Archive for May, 2010

Steamboats and Oil Rigs »

“[P]rogress marches with tragedy[;] ... new capacities breed new horrors,” as T. J. Stiles writes on page 67 of his masterful biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt titled The First Tycoon (Knopf, 2009). Mr. Stiles refers in that passage to the death and destruction caused by a series of regrettable accidents at the dawn of the...
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Billionaire Entrepreneur Complains of Regime Uncertainty »

Speaking to CNBC in Las Vegas recently, Steve Wynn, the billionaire developer and operator of entertainment properties, said: “Washington is unpredictable these days. No one has any idea what’s next . . . the uncertainty of the business climate in America is frightening, frightening to everybody, and it’s delaying recovery.” Wynn complains of “wild,...
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The Onion: Congressmen Demand Passage of “The IHOP Should Stay Open All Night Act” »

Here is The Onion-SPAN2 satirically reporting on a “hearing” for the emergency bill H.R. 323 (under the provisions of the National Emergency Legislation Act) that has been proposed by a bipartisan group of congressmen, “The IHOP Should Stay Open All Night So That We Can Get Some Pancakes Act.” Submitted the previous night at...
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Noel Campbell on Immigration »

My Division of Labour co-blogger Noel Campbell hits a home run with today’s post on immigration. Two key quotes: Arizona doesn’t have an illegal immigration problem; Arizona has an organized crime violence problem. What created the incentives for organized crime (and its penchant for violence) to develop? Well, the War on Drugs, of course....
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What’s Wrong With This Global Warming Story? »

Today’s test is to read the following news report, and identify its logical fallacy: “Loss of Species After Ice Age Seen as Warning,” by David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle Science Editor, May 24, 2010 You have 30 minutes. ... OK, time’s up. A) The article cited above says: Fossils of small mammals excavated around...
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The TSA’s Double-Secret Probation List »

Turns out the Transportation Security Administration maintains a secret list of people who “make its screeners feel threatened.” The database, reports USA Today, records incidents including “threats, bullying or verbal abuse, remarks about death or violence, brandishing a real or fake weapon, intentionally scaring workers or excessive displays of anger such as punching a...
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If Only the Onion Were the Real News »

A satirical news clip from the Onion is titled: “Obama To Create 17 New Jobs By Resigning And Finally Opening That Restaurant.” The irony is that, of course, the economy would in fact thrive much better if such politicians spent their time in the private sector, creating wealth, rather than in the public sector,...
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Private Pay Shrinks to Historic Lows »

That’s the headline in this USA Today article. Some excerpts: “Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year... At the same time, government-provided benefits—from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs—rose to a record high... The result is...
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Twelve Parallels in Political Economy »

The federal budget is to a tolerable government as the Palace of Versailles is to a two-car garage. *** The Code of Federal Regulations is to the rule of law as a trainload of cyanide is to a nutritious diet. *** A member of Congress is to the preservation of our liberties as a member...
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Jury Not Judge to Decide Whether a Weapon Is a Machine Gun »

Today the Supreme Court decided United States v. O’Brien. Under 18 U.S.C. 924(c) certain mandatory minimum sentences apply for carrying/using/possessing a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime. The typical mandatory minimum is 5 years, but if the weapon is a machine gun, then the minimum becomes 30 years. The Court, in a unanimous...
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