Saturday, October 19, 2002

Fisking Germaine Greer
Steve Karlson of the excellent ColdSpingShop sends updates on further fiskings of Germaine Greer. One is from the Australian blogger, TANSTAAFL, written by Paul Wright, and begins with this delightful line:
Germaine Greer left her country many years ago, and despite many promises, has returned several times to bother us. I for one am willing to pay hard currency if the UK will confiscate her passport.

The other comes from Silent Running, who combines an appreciation of Clive James with a fisking of the creature Germaine "The Aborigines love me, I'm one of them" Greer.

A pleasant fisking
Seth Sandronsky gets a well deserved fisking from ColdSpringShop.

Friday, October 18, 2002

How to forecast elections
I was reminded to go back to the Iowa election markets (run by the University of Iowa's business school) by a post at Chicago Boyz. The idea is in principle a simple one. For example, they are currently offering an auction on who will control the House and the Senate. They list the possible outcomes: (1) Republican House and Republican Senate; (2) Republican House and Not-Republican Senate; (3) Not-Republican House and Republican Senate; (4) Not-Republican House and Not-Republican Senate. (The not-Republican is a catch-all to cover the in-principle possibility that no party controls one house or the other). The bidding is electronic, but the idea is roughly this. The auction house sells a set of slips, one for each of the four outcomes, for $1. After election day, the slip calling the actual outcome is worth $1; the other slips are worth $0. So you can buy a set, do nothing, and break even (boring). The slips, however, do not need to be kept together; you can sell one or more and keep some. So if you think option (1) will happen, sell the other three. The market's website reports transaction prices for the four outcomes. Since having a slip for each outcome is clearly worth $1, the combined prices for the four slips are driven by arbitrage to equal $1. However, nothing requires an individual slip to have particular value, so the prices fluctuate depending on participants' assessments of the likely outcomes.

Here is why it works well (Hal Varian of UC-Berkeley explained this better than me). Suppose I am keen to have outcome (1) take place, but I haven't a clue what will actually happen. I might well buy slips for outcome (4), which is basically the Democrats control both houses. This is essentially insurance. If the Republicans win, I'm happy. If the Democrats do well, at least I made some money. The problem for the auction is that by buying option (1), I am helping push up its price, even though I haven't a clue what will really happen. So why does the auction predict well (not perfectly: it predicted a more comfortable victory for Bush, but it usually beats the other polls)? Suppose there are lots of people like me buying up option (1), pushing up its price, but in fact anyone with good information knows the Democrats are going to clean up this year [note: this is a hypothetical; don't email me telling me the Democrats are really going to lose]. Because option (1) is being pushed up in price, the other options are falling in price (remember that the prices will sum to $1). If piles of loyal Republicans push down the price of option (4), and an insider with good information knows it is really valuable, the insider buys up option (4) because it is a good way to make money. Option (4) isn't worth much, but it is very likely worth a dollar. Even though there are lots of Republicans in the market in this example, they don't determine the price. The person with good information determines the price because it pays for him to enter, arbitrage, and make money.

As I write this, the combined price of the Republican House slips is 95 cents (versus 5 cents for the alternative), and the combined price for the Republican Senate slips is 52 cents (versus 48 cents for the alternative). The site gives you current prices, and historical price series. For political junkies, it is both fun and useful.

Telegraph confuses Bush and Clinton
The Daily Telegraph's editorial cartoon shows the Bush administration being shocked by the North Korean bomb. Is the Telegraph trying to compete for readers of the Independent?
Coffee prices
Are you puzzled why wholesale coffee prices have dropped so much? Are you even more puzzled why the fancy latte you had this morning is still so damned expensive? Look no further, the Boston Federal Reserve Bank is here to help with a very good layman's piece, "Trouble in Coffee Lands", by Miriam Wassermanon, answering just those two question in its latest Regional Review. It even contains a link to the easily printable pdf version with pictures and graphs. The perfect thing for teachers to give their students.

This is the sort of writing Paul Krugman used to be able to do well, before he started to do non-stop "I hate Bush" tantrums.

Krugman and the Nazis
Normally I don't bother with Paul Krugman. He used to be a reasonably good popular writer in economics, and for all I know may still be a competent technical economist. Since his specialty of international economics is not mine, I don't keep up. His column today though is curious. He is worked up because
Mr. Gramm declared that a proposal to impose a one-time capital gains levy on people who renounce U.S. citizenship in order to avoid paying taxes was "right out of Nazi Germany"
Phil Gramm knows (and Krugman ought to know) that years Milton Friedman identified Hjalmar Schacht's introduction of exchange controls as a method of expropriating fleeing Jews (in his book Money and Economic Development; the discussion does not appear to be on-line, although a brief but not too helpful discussion can be found here). Some years ago in The New Republic (again, I can't find it on-line), Charles Fried blasted the French for imposing a similar law, comparing the French unfavorably to the South Africans. South Africa was oppressive, but at least they would let you leave. A sign of an oppressive regime is a determination to keep people from leaving.

I am not fond of Hitler comparisons, and I am thrilled that Krugman does not like them either. Since Hitler comparisons have been the mainstay of much left-talk, I am pleased that Krugman has finally decided to confront his left-wing friends.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Will The New Republic Please Make Up Its Mind
The New Republic has a piece by its editor, Peter Beinart, on the Nobel Peace Prize committee. He suggests that the prize winners fall into two categories: those who try to resolve conflicts (such as the prize to Arafat, Peres, and Rabin), and those who fight for freedom, such as Aung Sun Suu Kyi or Lech Walesa. He suggests that Carter unquestionably belongs in the first group, laying out his case that Carter has always been more interested in ending conflict than advancing freedom. Why then does The New Republic (I could write TNR, but that would so insider talk, and I am not an insider, never have been, never will be, don't want to be) maintain its endless adoration of Gore, continuing to pine his loss? Gore is as little interested in freedom as Clinton was; just get the conflict to go away until the president has to deal with the mess. I have a wee bit of sympathy for life-long Democrats having to give up their adolescent hopes, but sorry guys, it's time to grow up.
Garbage at St. Andrew's
The creepy Germaine Greer is in the running for rector of St. Andrews, according to a story in the Daily Telegraph bizarrely titled "Sex bomb at St. Andrew's". We are definitely not talking Larry Summers here. A vote for her strikes me as being on par with the twits at Oxford who vowed that they would not fight for king or country.
The "sex bomb" is what strikes me as creepy. In view of her defense of the Bali bombers, bomb might be appropriate, but the phrase seems to be an attempt to describe her, for whatever reason. She isn't sexy, indeed, not even attractive except for the kind of nerdy type of college kids who join Trotskyite groups or Hitler youth groups. She talks about sex enough to bore a 16 year old boy, but it seems to be one long whine. She avers that male students at St. Andrew's will vote for her because:
That's not a problem - I have found that most men seek things they are afraid of. Otherwise, we would not have extreme sports like white-water rafting.
Maybe the old thug is just all wet.
Terrorism by Sniper
Caleb Carr, in the Washington Post, says that it is time to take very seriously the likelihood that the Washington sniper is al Qaeda, looking to foment confusion just before the war starts with al Qaeda's ally, Iraq. He runs through the reasons he thinks it increasingly unlikely that the sniper is a serial killer. If he is right, he tells us, America is in for a lot more killings. It is time to take out the paymasters.
Three Cheers for the Aussies
They elected John Howard. The Washington Post has a piece on the aftermath in Australia of the Bali massacre, that has 33 Australians murdered and 140 still missing. There are the inevitable bits of the Germaine Greer types. But shining out comes John Howard's government.
Howard and his defenders say the attack proves him -- and Bush -- right; that countries must attack extremism before it attacks them. "This idea that you purchase immunity from terror by saying nothing about terror is not only morally bankrupt, but it is also inaccurate," Howard said in Parliament this week.
And for good measure, lest anyone miss the point, we get
His foreign minister, Alexander Downer, dismissed opponents to an attack on Iraq as "fools."
So why has Howard not been invited to Crawford, to remind the world not only that George Bush treats poor allies badly (everyone noticed Germany), but that it treats its allies well.
A Good Greer
While searching for more on the loathsome Germaine Greer, I came across this item about the US destroyer, USS Greer, which had an important role in fighting a previous pack of evildoers:
USS Greer (DD-145) commissioned 31 December 1918, decommissioned 22 June 1922, and was placed in reserve. Greer recommissioned 31 March 1930 till 13 January 1937. As war swept across Europe, Greer recommissioned 4 October 1939, joined the Neutrality Patrol in February 1940.

The "Greer Incident" occurred 4 September. Greer, carrying mail and passengers to Argentina, Newfoundland, was signaled by a British plane that a Nazi submarine had crash-dived some 10 miles ahead. Forty minutes later the DD's soundman picked up the undersea marauder, and Greer began to trail the submarine. The plane, running low on fuel, dropped four depth charges before returning to base, while Greer continued to dog the U-boat. Two hours later the German ship fired a torpedo that passed 100 yards astern Greer charged in to attack with depth charges.

When news of the attack against an American ship on the high seas reached the United States, President Roosevelt seized this occasion to make a "fireside chat," declaring that Germany had been guilty of an act of piracy and authorized first strike by American ships and planes "in the waters which we deem necessary for our defense." The period of "undeclared war" in the Atlantic had begun.
It is good to know that the name of Greer has at least an honorable past.
UPDATE: Pictures of the USS Greer can be found here.
The New York Times Loves America
Do you remember the days when the left claimed that American immigration was a scam. All those letters people wrote home saying how much better off they were surely were nothing more than people trying to cover up their misery. Phil Ochs had a great song with just that theme. (Remember Phil Ochs? His blend of bitterness and sharp humor kept me on the left longer than I otherwise would have stayed.) Today the New York Times declares a pox on that view. Relating the awful story of the eleven bodies found in a sealed train car (think of slowly dying of thirst, the agony made worse knowing that water was close at hand but locked away) in Iowa on Sunday, the Times says:
"I can't imagine people being so desperate to come to the United States and be willing to do that," one resident said. But it was exactly that desperate hope that made these 11 people willing to take the chance that ultimately killed them.
This is nothing new. The town of Cobh (pronounced cove), in Cork harbor, has a good museum devoted to Irish emigration and the hardships people endured for a better life. It has been said before, but is worth repeating. The UN is not the best hope of mankind; the US is.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Teaching economics to humanists
A few days ago, Brad DeLong posted a criitique of a very poor attempt at economic analysis. He was worried that economists have done such a poor job of explaining such basic concepts as opportunity costs. I offer a bit of comfort. As I was driving home, listening to the radio, the DJ said the next piece up was Dmitri Shostokovich's String Quartet #1 in C major. He remarked that during the Stalin era, modern (not approved by Stalin) music in the Soviet Union was written heavily for string quartets rather than orchestras. This was because it was cheaper to hide a string quartet than an orchestra. See, humanists can do a bit of economics.
Thanks InstaPundit
1600 hits today, in just 10 hours from the InstaPundit link. Glenn Reynolds seriously gets results. If he ever starts charging us commission, he would be very, very expensive.
Urgent Fisking Alert: Germaine Greer is Loose
Germaine Greer is in the Daily Telegraph today with a piece that screams for a fisking, I hope by someone who does it better than me. She tells with assurance who is responsible for the massacre in Bali: the Australians.

She tells us:

Australians thought that they could get along with everyone. The Australian passport was welcome everywhere, as American and British passports were not. The only way to get along with everyone is to take sides with no one, but successive Australian governments have chosen to ignore this obvious fact.
In other words, as Rick famously remarked in Casablanca, the best policy is "I stick my neck out for nobody". But then she tells us:
Terrorism is not a substitute for war, but a preparative. The purpose of instilling terror is to force a polarisation of conflict by making neutrality an impossibility, so that armed confrontation becomes inevitable.
In short, it matters not what you do, the terrorists will still drag you into the conflict. It seems it matters not to Miss Greer whether she wildly contradicts herself, so long as she can blame the West. But she is not merely contradictory, she is inane. The point of terrorism is to scare an enemy, destroy its morale, keep it from fighting, not to bring it into a war. Just to ensure her status as a fully paid up member of the Idiot Party, she tells us:
Australian defence spending will certainly increase, with little effect on Australia's stature as an ally and policy maker but with crushing impact on the Australian people. Already, funding for essential social services has been cut and long-term welfare initiatives are being abandoned.
Now at least we know the real victim of the Bali massacre. It isn't the people whose bodies were shredded or burned alive, it is the Australian welfare state. And one more bit of a parody of multiculturalism.
Meanwhile, tension between Muslims and non-Muslims in Australia is mounting, fuelled by media massaging of deplorable cases of gang-rapes of girls who happened to be Christian by boys who happened to be Muslim.
The Aussies deserved the massacre because of Muslim rapists? This is beyond my capacity for mockery.
Why I am Really Really Glad Bush Won
Leon Fuerth, Gore's foreign policy advisor, is again in the Washington Post. He is critical of plans to invade Iraq. I have been digging through the archives trying to find one instance since 9/11 when Fuerth has said, yes, do it, this needs to be done. It is always wait. All he can say this time is this:
One can imagine that if the president takes his time, plays out his hand with the United Nations, allows inspectors to return to Iraq and awaits the inevitable demonstration of bad faith by Saddam Hussein, he might be able to deal with Iraq with meaningful, rather than nominal international support; and he might then also be able to deal with the aftermath of a change of regime in the same way.
He has argued vehemently and continually for wait, wait, wait. If Gore were president, we would have today nothing more than a blue-ribbon panel urgently putting together a report, due in 2005, on was really behind 9/11.
Anti-Semitism and the divestiture movement
Antisemitism is the primary focus of Thomas Friedman's powerful New York Times column today, titled "Campus Hypocrisy". His criticism of the divest-in-Israel movement is blunt:
Criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic, and saying so is vile. But singling out Israel for opprobrium and international sanction — out of all proportion to any other party in the Middle East — is anti-Semitic, and not saying so is dishonest.
He tries for balance, so he criticizes the anti-divestiture movement for paying too little attention to the effect of the settlements on prospects for peace.

There is a curious feature of the piece: the headline. The headline is misleading because Friedman says clearly and up front that there is a divestiture movement and an anti-divestiture movement, and he has things to say to both sides. He continues to be critical of the settlements, an issue about which I know too little to have an opinion. By a word count, 56% of his column is devoted to criticizing the divestiture movement, and 44% is devoted to criticizing the anti-divestiture movement. So why the headline? Given the track record of the Times, especially, the headline captures Friedman's (admittedly stronger) criticism of the divestiture movement. A non-Rainesian moment.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Tax cuts and wage hikes
Jane Galt has a comment on tax cuts (I picked it up through ColdSpringShop). I think she is partly in error on the weight of income and substitution effects. Her point is that if, say, taxes fall, net wages are higher. The substitution effect induces people to work more (the benefits of working are higher); the income effect induces less work (if you are richer, one thing to buy more of is leisure). Whether you work more or less depends on the net effect. I have no quarrel with her basic analysis, but I think she errs in treating a tax cut as the same as a rise in real wages, say because of an increase in productivity. The reason is that the income effect is smaller in the first case. To see my point, suppose hypothetically there are no substitution effects, so the tax system produces no income reducing distortions. (I am not saying this is factually true.) Then a cut in taxes means only that government spending must fall. Government spending is someone's income, so the increased income to the taxpayer is exactly offset by the decreased income of someone whose income comes from government spending. In the aggregate at least, there is no income effect from the tax cut. Now obviously in practice the problem is messier. The income effect for the people getting the tax cut may be different (larger or smaller) than those getting government income. The point, however, is that a tax cut is at least partly a transfer, so the income change is smaller than if the same net wage increase came from, say, increased productivity. That means the labor supply response to a tax cut should be larger than from gross wage hikes, because there is less of an offsetting income effect.
War and peace
Miss Manners, a wonderful writer, explains with her usual grace and sense that disagreements come in all forms. Some require the law, some require psychiatrists, but some require only some decent manners.
A grand blast against the Peace Prize
Richard Cohen is in full and grand outrage today about the Nobel Peace Prize committee. Do read it. My favorite line, which makes me think of own country of residence, Ireland:
In honoring Carter, the committee evoked the smugness of little powers -- the many nations whose role is to carp from the sidelines while America does the necessary business of protecting them from their own folly.
Damage control for the "peace" movement
Rick Perlstein's op-ed in the New York Times (Goodbye to the Vietnam Syndrome) reads like damage control for the Washington Post's puff piece on the "peace" crowd. Perlstein compares the current quiet at his alma mater, the University of Chicago (mine too) with the noise during the Gulf War. He then asks:
So should the president conclude that, with even college campuses fairly quiet, he needn't fear an engaged public getting in the way of his war on Iraq? That would be a mistake, because the absence of marching bodies does not indicate enthusiasm for war. Protest is occurring by other means. Why, after all, take to the streets? You're likely to have more effect sending a strongly worded letter to a senator in one of the country's toss-up races than by lying down in front of a car.
Nieves told us the protesters were out; since she couldn't back up her claim with real evidence, the New York Times tells us that the protesters are really there, they just look different than they usually do.
The rest of the article is ranges from silly to petty. The petty is invoking Noriega and repeating once again for the one New York Times reader who forgot that Noriega was a CIA asset, as if cops everywhere don't use dubious people.
The silly is worse. After admitting up front that some of his fellow demonstrators blocked traffic in their protests, he then tells us:
It all came to a head with our intervention into Iraq in 1991. There was a Congressional debate, to be sure, and a very close authorizing vote on the use of force. But that debate felt unreal to us protesters. We were demonstrating in favor of reasoned debate and against the debate we were witnessing, one drenched in a neurosis that made every discussion about military force a referendum on national virility. We wanted a debate on the issues. We felt unable to force one. And so we marched.
Apparently blocking traffic is reasoned debate. Or the college favorite at the time, "No Blood for Oil", worth of Socrates himself. Or the other favorite, "The US Has Its Own History of Immorality, So It Is Not Entitled To Object To Anyone Else". I asked a woman back then who used that line whether, if she were being attacked, she would demand that rescuer first establish his own moral purity. She called me a fascist. The left's inability to engage in reasoned debate was their primary feature back then. Perlstein has given us history for arrested adolescents.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Growing Up
This AP story will appeal to ColdSpringShop. A man in Britain is suing because he was told to wear a tie to work. ColdSpringShop has strong views on neckties and generally on dress codes for adults. I am increasingly inclined to agree, although I am notorious for not wearing a tie to work. (At this stage I would probably protest an order to wear one, but only because I think of not wearing a tie as a statement to many of my senior "colleagues" about my regard for them. Yes, that is harsh.)
More on the economic Nobel
The latest issue of Economic Principals has more on the economics Nobel. For those of you unfamiliar with the site, David Warsh used to write a regular column on economics and economists for the Boston Globe. At one stage, he even put out a book of the columns, Economic Principals : Masters and.Mavericks of Modern Economics. Now the column is online. It has discussion of current issues, but it also has sorts of discussion of the work economists are doing. Imagine a less libertarian Virginia Postrel. (No one gets to read criticism of either one there; I like reading both of them.) It comes out weekly, and you can subscribe to an email version. The only difficulty for a blogger is that there is no link to a specific week until the current week is replaced. That means you can't create permanent links to the current issue.
Life's little coincidences
ColdSpringShop recommends that I provide a link to the Amateur Economist. I took a look and have followed his advice; it is an interesting site. It seems that all three of us have a connection to DeKalb, Illinois. They live there, I used to.
An end to coddling left-wing criminals?
Another AP story (again through Findlaw) says that trespassers at Fort Benning are starting to get sent to real prisons, not the easy ones they were being sent to.
Red Chinese govt. retaliate against AtlanticBlog
An AP story I picked up through Findlaw says that the Chinese Communist government is cracking down again on internet. My site tracker says I have some readers in Southeast Asia. Should I take this personally?
No competition
Do not miss this. Max Boot has an article in the Washington Post on US military hegemony. He notes that although there was a flap about pre-emptive strikes in the National Security Strategy released last month, no one is complaining that the strategy also calls for US military hegemony, what Boot calls the "Big Enchilada" doctrine. In other words, we make sure we have no competitors. Boot's article will surely get some attention.
The "Peace" Movement
The Washington Post gives us a puff piece by Evelyn Nieves on what it calls the anti-war movement. Since, like it or not, there is already a war on, I call it the appeasement and surrender movement. It is not about the large numbers of Americans who are leery of a war in Iraq; it is about the badly dressed guys on Berkeley streetcorners with microphones, and the characters who rush out to join their protests. Not in Our Name is prominently displayed (a rundown on the signers is here), and dear God, the "liberal" Institute for Policy Studies is still around. Conservatives get outraged when some leftist tries to link them to the Klan. If liberals want some credibility, at least with me, they had best get outraged when someone tries to pass off the Institute for Policy Studies, an old Soviet front outfit, as a liberal think tank.

After a recital of the claims the "peace" movement is growing rapidly, there comes this line:

Some say politicians who ignored the will of their constituents and voted to approve the resolution will face repercussions, such as more protests and sit-ins at their offices -- and possible retribution in the next election.
In other words, leftists without jobs to take up their time will definitely start trouble, but there is a possibility the politicians who oppose them will lose. Maybe some poll evidence that the politicians who backed Bush are in trouble because of it would have been nice. Instead, the Post just gives the "peace" movement a forum.
This is way cool
Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander is being turned into a movie, starring Russell Crowe. Okay, so I'm worried. A very good book can be turned into a mediocre movie, witness A Beautiful Mind, but then, think Sense and Sensibility. It is being directed by Peter Weir, who gave us both the impressive Gallipoli and the unimpressive The Truman Show, so I will just wait with fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Get ready for war
The Washington Times has a story running through the parallels between the ultimatums Bush gave the Taliban and he is now giving Iraq. Here is the opening:
President Bush, who recently changed his message on Iraq to persuade Congress and the United Nations to support the use of force, has begun to offer Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein a final choice — a choice similar to the one he offered the Taliban regime just before sending U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
Read the whole thing.
Easier reading
After grumblings about poor contrast making my site hard to read, I have changed the template. The archives are still in the old template, though, although I may change them if I get a chance.
Useful idiots for radical Islam
The Washington Times has a story about Muslims in the US who left Islam, and the regular threats they receive and the violence they encounter from other Muslims. I asked a colleague who is dismissive of concerns about Muslim extremism how he would feel if his tatooed daughter were accosted and forced to cover up in a Saudi style state. He replies only that they would be taking on more than they could handle. Useful idiots.
Why I quit the left
George Will's column today is an interesting analysis of Democrats and national defense, but it has a lovely line that reminds me why, many years ago, I took leave of the left:
Gore's tone recalled his performance in the first presidential debate: condescending. That may help Gore appeal to Green Party voters, the advanced thinkers who cost him the presidency. But for 50 years now, many liberals -- the tone-setting activists of the Democratic Party -- have confused condescension with a political philosophy.
I still recall the look of horror I got many years ago (at a campaign gathering for a liberal candidate for Chicago mayor) when a fellow campaign worker, who knew I was from Chicago's south side, learned I did not live in Hyde Park, the only decent and properly liberal part of Chicago's south side, and so lived somewhere run presumably by Nazis and the Klan. This sort of thing makes some people more liberal so that they can, like poor Sally Field, fit in. It just got me more difficult.
More butchery; time to invade
The New York Times reports at least 182 dead in a car bomb massacre in Bali, in Indonesia. The Times is uncharacteristically forthright in getting straight to Islamic terrorism, without the usual lines about how it might have been, say, Belgians or somethings, and we don't have the facts yet:
No group took responsibility for the attacks but suspicions immediately fell on a radical Islamic organization based in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiyah. The group and its leader, Abu Bakar Bashir, have been linked to plots against Americans by an operative of Al Qaeda who was seized in Indonesia and turned over to the Central Intelligence Agency several months ago.
The story also notes that the Islamists are trying to destabilize Indonesia's government. Some realism from the Times for a change.

One other curious note. The story says about 75% of the victims were foreigners, mostly European and Australian. Will the European trendies say they deserved their fate because so much of Europe has tried to appease the fanatics?

Gun silliness
The Irish Times (motto: We are most expensive than the Wall Street Journal, but we make up for it with lower quality) has a report on the sniper attacks in Washington, D.C. The sub head is precious.
The people of Washington are hiding out in their homes after a spate of killings by a mysterious sniper – but the sale of guns goes on
On a related note, people in Ballingcollig, a suburb of Cork City, are nervous because there have several armed robberies in the town. I amused myself by denying to some of my colleagues that the armed robberies could have taken place, because Ireland has gun control that is even stricter than Britain, so clearly such a thing could not happen. I am still waiting for someone to offer me some sort of evidence that gun control in Ireland works; all they do is get mad at me, which is always good. By the way, although the Irish government refuses to arm the police (because it would only escalate the violence, blah, blah), cash deliveries and pickups at banks are guarded by the Irish army, and they aren’t carrying just handguns.
I offer no link because it is an expensive, subscription only affair, and really not worth it. I saw the hardcopy version.
A violent peace prize committee
With exquisite taste, the Sunday Telegraph (alas, registration may be required, but worth it) leads its editorial on Jimmy Carter’s Nobel with “Who Cares”.
Gunnar Berge, the chairman, admitted that the prize was “a kick in the leg” for George W. Bush, whose policy on Iraq differs from Mr. Carter’s. Mr. Berge’s pugilistic streak is not perhaps ideal in a peace prize committee, but a far more pressing observation is: why should anyone care.
The editorial notes that the prize is decided upon by a committee appointed by the Norwegian parliament. I know and like several Norwegians (including one who lives in the States and calls himself a refugee from totalitarianism), but as the editorial notes, who really cares all that much what a few Norwegian politicians think. Maybe it’s the money.