“Shannen Coffin alleges that while in the Clinton White House, Elena Kagan somehow got the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to change the language in its report on partial birth abortion, from a finding that it “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman” to something which made the ban sound considerably more harmful. I don’t have a particular dog in this fight–I don’t think these questions should be handled at the federal level either way–but it seems pretty inappropriate for the White House to be intervening in this sort of statement. I’m not surprised the White House did it; I never thought there was anything particularly partisan about attempts to manipulate science to fit a political narrative. But I’m rather surprised that ACOG went along.” — Megan McArdle, more can be found here.
Monthly Archive for June, 2010
“In numerous cases of apparently ethno-nationalist conflict, the deepest hatreds are manifested between people who—to most outward appearances—exhibit very few significant distinctions. It is one of the great contradictions of civilization and one of the great sources of its discontents, and Sigmund Freud even found a term for it: “the narcissism of the small difference.” As he wrote, “It is precisely the minor differences in people who are otherwise alike that form the basis of feelings of hostility between them.”” — Christopher Hitchens, on ethno-national conflicts
“I’m going to break a longstanding practice of never writing about foreign policy, a subject on which I have no competitive advantage, because it looks to me like this one is such a complete no-brainer: As things stand, there is no possible outcome but national humiliation in Afghanistan. The counter-insurgency doctrine that Petraeus executed so well in Iraq cannot succeed without confidence in the villages and among local officials that the military will be there for the duration. Not just “will have a hard time succeeding,” but cannot succeed. President Obama cannot commit himself with the kind of stubbornness that President Bush committed to the surge. Even if he changes his stated policy about the withdrawal, no one will believe that his heart is in it—because it won’t be.” — Charles Murray, blogging at the AEI blog
“Last fall, Ted Gayer estimated that some 85% of the homes purchased through the home buyer took credit would have been purchased anyway. Howard Gleckman points out that the critics have been vindicated” — Jonathan Chait
In recent years, Texas has been all but closed off, and so is California. It’s created a funnel, so you’ve got an increased flow of illegal immigrants into Arizona. Phoenix, and Tucson to a lesser degree, have become the unwanted recipients of a lot of narco traffic and a tremendous increase in the amount of violence. Arizona also has a changing demography, so that you have a lot of Midwesterners flooding in—retirees, snowbirds, displaced unemployed people who have no history with the region. And you’ve got a division in the state between southern Arizona, a heavily Hispanic area, and the rest of the state, including Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix and Flagstaff, which historically had few Mexicans. And there’s an ethnic dimension to the crisis that’s powerful, real and historic. Combine those several factors and you create the conditions for conflict. You understand why Anglo Arizonans resent current conditions without in any way supporting their actions.
Full interview can be found here.
He is making the news today and everybody knows him as the man in charge of Afghanistan, but I am reminded of an article I read weeks back describing just how disciplined and respected this general is:
The Special Operations forces that McChrystal led in Iraq were not so afflicted, despite a home front—especially a policy nomenklatura in Washington—that by 2006 had given up on the war. McChrystal, whom Williams called “the singularly most impressive military officer I ever served with,” has never submitted to fate. His oft-documented physical regimen—running eight miles a day, eating one meal a day, and sleeping four hours a night—itself expresses an unyielding, almost cultic determination.
I was shocked when I read this. It takes even more meaning when you read that Williams, whom talks so highly of McChrystal, is himself retired Lieutenant Colonel Richard Williams of the elite British Special Air Service, a special forces officer himself.
Not necessarily relevant to the news stories circulating today, but when you read that removing him would be a big hit to the special forces operations inside Afghanistan, this is partly why.
“In testimony before Congressmen Eliot Engel and Connie Mack at the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Enriquez sounded the alarm. Citing the return of the old dictator’s behavior of the 1980s, Enriquez described how Ortega is manipulating the courts, the constitution, and the National Assembly to maintain his control of the country and a growing share of its economy. Hugo Chavez’s favorite ally in Central America is steadily enriching himself and his cronies at the expense of his fellow Nicaraguans. Meanwhile, Ortega’s ties to Venezuela’s Chavez, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his historic ties to the Castros and a now-resurgent Moscow should give pause to U.S. policy makers. This was the message Enriquez took to numerous policy makers, not only in the Congress, but also at the White House, the State Department, and in interviews with Voice of America and AP, among others.”– Gardner Peckham, blogging at the AEI Blog
“But the era of free checking is coming to an end: In an forehead-smackingly obvious turn of events, bold action by Congress and regulators to protect the little guy from overdraft fees means many banks are gearing up to switch to charging those same little guys monthly fees instead. Of course, people who have lots of money in their accounts, use a bank credit card, or employ bank-based investment advisers won’t pay these fees. Only people with small, relatively low-volume accounts will.” —Katherine Mangu-Ward
“I believe that greater concentration of power in the hands of government experts is wrong for two reasons. First, other things equal, it diminishes the liberty and dignity of the typical individual. Second, I believe that experts systematically over-estimate the value of what they know and under-estimate the value of what they do not know.” — Arnold Kling
“In this article about college funding, Kevin Carey says something that I’ve long believed, which is that government-supported financial aid doesn’t quite work how you might imagine: colleges can just raise their prices along with any aid packages that come along. The price tag for college is not fixed, and so what looks like a subsidy for low-income students can just end up being a way for universities to jack up their prices by a corresponding amount.” — Andrew Gelman
“CBO Director Dr. Douglas Elmendorf has posted the slides he used in a presentation Wednesday to the Institute of Medicine, titled “Health Costs and the Federal Budget.” The presentation obliterates the claims of the President and his allies about the effects of the new laws on federal health spending and the budget…Never before have I seen a CBO Director so bluntly refute the policy claims of a President and his Budget Director.” —Keith Hennessey
Just as true in 1978 as it is today.
“The fact of the matter is that this country moved from segregation required by law to segregation forbidden by law without trying freedom of association for a millisecond. So I don’t presume to know how much or how quickly segregation would have broken down without the law. There are strong incentives for employers, unhindered by law, to hire the best person for the job, regardless of race, and it would have been nice to see how well and quickly freedom of association would have worked.” — David Henderson, professor of economics
“Whatever you may think about the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a whole, it indisputably narrows property rights by allowing politicians to dictate the policies of private businesses. Not only is it perfectly reasonable to find that at least a little disturbing, it’s perfectly unreasonable not to find it a little disturbing—even if your ultimate judgment is that it’s a necessary means to a desirable end. Even avid supporters of the Patriot Act ought to acknowledge that it raises legitimate concerns about privacy, even avid supporters of capital punishment ought to acknowledge that it raises legitimate concerns about false convictions, and even avid supporters of the Civil Rights Act ought to acknowledge that it raises legitimate concerns about property rights.” — Steve Landsburg, Professor of economics at the University of Rochester and author of The Big Questions
Explained by Bryan Caplan:
George Stigler famously observed, “If you never miss a plane, you’re spending too much time at the airport.” I heard that he wasn’t amused by his secretary’s corollary, “If you never make a typo, you’re typing too slow.” But he should have been. And I’m very amused to see Robin Hanson get in touch with his inner Stigler:
Look, in any area where we let humans do things, every once in a while there will be a big screwup; that is the sort of creatures humans are. And if you won’t decrease regulation without a screwup but will increase it with a screwup, then you have a regulation ratchet: it only moves one way. So if you don’t think a long period without a big disaster calls for weaker regulations, but you do think a particular big disaster calls for stronger regulation, well then you might as well just strengthen regulations lots more right now, even without a disaster. Because that is where your regulation ratchet is heading.
Link can be found here.