SWEAT EQUITY: "Fight corporate greed! Be a summer intern for UNITE!" So runs an e-mail advertisement from the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees. The ad goes on to say that the stipend is $350 a week, that housing will not be provided--in New York City, remember--and that internships are "full time and may include long, irregular hours." Hmm. Guess it depends what you mean by the word "greed."
Last April, PETA donated $1,500 to ELF "to support their program activities." A look at ELF's Web page leaves little doubt what those activities are, with a press release taking credit for a fire at a University of Minnesota biotech lab. A sidebar features handy items such as "Setting Fires with Electrical Timers: An Earth Liberation Front Guide" and "If an Agent Knocks: Federal Investigators and Your Rights." In previous years, PETA has used its tax-free dollars to support other advocates of violence, such as the $45,200 contribution it gave to the "support committee" of Rodney Coronado, an arsonist who pleaded guilty to setting fire to a Michigan State University lab.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk says that these are tiny items in multimillion-dollar annual budgets, that the ELF donation was for a publication (and not its illegal activities), and that Mr. Coronado is a "very nice" and "idealistic" young man. Besides, she says, "there's a difference between violence to property and violence to persons."
You might try telling that to a fireman.
Seems to me that PETA functions in regard to the ELF in the same way that Sinn Fein functions to the IRA.
Today, lacking any bandwith stories or random encounters, he tackles the corrupting effect of Video Games.
1. Games. This morning I played a game whose realism would make the hardest soul flinch, whose blood-spattered mayhem will warp young minds from Manilla to Maine, whose demonic scenarios are sure to drag the tender souls of the nation into a pit of boiling perdition from which only their tortured screams will escape.
I refer, of course, to Doom. I’d heard a radio host interview a woman who was Concerned about Violent Video games, and sure enough someone brought up that ex-military guy who called games like “Doom” “murder simulators.” They teach you to aim for the upper body! Well, with all due respect, it is impossible in Doom to aim anywhere else, since there’s no up or down. And while I will admit that the game gave me a unique skill set, my abilities are useful only when I am being fired upon by blocky sprites whose gunshot blasts to my torso make me 27% less healthy. I do know that I can defeat a raging pink tasmanian devil by letting him gargle with my chain saw, but again, such opportunities are rare. Ditto for the large hovering tomatoes with the toothy grin - I can bring them down with two rockets, providing that someone has conveniently left a rocket launcher and a box of ammo behind.
The Columbine lads were introduced into the argument, of course. I remember being surprised that those fargin’ bastiches played Doom - at a time when Quake was out? This was like preferring flip-books to Cinerama. I’ve only played one video game that made me feel uneasy about its moral construct, and that was “Kingpin.” I don’t know what those guys were thinking. Oh, yes, please, by all means society needs a game with location-specific pain-skins on crack whores. Please, let me beat drunks with a tire iron. Make sure it’s out by Christmas.
The game didn’t do well, as opposed to Doom, which sold a billion copies. And for good reason. There is a time-honored need for men to skulk around intermittently -lit warehouses that have been overrun by the spawn of hell. And at the time it was so utterly different from every other game that you could suspend disbelief quite easily, and jump when something scary happened. So playing it today was like visiting an old friend. (And shooting him.) The ReadMe file said I could find additional levels at “on-line services, such as CompuServe.” And that reminded me: in 94, when Doom came out, the web was no more than fifty pages, half of which linked to the Coke Server. Now we have the glories of the web, and the magnifi- sorry, the stunning graphics of Halo. In seven years I fully expect my X3Box will contain a small nozzle to spatter me with viscera.
I'm currently playing Pop Top's "Tropico", a Sim City type game where you get to be the Dictator on a tropical island in the Caribbean. Obviously the only thing holding me back from beginning la revolucion here in Canada to bring around my enlightened rule is the climate and that we already have our own dictator, Papa Jean.
We refuse to be swayed by such unfair tactics as logic and reason! Don't bring up relevant facts!
I thought the PC line was that only white people could be racist.
Speaking of relevant facts, the article leaves out a few interesting points, considering that the accusation was racism. The GSU Republican mentioned in his letter to the editor.
When they arrived with their protest signs at our membership table, the students working the table and representing the College Republicans were comprised of an Asian female, a Middle Eastern male, an African American male, and two Caucasian males. Racist, I think not! As the chairman of the GSU College Republicans, I have been complimented repeatedly on our diversity, which I take great pride in.
The Message Board at the bottom of the original article is also rather interesting. The first protester starts it off with a touch of class.
On Ken Layne's blog under the title "Oh, and what the hell is this?" is a supposed CNN article, dated December 2nd, 1999. Take a look.
Have you looked?
My first reaction to this was to think it was an old publicity stunt for Schwarzenegger's 2000 movie, The Sixth Day, but the dates don't match.
So I got to thinking, what are the odds this will be linked on conspiracy websites really soon, if it isn't already. Then I decided, why wait? let's make our own conspiracy theory for this.
Microsoft's "Zapruder Film"
The evidence is here! CNN reported it! It must be real!
Proceeding from this well grounded premise, let's decide what we want to work into the theory. Late 1999, the NASDAQ was still climbing to ever increasing heights and Alan Greenspan was the third largest religion in the Western World. So, we start with the evil financial markets and Alan. Oh yeah, have to work Enron in here too, back when they were a solvent evil corporation. Obviously we have to bring in the Microsoft Antitrust suit as well. Judge Jackson. Must work in Florida and George W Bush's election campaign. A year early, but stealing an election takes planning. This must be part of it. Oh yes, must mention CNN as an evil corporate right wing media giant, suppressing dissent. Ted Turner, that American Capitalist Fascist Imperialist Tool! (Mandatory mention of "fascist", Check.) Cloning, GM Foods, the IMF and World Bank. LOTS OF CAPS. EVERYTHING MAKES SENSE AND IS OBVIOUSLY TRUE IF IT'S IN CAPS. pay litle attentino to spelling nd grammer. We also have to mention the "Battle for Seattle". (You may have notice that chronology doesn't matter much here.) The story involves the LAPD. This is just too easy. There's enough in this article alone to write a book on what happened at the scene, but the book will never be published because the corporate lapdog publishers are afraid of what will happen to them if they print THE TRUTH......
The great thing is, I don't actually have to organize that lot into anything coherent. If I did, it's coherence would be an obvious sign that it was part of a CIA black operation to conceal the truth.
Israel will establish buffer zones. Compromises will be needed, but not on security. That's pretty much it.
I'm hoping Mr. DenBeste will weigh in on the buffer zone idea. I'm sure the words "Maginot Line" will crop up somewhere. A buffer might have been a better idea before the palestinians started using the Kassam rockets.
"When we were at peace, Democrats wanted to raise taxes. Now there's a war, so Democrats want to raise taxes. When there was a surplus, Democrats wanted to raise taxes. Now that there is a mild recession, Democrats want to raise taxes. There is perennially some sector of the economy Teddy Kennedy is longing to socialize and this, too, will require raising taxes.
So it was interesting that Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., recently said of the Bush tax cut: "Ideology dictated that – tax cuts, no matter what the circumstances." At least Republicans admit it.
First, consider the psychosis revealed in the concept of "paying for" tax cuts. Tax cuts aren't something you pay for. It's less money for the government to spend. Hearing politicians tell us "we" can't "afford" a tax cut is like listening to a glutton tell you he can't "afford" a diet. In no other context do people talk about "paying for" money they don't have. I can't pay for your refusal to give me money because I need a yacht. "
Has anyone considered setting up a twelve step program for taxaholics? I mean I like to spend other people's money as much as the next guy, but there's a point that we as a society need to say These people need help. If Wynona Ryder can get help for her "borrowing" habit, why can't they?
in today's National Post, speaking about the need for the Canadian Alliance to cooperate with the Progressive Conservatives.
No Diane, trust is something you gain from experience in dealing with someone when they've dealt fairly with you. If you start with trust, irrespective of your prior experience, you are a fool. You will be used as such.
Jeff Jacoby explores the global warming issue and adds some historical context and reveals the Shocking conclusion of the UN's scientific research into global warming. (A conclusion the UN seems to be keeping very close to the chest. Wonder why?)
Ariel Sharon will be making a televised address to Israel today. Given the more aggressive action the Israeli armed forces are taking, I expect this to be a very pivotal speech.
"I will respond to the Palestinian terror, but I will not drag this nation into all-out war," Sharon told reporters in an impromptu press conference in the Knesset cafeteria, promising to be more specific in tonight's speech.
Ah yes, such a fine distinction between "all out war" and the war that has been waged against Israel for over fifty years.
George W.Bush at the DMZ in Korea "South Korea is more than a successful nation, it is an example to the world. When nations embrace freedom, they find economic and social progress. When nations accept the rules of the modern world, they find the benefits of the modern world. And when nations treat men and women with dignity, they find true greatness.
When satellites take pictures of the Korean Peninsula at night, the South is awash in light. The North is almost completely dark. Kim Dae-jung has put forward a vision that can illuminate the whole Peninsula. We want all the Koreans to live in the light.
My vision is clear: I see a Peninsula that is one day united in commerce and cooperation, instead of divided by barbed wire and fear. Korean grandparents should be free to spend their final years with those they love. Korean children should never starve while a massive army is fed. No nation should be a prison for its own people. No Korean should be treated as a cog in the machinery of the state."
There is no more stark an example of the difference between socialism and capitalism than the two Koreas. After WW2, both were ruined and had to build from the ground up. One is prosperous and free, the other a brutal stalinist regime that starves its people.
What a fascinating article. It's amazing how, when evidence suggests that global warming is something that has been happening on and off for millions of years naturally, the researchers can't make the logical jump that maybe the current global warming might be an extension of that natural trend.
Scientists concerned about global warming are especially troubled by dramatic signs of climate change in Antarctica -- from rapidly melting glaciers to unexplained declines in penguin populations.
Records show that average winter temperatures today are 10 degrees higher in parts of Antarctica than 50 years ago. If that warming trend continues, say many climate experts, the vast Antarctic ice sheets could melt, causing catastrophic coastal flooding as the world's oceans rise.
Ironically, say researchers, the most pristine continent on Earth is heating up primarily because of increased greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants and other human endeavors elsewhere on the planet.
Which makes about as much sense as being punched in the nose and feeling it in your foot. Will someone please explain to me how these gases mysteriously manage to have such a greater effect on areas far away from the emmission point? Don't gases move from high concentrations to low concentrations naturally? If so, wouldn't the effect of any greenhouse gases be concentrated around the emission points where they would logically be most concentrated?
But new geologic evidence unearthed from deep-sea mud deposits strongly suggests that Antarctica experienced periods of extreme warming and cooling long before the invention of the automobile.
"We've got a sedimentary record that reveals very significant changes in water temperature and ice melt during the past 7,000 years," said Robert Dunbar, professor of geological and environmental sciences. "The cause of these highly variable climate changes is still a mystery."
No it's not, the author of the article just told us that it's "primarily because of increased greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants and other human endeavors elsewhere on the planet." So the author listened to professor Dunbar tell him that the causes of climate changes are still a mystery but feels free to clarify the issue for the reader before allowing the good professor his say. I presume Mr. Schwartz holds a higher qualification in geological and environmental sciences than professor Dunbar but left it off his byline out of humility.
If the climate changes of millions of years ago are a mystery, it's because they haven't found a way to blame them on humans.
"Like Ralph "Everything's the Same!" Nader, that rich guy Michael Moore has been all over the news tonight. I first saw him on the Bill O'Reilly show, and he just showed up on ABC's late news show. Both times, Moore sat there in his baseball cap and wispy beard and blamed all troubles on the current administration. Of course, he supported Nader and would be doing the same tired act if Gore was the president. How many North Koreans could live off Moore's daily caloric intake? How many Iraqi babies could thrive off Moore's breakfast?"
I wonder, does Moore ever feel any guilt about his size? After all, much of the leftist philosophy he espouses boils down to the idea that we should feel guilty for having a higher standard of living than the rest of the world and that we should be willing to do with substantially less.
Probably not. I've always noticed that leftists insist that any sacrifices to be made have to come from everyone else before they are willing to sacrifice themselves. This has been amply demonstrated by Arkansas' "Tax me more Fund", which has raised a grand total of $276. Virginia is about to establish a similar program. (Via Megan McArdle.
"And it’s this sort of love that a U of Cal professor regards as a breeding ground for terrorism. On the radio today I heard an hour-long interview with some hay-headed professor who teaches a class in gender, class, ethnicity, paper, plastic, Heinz, and Hunts. She believes that the family is the greatest threat to humanity today - specifically, the (crash of thunder, neighing of frightened horses) Patriarchal Family, with its army of thick-browed brutes picking their teeth with bowie knives while their cowering wives sit hunched in the corner, polishing daddy’s brass knuckles. If’n I see any yore hair left on them, you’re in for a whuppin agin, and this time I ain’t stoppin’ for refreshments. Ah’ve been readin’ up onna my Playboys, an’ they done taught me how to drink while beatin’, and Ah’ve got a pahrful hankerin’ to try. It’s us menfolk whut breed terrorism, and our very desire to be part of our children’s lives just turns them into al Qaeda cellmembers.
I’m not exaggerating. She regarded all marriages as oppressive to women and bad for children, since they acculturate children to accept marriage as a viable concept for organizing society. We’re not talking about making marriages more equal - who could argue? - no, we’re talking about abolishing marriage entirely. How this would be accomplished, I didn’t hear - as part of my daily regimen of wife-oppression, I had to run upstairs and change the baby’s diaper while making supper, and I was a bit distracted. I assume that once this woman’s ideas were accepted by all, marriage would wither away like the state - although as with Communism, the failure of the horrid institution to wither away instantly would require some show trials of the wreckers, the forced relocation of the Promise Keepers to dig a canal across Montana, a pogrom or two for tradition’s sake, and other examples of the munificent state breaking your eggs to provide everyone with a theoretical omelette at some point in the future.
Did I mention she was a former Cuban revolutionary?
Did I mention that she got 70K a year in salary at the public’s expense? Some people like to point to salty nutrolls like her as proof that our culture tolerates intellectual diversity, but that’s disingenuous; there are all sorts of equally fascistic froth-mouths who’d never be able to stand on a soapbox on a campus and talk for a minute without being knocked unconscious by a hailstorm of bookbags, let alone get tenure. (You can bring down the stoutest orator with a John Rawls text alone.)
No, she gets a job, and an audience, and a state stipend, because the long hard coil of her stool contains a few fossilized remains of doctrines still worshipped in places where the light of recent history has yet to penetrate.
You can always make a few hearts flutter by condemning the oppressive nature of marriage, since it hearkens back to the glory days of Friedan et al, when the slave-cult of suburbia was unmasked for all to see, the basement doors were thrown open, and emaciated women - blinking, shivering in their sweat-stained French Maid costumes, tottering unsteadily on their Federally mandated high-heels - were led into the sunlight. Remember: we haven’t progressed a centimeter since then."
"At the toy store: I was looking for a toy my wife had seen at someone else’s house. I asked the name ten times, and forgot it ten times. Street something. Something street. Street Scene! That was it. Playskool’s Street Scene. I asked a clerk if she knew what I was talking about, and got the rote look of disinterest some clerks have when actual customers attempt to enter into a commercial transaction; finally she went to the computer, and pecked “street” into a search field with fingernails longer than T-Rex incisors. I knew what was coming next.
“Scene?” she said.
“S - e - n . . . e?”
“Scene,” I said, unhelpfully.
She typed in S . . E . . .A . . .M
The computer yielded no results for Street Seam, indicating that Playskool did not have a toy designed around a ribbon of bituminous coal running through an urban thoroughfare.
Ye gods. Gnat will be more literate than this woman in a year, I swear. Gnat now knows 2/3rds of the alphabet. Nineteen months, and she knows Q (koo!) and K and T and M and Z; she picks up her blocks and arranges them in rows and says the letters. We do flashcards every day. Why? Because I am evil incarnate, and desire nothing more than the constant incessant oppression of her gender. As I’ll explain later."
""People say to be patient, that the system will get better," says Toshika's mother, Roberta Kitchen, sitting at her dining room table. She gestures to her children in the next room, watching a football game. "But you tell me which of my babies I'm supposed to sacrifice--because it won't be in time for them."
"This press crackdown [in Zimbabwe] has been going on for months, and FAIR, which is so sensitive to the slightest whiff of censorship by the corporate -controlled media, hasn't said a word about the situation in Zimbabwe. The major newspapers haven't said a whole lot about it, either, though they get all worked up about the Pentagon potentially planting the occasional red herring in the foreign press."
"Thank heavens the Liberals in Ottawa have a track record of breaking promises, whether it's scrapping the free-trade deal or refusing to cut taxes back in the early 1990s. Now let's hope the Prime Minister breaks his word again, this time when it comes to signing the Kyoto Accord or meeting its targets."
The point being about Kyoto and it's effect on Canada if the liberals are stupid enough to carry through with it.
"Instead, our hapless Prime Minister signed an economic death warrant.
Judge for yourself. Here's what has to happen for Canada to meet its Kyoto commitment:
- Canada's promise to cut emissions by 6% from 1990 levels by 2010 will cost Canada $140-billion and cripple the economy.
- Canadians are the highest users of energy in the world on a per capita basis. That's not because we waste energy or use more light bulbs or drive more miles. It's because our living standards are based in large measure on making goods or producing commodities for export that require the production of huge amounts of power as inputs.
- To meet the emission cuts by 2010, one-third of our economy would have to be shut down or, alternatively, all our thermal power plants would have to be converted to nuclear plants at enormous cost. Probably several hundred billions of dollars."
There are several other "minor" requirements such as restricting each family to one car, tripling gas prices and sacrificing any economic progress.
When looking at the Kyoto accord, think back to the Will Wilkinson post about the New Left and how they realigned their beliefs. Then check it against the underlying premises of the Kyoto accord.
"The PoMo left takes option (b), rejecting logic, reason and evidence (it's an oppressive, patriarchal, capitalistic construct, etc.) and rejecting the desirability of progress Further, they must abandon the claim that socialism has rational support. Thus you get:
(1') Logic, reason and evidence (science) is a myth. (2') Progress is destructive. (3') Socialism is supported by ????.
(4') Socialism is good.
(5') Capitalism is evil.
Imagine for a moment that eighty years ago after WW1 that "sustainable development" had been instituted, slowing the pace of technological progress to a crawl. No penicillin, no heart transplants, no polio vaccine, little air travel, no internet, few cars, no equal rights, no skyscrapers, no recycling, belching smokestacks, no solar power, no man on the moon, no telephones, power and plumbing in every house.
Smoking would still be recommended by doctors as a habit contributing to a person's health.
When I was three, I came down with a very serious infection. I would not have lived with the medical care available in 1920. Excuse me if I have a slight stake in continued development of technology and our standard of living.
"Green organizations like the World Wildlife Federation and World Resources Institute sent out press releases warning potential reviewers about the evils of Mr. Lomborg's book. No fewer than four prominent academics who have been deeply involved in environmental activism were invited to pen articles denouncing him and belittling his credentials in prestigious Nature magazine last November. Scientific American devoted an extraordinary 11 pages of its January issue to attacking the Lomborg thesis.
And just for good measure, when Mr. Lomborg showed up to debate his thesis at Oxford University, a "global warming" researcher threw a cream pie in his face.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. The savagery of the anti-Lomborg campaign is causing many to wonder if Mr. Lomborg hasn't struck a legitimate nerve. It has also prompted some prominent figures and publications to rally to his defense--if only to point out, as a former Nature editor, Stephen Budiansky, put it, that the attacks "exemplify the unfortunate tendency of some environmental activists, when challenged with well-founded objections to the scientific validity of their alarmist claims about the state of the planet, to respond with such diversionary tactics as counting the number of footnotes cited by their critics, disparaging their credentials and misinterpreting their views--everything, in short, but dealing honestly with the evidence." "
Bjorn has his own website as well. He posts relies to many of the criticisms he's received. Well, at least the ones who don't use cream pies.
Another relevant site is Green Watch, a watchdog group on the environmental goups.
A final word from the Opinion Journal article that speaks volumes.
"In 1989, global-warming enthusiast Stephen Schneider, one of the anti-Lomborg attackers in Scientific American, confessed "[We] are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. . . . Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."
These stats are meaningless really. The dollar total they give is comparing today's dollars to stronger dollars of past years. As ticket prices rise at the theatres each new movie has an inherent advantage over movies in years before because each ticket counts for $10 in "votes" as opposed to, say, $5 in years past.
Stats on the movies counting in Real dollars (inflation adjusted) or even better, the actual number of people who bought tickets to the movie, regardless of what they paid. That would be a measure I'd be interested in.
Will Wilkinson has written two posts in the last month that have pigeonholed the New Left perfectly. The first post, here, details the difference between the Old and New Left. (The rejection of reason) His new post explores how the new left characterizes disagreement with their views. I.e, how they justify their ideas and dismiss opposition without needing to rely on reason.
These two posts are a must read. Will's argument fits the Canadian experience all too well.
"Is the plot even realistic? Would a small boy be denied care he needs? My friend David Henderson, an economist who was born and raised in Manitoba, lives in a small California town of roughly 19,000. In the past five years, he notes, people have appealed to their neighbours three times to help pay major medical bills. In every case, the medical care was provided before the funds were raised. Indeed, Rick Wade, senior vice-president of the American Hospital Association, told The Wall Street Journal that no hospital that can do a transplant would fail to do it because the patient can't pay."
A more realistic health care story, which will never get produced, would be a Canadian confronting a six month waiting list for surgery his son needs within a week in order to live. He then tries to get permission to use a US hospital and have it paid by the health care system but is denied due to ongoing budget problems. He writes his MP begging assistance, who refuses because he didn't vote for that MP in the last election. Being Canadian, he consoles himself that things would be worse under a two-tier health care system.
Updates on the US approach to North Korea.
"The North Koreans have been known to go around with glossy brochures about their ballistic missiles," U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice told reporters last week. "They are stocking a lot of the world right now. We believe the North is exporting to just about anybody who will buy."
"Caracas — A Venezuelan Navy vice-admiral demanded Monday that President Hugo Chavez resign in the latest show of discontent among military top brass.
Earlier this month, an air force colonel and a National Guard captain also demanded Mr. Chavez's resignation. Their demands generated spontaneous anti-Chavez protests that drew thousands to Caracas's streets and spurred millions of dollars in capital flight.
Partly as a result, Mr. Chavez was forced to abandon a costly fixed currency exchange regime last week and allow the Venezuelan currency, the bolivar, to float against the U.S. dollar. The bolivar lost more than 9 per cent of its value against the dollar last week.
He warned that Mr. Chavez's combative style of government, and his creation of neighbourhood committees known as "Bolivarian Circles," could provoke unnecessary bloodshed between Chavez defenders and an increasingly potent opposition.
The vice-admiral — who said he was trained in electronic warfare in the United States — accused Mr. Chavez of veering Venezuela away from its traditional allies, such as Washington, and damaging its interests by cozying up to Cuba and other totalitarian regimes.
"I publicly state my rejection of the conduct of President Chavez and his regime," he said. "We demand a truly democratic system."
But the dissident officers say the military is upset with being forced into nontraditional roles, such as crime fighting and social work, instead of defending the nation. Some officers are known to be upset with the administration's relations with Marxist Colombian rebels and with Fidel Castro, noting that the army fought Castro-backed guerrillas in the 1960s and 1970s.
" Spell Name: Body-Bind
Source: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, page 273:
"(Hermione) raised her wand. "Petrificus Totalus!" she cried, pointing it at Neville. Neville's arms snapped to his sides. His legs sprang together. His whole body rigid, he swayed where he stood and then fell flat on his face, stiff as a board." *
Test Method: This one seems a lot more powerful than the old instant-flashlight trick. Still, Hermione is a first year when she casts this, so it should be no problem whatsoever. I can see where this spell would be very handy when the kids are getting rowdy at the supermarket. Rather than risk one of them getting hurt on the hard tile floor and possibly run over by a shopping cart, I think I'll cast this one on Paula in the living room, where the carpet will gently cushion her fall. We'll have a good laugh over it afterwards, once I figure out how to undo the spell (hopefully, they cover that in Goblet of Fire somewhere...)
Results: Failure. Paula didn't bind. In fact, she snatched my magic wand away and told me to take the trash out.
I've read the Potter books and have been playing role playing games for over a decade. So I wanna know, what am I doing wrong? Where's my goddamm Fireball?!?"
-President Musharraf of Pakistan, at a science and technology confrence of Muslim countries
This is the sort of open acknowledgement of reality that many of us have been watching for over the last few months. An open acknowedgement that many of the muslim world's problems are not the work of the Great Satan or the Israelis. Instead, a lack of research and basic investment in education and development.
Unfortunately, it seems as if Musharraf is calling for a repeat of the Mixed economy's mistakes.
"He [Musharraf] asked the countries participating in the conference to concentrate on scientific and technological development in order to compete with the developed world.
The Pakistani leader suggested the setting up of a multi-billion dollar fund for such a purpose.
Beside this, he said, there was a need for creating centres of excellence in the field of science and technology.
He also called for the creation of scholarships for young scientists to seek knowledge from universities in developed countries. "
This sounds very commendable, but will not lift the muslim world into the first world. None of it. The USSR sent men into space, built Mach 3 jet fighters and had dozens of research institutes and students abroad. The people were still poor and ill cared for.
Development is not exclusively a matter of capital and distribution of knowledge. If it were, the foreign aid programs of the last half century would have worked. There have been massive investments of energy and capital into the third world with only temporary results. The capital rusted and those taught abroad took their knowledge and escaped to the first world.
The goal for developing countries should not be to attain a given level of development as an end. A nation able to say "We produce 1000 phDs a year" is not necessarily going to be prosperous and developed. The goal should be making development a self-sustaining process that will continue with or without government intervention.
Development only takes root and becomes a self sustaining process when grounded in individual human rights and property rights. I've been to Egypt, and the people there are fantastic capitalists. They bargain, sell and are always looking for a good deal, a new way to make a profit. The amount of energy I've seen devoted to business over there is amazing. Given they have the aptitude, why aren't they building and developing their country into the first world?
Hernando De Soto provided the answer to this with his recent book, "The Mystery of Capital". The overriding obstacle to economic development is the difficulty in establishing legal ownership of property. Establishing legal title in Egypt takes about a decade and dozens upon dozens of applications. Using your house as security for a loan becomes impossible. Small businesses never get the opportunity to expand by taking on financing. Having a stable legal system and individual property rights is the key to economic growth and a rising standard of living.
Unfortunately, securing individual rights and property law isn't a sexy as opening a new institute or landing the latest big development program from a first world country. The right thing to do is often unglamourous. It is also the only path that will ultimately work. When people look at Japan or Korea, they associate names like Sony, Honda, Matsushita and Hyundai with the prosperity of these countries and their rise from poverty. What is unseen are the countless individual businesspeople who make up the other 60% of private sector activity and even more of the nations' employers. This is the part of the economy that the government cannot boost with flashy programs and foreign aid, but only with human rights, just laws and fair courts.
Hmmm. I don't suppose there's any way I can send copies of this book to Musharraf by Amazon?
[Update: Looks like De Soto is coming out with another book, with an emphasis on how to move societies out of terrorism. I look forward to it.]
Yup. Can't disagree with that. It had funny moments, but it was obvious that they cut it down a bit. Homer gets hit by a bus and while falling to earth yells "I'm rich!" (he'll sue?) Next scene he's up and about again, no free medical care being shown.
At least the Itchy and Scratchy show rocked. The take on "Director's Cut" disc commentary was a beaut.
Still, it was dissapointing. I guess we're just not "world class". I'm sure Mel Lastman will be demanding an explanation. Perhaps if he'd given the key to the city to the Simpsons (FOX asked) things might have turned out differently.
Rogers is at it again. Our favourite government mandated monopoly is attempting to get its fees completely deregulated. I have little doubt that the CRTC will give them what they want. Apparently the approval will be near automatic. So, soon we'll have a monopoly with no free market to discipline it into keeping its rates low. The justification for this grab is increasing competition from satelite dish operations. That many Rogers cable customers cannot get these alternatives seems to have conveneiently escaped notice.
"On Jan. 29, 836,328 of Rogers' basic-cable subscribers were sent the following note on a crisp white postcard:
" Dear Customer,
Rogers Cable Inc. is proposing that its basic monthly fee be deregulated, in accordance with subsection 47 (1) of the Broadcasting Distribution Regulations. If a licensee meets the criteria set out in that subsection, its basic monthly fee will no longer be regulated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ... "
The note went on to say that if anybody wanted to see Rogers' justification for the deregulation, they'd have to hump it during business hours to their headquarters at 855 York Mills Rd. in Don Mills (follow the signs to "the middle of nowhere") or go to the CRTC offices in Hull, Que.
Apparently there was no room on Rogers' highly interactive Web site (where you can currently purchase a two-way messaging V-Box that says "ILUVYOU") to post the details of this application. "
Right now, Rogers has to apply to the CRTC every time it wants to raise basic cable rates. To many consumers, that seemed like a fair deal. Rogers gets a local cable monopoly in exchange for being accountable to the CRTC for the rate. Currently (although it's not broken out on my cable bill, where it is cloaked under the "VIP cable" heading), Rogers charges anywhere from $19 to $24 for basic cable service, depending on where you live. "
I second Perry Dehaviland's complaint about the great movie Memento being snubbed for the Oscars. Memento hed me rapt from beginnning to end (or end to beginning) and was easily the most different movie of the last year. Instead of recognizing this movie, the Academy has nominated the "usual suspects" list of movies. The european costume drama (Gosford Park), the "noble person biography" (A Beautiful Mind) and what they probably thought were their daring departures, LotR and Moulin Rouge.
Time will tell though. In the long run, Memento will show up as an influence on countless movies. Eventually it will be recognized for the masterpiece it is. Again, more proof that it isn't the movie that wins the Oscar, but the studio's marketing machine that decides matters. no chance of campaign finance reform here, is there?