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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Best argument against Legalizing Prostitution I've seen

This is an amazing article. In Germany, prostitution is now legal (a position I used to be in favor of in my libertarian days). In many countries, if you are receiving unemployment compensation, you are not allowed to turn down jobs you are qualified for without losing your benefits. Further, brothels in Germany are now going through the official government channels to find new "workers." Thus, an unemployed waitress who turns down the opportunity of joining the glamorous and profitable oldest profession risks losing her unemployment benefits.

Has Europe lost all sense?

Blogger festivus said...

Inquiring minds want to know if your 'libertarian' days happen to have a significant overlap with your 'dateless' days.

10:53 PM, January 31, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Dateless? Moi? (World's shortest joke: Pretentious? Moi?)

I assure all inquiring minds, my support of legalization of that particular service was purely on principal, not on practical grounds. I'm not sure I can say that for all products I wished legalized, but of this I will speak no more.

1:55 PM, February 01, 2005  

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Maggie Gallagher

In all fairness, Maggie Gallagher was not "on the take" or if she was, so is Paul Krugman and every economist I know, including myself. I will guarantee you that almost every academic economist who writes an op-ed gets National Science Foundation grants. I wrote a letter to the editor on Social Security a few days ago. I did not disclose that several years ago I had received an NSF grant to research how much Social Security affects when people retire. It never occurred to me that this would be a conflict of interest. Because it isn't, for one thing. I wasn't being paid to write the op-ed, but to conduct research. Likewise, unlike Armstrong Williams, Gallagher was not being paid to write op-eds. She was paid to do work for the Bush Administration. That shouldn't preclude her ability to write op-eds. As for "she should have disclosed it," then that is holding her to a standard that no one is ever held to. As Gallagher writes
My first instinct is to say, no, Howard, I had no special obligation to disclose this information. I'm a marriage expert. I get paid to write, edit, research and educate on marriage. If a scholar or expert gets paid to do some work for the government, should he or she disclose that if he writes a paper, essay or op-ed on the same or similar subject? If this is the ethical standard, it is an entirely new standard.

I was not paid to promote marriage. I was paid to produce particular research and writing products (articles, brochures, presentations), which I produced. My lifelong experience in marriage research, public education and advocacy is the reason HHS hired me.

But the real truth is that it never occurred to me. On reflection, I think Howard is right. I should have disclosed a government contract when I later wrote about the Bush marriage initiative. I would have, if I had remembered it. My apologies to my readers.
This seems right on to me, except for the apology part. I just don't see the need to apologize.

Blogger festivus said...

Chris, you'll notice that I linked to Ms. Gallagher's post that you quoted so readers could decide for themselves. Clearly, there's a huge difference between her case and Armstrong's, but her name is in the news associated with the issue. Agreed, 'on the take' might be a little over the top in her case. FESTIVUS

5:44 PM, January 26, 2005  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Festivus, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to imply you personally did anything wrong. But the reaction of everyone (not just you) was to think this was another Armstrong Williams case. And I think this was somewhat logical. Most people don't know that almost every good researcher is suckling at the goverment teat (so to speak) at some point, usually for years on end. Paul Krugman was almost certainly getting his "2/9ths" from the National Science Foundation for years. (By "2/9ths", the standard grant from the NSF is for them to pay you to do research for 2 months in the summer and pay you, for each month, one ninth of your academic salary, which is presumably a nine month year.)

7:16 PM, January 26, 2005  
Blogger festivus said...

I didn't think any offense was meant, nor any taken. You made a good point, and it's clear from reading other bloggers about this tempest in a teapot, many (including myself) are not fully informed about how government grants work.

Kate O'Beirne had a great comment on this over at The Corner:

"HHS was not paying Maggie Gallagher to say she believed what they did, but rather to learn what she knows. Had we known and disclosed the work she did for HHS, she wouldn't have looked conflicted, she would have looked even more credentialed as a recognized expert on marriage. That's why we should disclose--to tell our readers 'listen up' Maggie Gallagher really knows what she's talking about."I think that sums up the difference between Ms. Gallagher and Mr. Williams nicely.

3:22 PM, January 27, 2005  

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Conservative Talk Show Host for Sale

The recent revelations that at least two commentators were 'on the take' from the Bush administration to promote administration policies have set the talking heads atwitter. Still, I suspect that more than one of them who rightfully bashed the concept in public wondered privately why they weren't asked, expecially given the sums of cabbage being throw around. At least this guy can't be accused of hiding anything. And I expect his ratings to go up with the nice free publicity. Tip o' the fedora: Jonah Goldberg, The Corner

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Skinny in Fat City

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled today that a lower court improperly dismissed a class-action lawsuit against McDonalds filed on behalf of the food chain's obese customers. The suit alleges, among other things, that the combined effect of McDonald's various promotional representations created "the false impression that its food products were nutritionally beneficial and part of a healthy lifestyle if consumed daily."

See, the pdf file here.

Who knew that a diet consisting of Big Macs, milk shakes and hot apple pies could possibly be bad for you?

The appellate court says that McDonald's can ask for more details about the Plaintiffs' claims and can slog out other details in expensive discovery, but is not entitled to an outright dismissal of their claims.

On behalf of tort reformers everywhere, I'm not lovin' it.

The Real Face of Vote Suppression: Wisconsin Democrats

Lawmaker's Son Charged in Tire-Slashing
By Grecthen Ehlke, Associated Press Writer
January 24, 2005

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The sons of a first-term congresswoman and Milwaukee's former acting mayor were among five Democratic activists charged Monday with slashing the tires of vans rented by Republicans to drive voters and monitors to the polls on Election Day.

Sowande Omokunde, son of Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., and Michael Pratt, the son of former Milwaukee acting mayor Marvin Pratt, were charged with criminal damage to property, a felony that carries a maximum punishment of 3 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The activists - all employees of the John Kerry campaign - are accused of flattening the tires on 25 vehicles rented by the state Republican Party to get out the vote and deliver poll watchers Nov. 2.

The GOP rented more than 100 vehicles that were parked in a lot adjacent to a Bush campaign office. The party planned to drive poll watchers to polling places by 7 a.m. and deliver any voters who didn't have a ride.

A criminal complaint said the defendants originally planned to put up Democratic yard signs, placards and bumper stickers at the Republican office in a scheme they called "Operation Elephant Takeover." But the plan was dropped when they learned a security guard was posted at the GOP office, the complaint said.

One witness told investigators the five defendants, dressed in "Mission Impossible" type gear, black outfits and knit caps, left the Democratic Party headquarters at about 3 a.m. on Nov. 2, and returned about 20 minutes later, extremely excited and talking about how they had slashed the tires.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Seth Boffeli said the five were paid employees of Kerry's campaign, but were not acting on behalf of the campaign or party.

"This is not something we engage in, or encourage. We had to make it clear that this is something these individuals were doing on their own," Boffeli said. Rick Wiley, state GOP executive director, discovered the vandalism on the morning of Election Day.

"It was unbelievable that people could stoop this low in a political campaign," he said. "I figured it had to be someone from the opposition. But I didn't think someone on the paid Kerry campaign would do this."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Siss-Boom-Bah

The sound of a sheep exploding.

Johnny Carson, RIP.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

The Judicial Emporer's Newest Clothes

Okay, since when does the Minnesota Supreme Court's rulemaking power override statutes?

I know that it is a picayune matter, only of interest to courthouse hacks, but the Minnesota Legislature gave the power to set the rates that are charged for copies of court transcripts to local Chief Judges. You know, long live local control....

Yet, because the Minnesota Supreme Court did not like that statute, for whatever reason, the latest amendments to the General Rules of Practice informs lawyers that the Minnesota Supreme Court has disbanded the statute in favor of more centralized rate-making power.

The Court declares: "The maximum rate charged for the transcription of any proceeding shall be established, until July 1, 2005, by the Conference of Chief Judges, and thereafter by the Judicial Council. Minnesota Statutes § 486.06 (2002) is superseded to the extent that it conflicts with this procedure." See, this link:

Superseded, huh? Well, that's interesting.

I have been paging through my copy of the Minnesota Constitution, but I can't find any place where it gives the 7 member court the power to supersede statutes and put in substitute text.

Can anyone help me find that section?


Blogger Mark said...

Could you provide the name of the case or whatever else it takes to find this ruling?

1:37 PM, January 25, 2005  
Blogger Lance Rimpi said...

I edited the post with the link. The superseding language is on page 35.

7:24 PM, January 26, 2005  

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Friday, January 21, 2005

Dean will be next DNC Chair

I'll go out on a limb and predict that Howard Dean will be the next DNC chair barring some cataclysmic event. My reasons?
  1. I don't think Dean would be running this hard if he thought he could lose. Another high profile loss so soon after the primary loss would doom him.
  2. I think that the DNC activists probably think that the recent losses have to do with trying to be more like Republicans, and Dean is the anti-Republican. I think this is wrong, but I believe that the tendency of the base is to take stronger stands on their core positions. I believe that is how the Republican base would react, and I think it applies equally well to the Democrats.
  3. I think some Dems think that in retrospect, Dean would have been a better candidate. At least he would have been forceful and stick to his positions. I don't agree, but I think some see it that way.
I also believe that Dean as chair will ultimately be a disaster for the Democratic Party. They will organize and raise money and it will appear that they are back on track, but they will lose elections under Dean, and that's really what counts.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Rolling Stone Refuses Ad for Bible

I found this item from CNN very saddening

Rolling Stone magazine declined to run an advertisement for a new translation of the Bible aimed at young people, the nation's largest bible publisher [Zondervan]said Wednesday. .... On Tuesday, USA today quoted Kent Brownridge, general manager of Wenner Media publisher of Rolling Stone], as saying his staff first saw the ad copy last week, and "we are not in the business of publishing advertising for religious messages." [emphasis added]

Personally, I would have thought that Wenner Media was in the business of making money. While I wholeheartedly support the notion that a business can pick and choose which advertisers they wish to allow into their publication, I reserve the right to have an opinion on their decision, and this is a bad one.

It's not like it's an advertisement for the KKK. Then again, perhaps in Wenner Media's view, an ad for a bible might indeed be on the same level as an advertisement for the Klan.

Sad. Simply sad.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

But for a switch of 55,000 votes....

Poking around on Taegan Goddard's left-leaning but usually fair and always interesting Political Wire, I ran across this quote from Bob Schrum, Sen. Kerry’s former political advisor and 0-8 presidential campaign loser:
"We're just going to stay in Washington while getting ready for our move [to New York, where Shrum, starting next month, will teach at NYU]. My aim is to stay out of the 'limited traffic zone.' How am I feeling? Disappointed. Right now, I'm waiting for a camera crew from CNN to interview me about Karl Rove. Just think, a switch of 55,000 votes in Ohio, and I wouldn't have been doing this interview. But you've got to be gracious." -- Lloyd Grove, New York Daily News

I’m getting a little tired of hearing this line about the vote switch in Ohio. Let’s give Mr. Schrum his 59,386 vote switchers in Ohio. In exchange, I ask for only about 10% fewer vote switchers in Wisconsin – 5,908 to be exact. That leaves us with

Bush - 286 – 20 + 10 = 276
Kerry - 252 + 20 – 10 = 262

Hmmm. That won’t do it either. Let’s try giving him the 59,386 in Ohio, but we’ll take 33,745 vote switchers in Oregon.

Bush - 286 – 20 + 7 = 273
Kerry - 252 + 20 – 7 = 265
Dang. Let’s try the Ohio swap with 49,223 switchers here in Minnesota


Bush - 286 – 20 + 10 = 276
Kerry - 252 + 20 – 10 = 262
I guess that it’s perfectly OK to pick-and-choose vote switching states when it works in their favor, but not in ours. I shouldn’t be surprised. I seem to recall this strategy being tried and failing in Florida a few years ago.

Certainly, we can play with numbers all day and they get interesting when you work with IA and NM. In fact, there is probably a scenario where the Democrat elector here in Minnesota who cast his/her vote for President for "John Ewards" would have made the difference.

Still, the bottom line is that the results are the results, and all the wishing in the world won't change it. Let's stop talking about vote switching in Ohio. Time to take your own advice and MoveOn, people.

--- NOTE: Vote Total Statistics from CNN.com

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Festivus,

Give them their butfors and their ifonlys. Anyone who watches any sports knows thats loser talk.

2:01 PM, January 19, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OHIO 2004: 6.15% Kerry-Bush vote-switch found in probability study

Defining the vote outcome probabilities of wrong-precinct voting has revealed, in a sample of 166,953 votes (1/34th of the Ohio vote), the Kerry-Bush margin changes 6.15% when the population is sorted by probable outcomes of wrong-precinct voting.

The Kerry to Bush 6.15% vote-switch differential is seen when the large sample is sorted by probability a Kerry wrong-precinct vote counts for Bush. When the same large voter sample is sorted by the probability Kerry votes count for third-party candidates, Kerry votes are instead equal in both subsets.

Read the revised article with graphs of new findings:

The 2004 Ohio Presidential Election: Cuyahoga County Analysis
How Kerry Votes Were Switched to Bush Votes

http://jqjacobs.net/politics/ohio.html

PowerPoint: http://jqjacobs.net/politics/vote_switching.ppt

5:21 PM, February 10, 2007  

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Jesse on MLK

Last evening, I caught the tail end of Greta Van Susteren's On The Record show on Fox. She was interviewing Rev. Jesse Jackson. Besides being a great moral and ethical leader, Jackson was also a contemporary of Dr. King and is often sought out for comments on MLK day.

Greta asked Jackson what grade Dr. King would give America today on our progress in racial equality. Rather than take this time to wax eloquently on the significant progress our country has made, Jackson instead discussed only the last 4 years and how horrible the Bush administration has been. No mention of progress, minority home ownership, Powell or Rice, and indeed no mention of a grade.

I have to say that I was stunned, although by now, having grown up in Chicago and seen plenty of Rev. Jackson's silliness, I should really expect this kind of partisian trash even on the occasion of Dr. King's birth where one would hope that we could rise above such pettiness. Greta appeared as surprised as I was, and she gave him another bite at the apple by asking the question again. She clearly was looking for some introspective answer on the state of race relations today, but yet again, Jackson proved how low he's willing to go by again bashing Bush.

I guess it's too much to ask that the Main Stream Media ignore this pretender. He's no longer relevant, and to continue to give him airtime is a waste of bandwidth.





Reaganmas

Mitch Berg over at ShotInTheDark writes about Reaganmas, on February 6th, the occasion of our former President's birthday. While I'm sure that his call for it to be a national holiday is with tongue firmly in cheek, I think this is a worthwhile opt-in occasion for we conservatives to celebrate the life of this great man and remind ourselves and our children the value of principles, conviction and leadership.

Monday, January 17, 2005

MLK

Powerline has several moving tributes to Martin Luther King (see here and here).

I think we as conservatives tend to overlook the man's accomplishments because, frankly, he could be pretty damned socialist.

But as Charles Krauthammer has pointed, he is also a man who did something amazing that we all should be thankful for. Post WWII, we went from a society where Blacks were considered (and treated) by many to be less than human, to the one we have today -- an enormous social shift -- with extremely little violence. It is hard to find previous examples where that much needed change occured without a civil war. And it was a close run thing. Many, like Malcolm X, did preach violent revolution. But King offered better counsel and we should all be thankful his voice was the one listened to. This man deserves to be honored.

Social Security and the StarTribune

Today's StarTribune editorial is pretty vile. They write
Of all the lies -- let's call them by their right name -- that the Bush administration is spreading about Social Security, none is as vile as the canard Bush repeated last Tuesday, when he said, "African-American males die sooner than other males do, which means the [Social Security] system is inherently unfair to a certain group of people. And that needs to be fixed." That is an entirely phony assertion; it has been debunked by the Social Security Administration, by the Government Accountability Office and by other experts. Bush and those around him know that. For them to repeat what they know to be a blatant lie is despicable fear-mongering.

The editorial then explains why they think the claim is a lie: Social Security is a combination of three programs - a pension scheme (the biggest chunk), an insurance scheme (it pays benefits to the survivors of those who die before reaching retirement) and a disability program (it pays benefits to those who become disabled before reaching retirement). Black males may get a pretty raw deal from the pension aspect of Social Security but they get a good deal on the disability and insurance portions and these effects tend to cancel each other out, making Bush a despicable, vile lying liar who tells lies.

However, no one is proposing any changes to the disability or insurance parts of Social Security. All the proposed changes regard the pension program, the one where Black males really are getting a bad deal. If the pension part allows for individual accounts and the disability and insurance portions are unchanged, Black males will especially benefit. Of course, calling Bush a liar has worked so well for the last four years, why not try it for another four?

The editorial ends with
Social Security is a complex program, so it's easy to tell outright lies or make misleading statements about it with little fear of contradiction from the general public. All Americans should be on notice that the Bush administration, in its drive to start dismantling Social Security, isn't telling the truth on several fronts.

The system is not in crisis; it has money to last for about the next half century, and even then, if nothing is done the required benefit cuts would still leave retirees better off than those getting benefits today. Pay close attention to this debate, and don't get snookered. The crisis in Social Security is no more real than the "crisis" that led the United States to war in Iraq.

The Iraq mention is just galling. Do they forget even Clinton was sure they had WMD? The "no crisis" quote is bothersome as well. It caused me to write the following letter. We'll see if it gets printed.
Contrary to the assertion in yesterday's editorial, yes Virginia, there is indeed a Social Security crisis, even though there are many facts which might cause one to be incorrectly unworried. For instance, right now the Social Security trust fund is solidly in the black and becoming more so every day. Further, the problem is not that benefit payouts will exceed Social Security taxes starting around 2018, and thus benefits will have to be paid by dipping into the trust fund. There is nothing wrong with a system which in some years brings in more than it pays out and in other years pays out more than it brings in. That's what the trust fund is for. The problem isn't even that the trust fund will be exhausted sometime around 2040, or when today's twenty-somethings retire. If demographics were such that from then on, taxes would cover benefits, having nothing left in the trust fund wouldn't be a problem. But the demographics are NOT favorable in 2040. When today's twenty-somethings retire, not only will there be no Social Security trust fund, but the ratio of retirees to workers will most likely be so large that Social Security taxes will not even come close to covering benefits. Now the date 2040 is, of course, an estimate. Perhaps the day the system hits the wall will be later (and perhaps not). But our best estimates are that the system will hit a wall where nothing, not a trust fund, not Social Security tax revenues, but a big fat nothing is set in place to pay benefits to today's young workers. That is indeed a crisis.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Mara Liasson's warped view of money

This morning, I caught a brief comment made by Mara Liasson of NPR on Fox News Sunday. During the panel discussion on the Social Security debate and the concept of private accounts, Liasson said something like (I'll update this to the exact quote when the transcript is available):

"...want the government to give you some money to help you create your own wealth..."
What's so insightful about this is that Ms. Liasson, the good lefty that she is, still inherently thinks that all money is the government's money. The truth, of course, is that it is OUR money, not the government's money, and the concept of private accounts simply let us keep more of our own money. The fact that she and many others on her side of the aisle still fail to recognize this basic economic fact tells us just about everything we need to know about their agenda.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Supreme Arrogance

Further and irrefutable evidence that the United States Supreme Court is grievously out of control came this week in the landmark case United States v. Booker. In ruling that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines were merely advisory to federal judges, a five-justice majority fashioned the Sentencing Guidelines regime as Congress would have enacted had they known the correct constitutional doctrine.

See, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=04-104#opinion2

The Court reconstitutes itself as a 5 person, national legislature, for life, under the legal doctrine of "woulda, shoulda, coulda."

Scotty, beam us all up.... Quick!

LR

Thursday, January 13, 2005

How catastrophic is the tsunami?

Consider the following: the world has about 6 billion people. A rough estimate of the number that die in any given year is about 1%, or 60 million people per year. (About 1.2 million people die each year worldwide just in car accidents). Divide 60 million by 365 and you have about 165 thousand people dying each and every day. And given the nature of the world, a good number of them are children and good number of these deaths happen with little or no warning.

So assuming 270 thousand people died in the tsunami, then that day had roughly 2.6 times, or 160% more than the usual number of deaths. That week had roughly 29% more deaths than usual and that month (December) had roughly 6.5% more deaths than usual.

I’m not trying to minimize anyone’s suffering or get people not to be generous. But the reaction to this tsunami seems to me a bit over the top. Using the tsunami to question, as did the Archbishop of Canterbury among many others, the existence of God? Because 2004 ends up having one half of one percent more deaths than usual? Please.

We should always care about human suffering and do what we can to help. But every day across the world, families one by one face their own little tsunamis when this child gets malaria or that child dies of Diarrhea. We shouldn’t let the media dictate our empathies.

(My favorite curmudgeon, John Derbyshire at National Review Online, writes why he is having trouble getting too worked up over the tsunami. His reasons differ from mine but he is worth reading.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Baseball Will Clean Up Steroid Problem

Major League Baseball will clean up its steroid problem like it has cleaned up cheating in the past. The problems with NFL and NBA go much deeper. What are they selling? At least with baseball, you get what you get. In the NFL and NBA, there are all these unpleasant extras . . .

Sunday, January 09, 2005

NFL Like NBA Has Image Problems

In an earlier post, I argued after the Pistons-Pacers on-court fight that the NBA had an image problem that could not be easily fixed. I thought the popularity of the NBA over time would decline unless the players behaved themselves.

Now, I think this is also true with the NFL -- America's most popular sport. The Janet Jackson incident and the Randy Moss incident today during the Packers show how low this sport has taken itself. The parents over time will simply shut off the parents -- or at least enough of them so it is not America's most popular sport any longer.

How many days until Spring Training?

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

How many days until spring training?

I don't know, but is it time enough for me to ingest enough "supplements" to make my arms the size of tree trunks? I've heard that comes in handy these days.

9:25 PM, January 09, 2005  

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Prognostication Vindicated

Today, the Vikings prevailed as I previously predicted. Although earlier, I did get the date of the game wrong. I believe Vikings diehards will forgive me.

Now that I am on a roll. I predict the Vikings will prevail over the Eagles on Sunday, but by a small margin.

Go Vikings!

Classless Moss

For those of you who didn't see the 'unique' TD celebration by Randy Moss in today's Vikings win over the Packers, consider yourselves lucky. The man is a disgrace and clearly knows no boundaries. I've been a fan of the Fox football analysts (Brown, Bradshaw, Long and Johnson), but they outdid themselves today with their rejection of this utterly classless act. Bradshaw called for NFL action, and I hope his call is heeded.

My 5 year old son is a huge football fan, so I'm thankful that he was momentarily looking somewhere else during this display. I'd love to see the Vikings win again next week against the Eagles, but I hope that Coach Tice will show some guts and bench Moss. He's an embarassment and needs to be taught a lesson. I don't expect this to happen, but one can hope.

To quote the Fox guys: "Talent does not equal class". No one better portrays this statement other than the Minnesota Vikings own Randy Moss.

Prediction

I predict the Vikings will win 31-17 with Culpepper with four touchdowns and the Vikings scoring on their first three possesions.

Blogger festivus said...

Boy Chris, what great predicitions. I'm so glad that Blogger has a feature that allows you to change the time of your post. It certainly makes accurate prognostication much easier.

7:21 PM, January 09, 2005  

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Saturday, January 08, 2005

The World awaits...

... SSC's pick for the winner of tomorrow's Vikings/Packers game. His silence so far on this, a topic so near and dear to our hearts, makes me want to say...


Friday, January 07, 2005

GWB's First Term Jobs Performance

From ABCNews.com's The Note today:

The Labor Department reported this morning that the economy added 157,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate remains at 5.4 percent. All told, reports ABC News' Daniel Arnall the economy added nearly 2.1 million jobs last year — the best for growth since 1999. But President Bush's first term still shows a net job loss of 210,000.

A few things struck me when I read this

  • WOW!. I'm serious. WOW! After dealing with a stock market in the doledrums, the aftermath of corporate scandals, a recession and the impact on the economy of the 9/11 attacks, the economy only lost 210,000 jobs? That is truly amazing performance, and one that we should cheer.
  • Where is all the hang-wringing from the Democrats about how horrible the economy is now that the election is over? If the economy was truly as bad as they said it was and people everywhere were hurting as they claimed, why did their constant drumbeat cease the moment John Kerry conceded? I think we all know the answer to that one....
  • In a parallel universe where John Kerry won the election (ok, so it's probably a bad universe to be in, but stay with me here), what are the Democrats and Main-Stream Media saying about the November and December jobs reports? If you listen carefully, you can almost hear through the wormhole statements like "The economy and job creation surged after the election of John F. Kerry, as confidence in the new administration led to much higher than expected growth rates, and as plans for our pullout from Iraq and pending negotiation with Osama Bin Laden created a sense of optimism for the future".

The economy has been heating up for some time now. How great it is for GWB to be re-elected so that he can get the credit for the sound tax policies that were implemented in his first term.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Government Role in Tsunami Warnings and Global Warming Research

In several recent posts ssc proposed the government should have a role in Tsunami warning systems and research on global warming (see here and here). I agree on tsunami warning systems and somewhat agree on research on global warning.

Tsunami warning systems and research on global warming are both classic public goods, where a public good is defined as a good where, once it is produced, it is impossible to exclude those who didn’t pay for it from receiving its benefits. Once you have a warning system in place, everyone knows it will be shared by everyone. How do you warn only those people on the coast who paid for a warning system? Such goods can be underprovided by free associations. Consider trying to provide a system with private donations. A selfish person would only contribute, say $100, if the increase in the quality of the system by spending an extra $100 was worth $100 to him. He would ignore the fact that everyone else benefited from the better system. Altruism works sometimes, but it's usually better not to count on it.

The only problem with this is that all it shows is that there is a potential for constructive government action. In a sense, it assumes a benevolent efficient government that will do the right thing with the tax dollars given it. This seems a reasonably fair assumption to me for a tsunami warning system, although the usual cost overruns and corruption concerns still exist. On global warning research I’m more skeptical.

Figuring out the truth about a subject (basic research) is also a public good. Once the truth is known, it’s pretty hard to keep those who didn’t pay to discover it from knowing it as well. But it’s not always true that everyone benefits from knowing the truth. Some people have a lot invested in the global warming outcome. If it’s known that studies which get particular preliminary answers tend to get more followup dollars, then you can’t trust the answers.

Blogger ssc said...

Excellent points, Chris.

8:05 PM, January 09, 2005  

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Monday, January 03, 2005

Constructive Bi-Partisanship Only Temporary

Bi-partisanship may be back in vogue with President George W. Bush joining President Bill Clinton and former President George H.W. Bush in a tsunami fund-raising effort. But, even it is, it won't last very long. We can not rely on the persistent counterproductive non-partisanship to wither away. It will be back and with a vengeance.

Washington is overrun with intellectual conformity of two flavors: conservative and liberal. Often, this bipolar and I mean bipolar approach leads to unhealthy stagnation with respect to treating the nation's issues.

For example, although I am skeptical about global warming, I am not convinced the government has done the proper planning for it. I would liken my position to that of the Indian Ocean rim nations prior to last month's tsunami. The people of these nations did not expect a tsunami because a major one had not occurred in one hundred years -- but that doesn't mean the government should not have planned for it. So, with global warming, I have my opinions but I expect my government to confirm my opinions or plan as if I were wrong. I can accept either result, but not neither.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

VIKINGS STUMBLE INTO PLAYOFFS

The Minnesota Vikings lost to the Redskins today -- ending the season 8-8. Due to the expanded NFL playoff format -- similar to college grade inflation -- the Vikings still graduate with honors and make the playoffs. The Vikings do not deserve to be in the playoffs. The NFL needs to reformat the playoff, so only teams with winning records proceed.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Please note ssc's oracular abilities in his previous
post http://johnadamsblog.blogspot.com/2004/12/vikings-fans-will-be-rewarded-on.html

Hmmm. 0-2?

9:08 PM, January 02, 2005  

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