Friday, January 30, 2009

"Yes, $400 billion to prevent sexually transmitted diseases will save your job."

So says David Harsanyi, in his column today in the Denver Post:

Yes, $400 billion to prevent sexually transmitted diseases will save your job. A $34 million remodeling of the Department of Commerce and $150 million for honey bee insurance and hundreds of billions in new government growth will create economic growth faster than a similar-sized business or payroll tax cut, you are led to believe.

The "stimulus" bill is all about payback to Obama's supporters and to a lesser degree, about fixing the economy. I am just hoping that the Senate Republicans are as savvy as those in the House about voting against the bill. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose if they do. If the stimulus works (I am dubious about this), then the Dems will get the credit. If the bill fails, those Republicans who signed on will be blamed, so what's the point?

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

"If you want money flowing to the companies with good lobbyists and powerful congressmen, then the stimulus bill may accomplish something."

David Boaz, author of Libertarianism: A Primer, has a good article on the economy at Real Clear Politics (via Newsalert):

Even if regulators are as smart as Leonardo da Vinci and as incorruptible as Mother Teresa, they can never have as much knowledge as the decentralized, competitive market process, so planned economies and planned industries fall further and further behind free-market systems. But in reality, even if they're smart, they're not incorruptible. Political influence always comes into play. What we're seeing with the bailout funds will also happen with the stimulus money.

Government planners claim to be able to aggregate all the available information and make informed decisions for the whole society. But market economies clearly produce far more economic growth than planned economies. It isn't just the United States versus the Soviet Union or East Germany versus West Germany. Consider the customer service and technological advances you get from FedEx versus the post office, or Microsoft and Apple versus the DMV.

If you want money flowing to the companies with good lobbyists and powerful congressmen, then the stimulus bill may accomplish something. But we should all recognize that we're taking money out of the competitive, individually directed part of society and turning it over to the politically controlled sector. Politicians rather than consumers will pick winners and losers. That's not a recipe for recovery.

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Are boys with unpopular names more likely to break the law?

LiveScience reports:

Boys in the United States with common names like Michael and David are less likely to commit crimes than those named Ernest or Ivan.

David E. Kalist and Daniel Y. Lee of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania compared the first names of male juvenile delinquents to the first names of male juveniles in the population. The researchers constructed a popularity-name index (PNI) for each name. For example, the PNI for Michael is 100, the most frequently given name during the period. The PNI for David is 50, a name given half as frequently as Michael. The PNI is approximately 1 for names such as Alec, Ernest, Ivan, Kareem, and Malcolm.

Results show that, regardless of race, juveniles with unpopular names are more likely to engage in criminal activity. The least popular names were associated with juvenile delinquency among both blacks and whites.

The findings, announced today, are detailed in the journal Social Science Quarterly.

While the names are likely not the cause of crime, the researchers argue that "they are connected to factors that increase the tendency to commit crime, such as a disadvantaged home environment, residence in a county with low socioeconomic status, and households run by one parent."

I once knew a caseworker who had two kids named Rotunda and Vagina on her caseload. I often wonder how those kids turned out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

PJTV: Bill Haslam on running for governor

Glenn and I interview Mayor Bill Haslam about his run for governor of Tennessee on PJTV. He also talks about the stimulus, healthcare, and how Republicans can rebuild on the local level, plus a question from blogger SayUncle on second amendment rights.

See the show here.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Does a bad economy save lives?

Allure magazine has a segment in the most recent issue called "(Dollar) Signs of the Times" which looked at what's soaring and what's plunging in the current fiscal roller coaster. They stated that hemlines, exotic handbags, lipstick, and sex columns are the barometer used to predict the health of the world's economy. Sounds scientific.

Apparently cosmetic procedures, egg donation, chocolate, slow songs, self-tanner and "mature features" are on the rise. Why the last one, you might ask? According to the magazine, "during recessions, Playboy Playmates have larger waists and waist-to-hip ratios, while actresses tend to have small eyes, large chins, and thin faces, hallmarks of older women."

What's on the decline? Lipstick, long hair, sex columns, alcohol, lobster prices, and mortality rates. Allure mentions that sex columns are slowing down as they "seem frivolous" and they mention that the Village Voice and Playboy channel have recently eliminated staff sex experts. I guess any future gigs as a sexpert are out for me. Darn...

Anyway, the mortality rate decline was interesting. It seems that a "one-percentage-point rise in unemployment leads to about 14,000 fewer deaths per year. With more time and less money, people eat healthier, smoke less, and exercise more."

Also in recessions, prices on exercise equipment get slashed! I think I'll go buy a treadmill.


Kudos to Suze Orman

Okay, I cracked. I said I would no longer be watching Suze Orman due to her tendency towards sexism towards men and belittling. But I did watch it a few times and I have to give credit where credit is due. I saw a recent show where she said that word had gotten around that she was not fair to men. She stated that this was not true--that she would give the same advice to men about relationships that she gave to women.

"Yeah, right," I thought because that was not what I had heard so far in her advice. For example, one week, she told a woman to quickly divorce her husband because he told her he would call the police if she went through his mail again. Ms. Orman does not know what led up to that encounter, for all we know, the woman was snooping through the guy's stuff and was a control freak. I doubt she would tell a man to divorce a woman that quickly. I have never heard it. If you have, let me know.

But in this week's show, I was surprised to see that she gave a fair shake to men on a couple of occasions. The first was when a husband called in to ask what he should do about a wife who ran up bills but would not work. "Do you like your wife?" Suze asked. The guy said "yes" but that she was just irresponsible about the finances. Ms. Orman then proceeded to tell him to stop the heavy burden of paying for everything and let his wife pick up the slack. "But my credit will be ruined" the caller moaned. "Then how much could you like your wife who would do that to you?" Ms. Orman asked and with that she ended the call. Great question and psychologically astute.

Another female caller asked how she could get her husband-to-be to put her name on his condo that he had paid for and was paying a mortgage on. The woman had a property that she sold and kept the money on to move in with this guy. "He is being stingy," the woman said. Ms. Orman set her straight. "No," she said, "he paid on this condo, built equity and now you want your name on it. He is not stingy, you are less than generous." Amen.

Kudos to Ms. Orman for at least trying to make an attempt to be fair. It is more than many media personalities will do.

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"...she has got away without punishment."

A reader sends in this article from the Daily Mail illustrating what can happen to a man's life when falsely accused of rape:

A BBC personality has shattered her ex-boyfriend's life by falsely accusing him of rape.

The woman, who has broadcast to television audiences of millions, accused him of raping her 40 times throughout their two-and-a-half-year relationship.

He was arrested, held in a police cell and handcuffed as police searched his flat for evidence of his crime. But she retracted her allegation weeks later, and the officer investigating the claims described them as 'inconsistent' and 'not credible'.

Despite the lack of evidence, the incident remains on the Police National Computer thanks to a legal loophole, which campaigners say is blighting the lives of falsely accused men.

Even if the 'victim' withdraws their allegation, it will show up under enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks that are undertaken regularly on people who apply for jobs with employers such as the NHS or schools. It will also prevent them from travelling to the United States.

Men are viewed as guilty even if found innocent. Women are viewed as innocent even when found guilty. This sexism under the law needs to change.