within the rules of the game, for the company. Viewers express disgust, the affiliates decide that they will lose those viewers if they show the scene, which translates in to less money for the affiliates (which are like franchises that buy exclusively NBC packaged content). So they put pressure on NBC, which in turn puts pressure on the producers of ER, who in the end feel the true desires of their customers. John, you can film, edit, and produce any piece of work you want... that doesn't mean that NBC has to show it or that people have to watch it.

Posted by Tanstaafl
OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan:

Blogger Mickey Kaus raised most quickly some big points. 'The issue isn't nudity but the implicit endorsement of acting out male fantasies of violent and invasive non-consensual sexual behavior. Never mind the message it sends to international audiences--say young, angry Muslims, to pick a random example, who may have been wondering whether America really is immoral.' He added that this year's game was telecast to 229 countries and territories, including China for the first time.

All I can say is relax. It was telecast there, but it came on at like 4:00am. I spoke to a guy I know in India the other day, he'd never heard of the Superbowl. I think the only people overseas who watch it are Americans.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Posted by Jake
The Command Post - Op-Ed - Can We Export Lou Dobbs?

I have always hated watching Lou Dobbs and here is why. A good piece on comparative advantage.

James-- For a really good understanding of comparative advantage, read this book. I read it in my very first Econ class. It's written for non-economists though and is very accessible. Unfortunately, I lent my copy to someone and never got it back.

Posted by Tanstaafl
The Stanford Daily Online Edition:

While I agree with yesterday?s editorial (?Tune in for Super Tuesday,? Feb. 3) in that being aware of political developments is a crucial aspect of good citizenship, I hate to have to remind The Daily?s editors that the current occupant of the White House is not eligible to be ?reelected,? since he was appointed (or ?selected? by the smallest majority possible) by the Supreme Court. Accuracy is an important aspect of good journalism.

Yes, these people are still out there. I guess they missed ALL of the post election recounts both by Florida officials and independent news agencies.

Posted by Tanstaafl
The View From Purgatory

I'm not sure how well Safire channels Nixon, but it makes for an interesting read.

Posted by Tanstaafl - Rumsfeld: Iraq WMDs may still be found - Feb. 4, 2004:

Or, Rumsfeld postulated, 'small quantities' of chemical or biological agents may have existed, along with a 'surge capability' that would allow Iraq to rapidly build an arsenal of banned weapons. Commenting on that possibility, Rumsfeld said, 'We may eventually find it in the months ahead.'

I always thought that this sounded likely, as it is the most conceable and least costly program. It's similar to the "Just-in-time" inventory techniques used by firms like Walmart and Target. My only question is why Saddam didn't use this surge capacity. Did we really surprise him? In which case, the "Rush To War" looks like it was a good idea. Or maybe our campaign to convince commanders that they would be held individually responsible worked.

The real answer is though, that no one, not even David Kay, knows what was happening in Iraq before the US Armed Forces were on the ground.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Auschwitz Under Our Noses (

We shake our heads self-righteously, certain that if we'd been there, liberation would have come earlier -- all the while failing to see that the present is no different. Quite a lot has changed in 60 years, but the ways in which information about crimes against humanity can simultaneously be 'known' and not known hasn't changed at all. Nor have other interests and other priorities ceased to distract people from the feelings of shame and guilt they would certainly feel, if only they focused on them.

I agree. Unfortunately, when we act to stop murderous villains, people my age block intersections in San Francisco, and shout about how evil they think OUR President is.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Over-Humanizing the Enemy

I think that this is akin to "If you give a mouse a cookie..."

Posted by Tanstaafl
RE:FEC Curbs 'Endorsement' Ads

I just scrolled down and realize a question had been posed but not answered:

But, if Dean or Kerry wins the nomination (which one of them likely will), what incentive does the NRA have to do such things? After all, Dean is a gun-advocate, and Kerry an avid hunter... Will we have to endure this for another 4 years?

The answer to the NRA's incentive is pretty simple: 435 Congressional Elections and roughly 33 Senatorial Elections.

Posted by RFTR - News - Kansas Woman Posed As 13-Year-Old Boy: "GALENA, Kan. -- Authorities in Galena are investigating a case in which a 33-year-old woman posing as a 13-year-old boy sought help from a church and tried to enroll in a middle school. Jim Jones, pastor of the Galena Assembly of God, said the person he now knows to be a woman showed up at his church in October, claiming to be Chris Gomez, a 13-year-old boy who had been the victim of child abuse. Jones said that after a series of inconsistencies, he confronted the person claiming to be a boy last week and that she told him she was actually a 33-year-old woman with three children."

And wasn't there a Law and Order episode about this??

Posted by RFTR - Teen hacker triggered nuclear terrorism alert: "A British teenager has narrowly escaped jail after sparking a nuclear panic by hacking into a top secret United States weapons laboratory. Joseph McElroy, 18, who on Monday was ordered to serve a 200-hour community punishment order, bypassed the facility's electronic security systems with sophisticated software he had developed and nicknamed Deathserv. McElroy wanted to use the advanced network's power to download and store films and music from the internet."

Anyone else remember the Matthew Broderick movie War Games...?

Posted by Tanstaafl
Knight suspended five days

I'm sorry but this is ridiculous. If Texas Tech wasn't prepared for this kind of behavior, they shouldn't ever have hired the guy.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Another Bogus Budget

So Krugman's idea of good policy is to make sure that the government's tax take remains high as a percent of GDP? Wow, and this guy "was" an economist.

Posted by Tanstaafl
The Truth About Massachusetts (

And here's the clincher: If we Massachusetts people are so weirdly liberal, then why are we the only state with a major league sports team called the New England Patriots?

My friend Bill is a huge Miami Dolphins fan. That doesn't mean he's joining Greenpeace or swims all day. Rooting for a team called the Patriots has NOTHING to do with political affiliation. Furthermore, are you willing to concede that those who are "weirdly liberal" are not patriotic? You brought it into play Mr. Dionne, not I.

Posted by Tanstaafl
Harmful if swallowed

I bet your interest is piqued, isn't it?

Posted by RFTR
LILEKS (James) The Bleat: "if we're going to hell in a handbasket, can't we have a nicer handbasket?"

He's right. It's what I was thinking, but didn't know I was thinking. Or maybe I wasn't thinking it until I read the bleat today. Either way...

Monday, February 02, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Economists argue the merits of budget deficits

There's a reason you never see a one-handed Economist. They are fond of statements like "Defecits may cause increased interest rates, but on the other hand, they may fuel GDP growth"

Posted by Tanstaafl
Super Bowl Half-Time Show:

'I am sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime performance at the Super Bowl,' [Timberlake] said. 'It was not intentional and is regrettable.'

Oh it's a malfunction if a shirt comes off when you tear it away? How did I miss the memo on that one?

Posted by RFTR
William Saffire: The Farewell Dossier: "we added what geeks call a 'Trojan Horse' to the pirated product."

I think whoever the webmaster is that uploads his column for him every week ought to start messing with them. Doesn't he realize that these so-called "geeks" run the world?

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Posted by RFTR
AOL Presidential Match Guide

Found this through Andrew Sullivan. No big surprises -- Bush came out way on top, then Lieberman, then Edwards, Kerry, Clark, Dean, Sharpton, Kucinich. Now, what scares me: I have a 36% match with Kucinich! What views could I possibly share with Kucinich that makes for a 36% agreement??
[copied from my post on Running for the Right (my personal political blog)]

James-- Hah! I only have a 16% match with Kucinich.
My list goes in the exact same order.

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