Iran Bumbles Again

Seriously, it’s stuff like this that’s going to get the Islamists hung from the minarets. People will put up with suffering and oppression. But as the Soviets found out, they will not put up with an unhappy lifestyle.

“A huge totalitarian system, with all its tanks and guns, gulag camps and secret police has been brought to its knees because nobody wants to wear Bulgarian shoes.” – P. J. O’Rourke, on the fall of the Berlin Wall

How long will it be before Islamism is destroyed because burkhas are soooo 1354.

Ban the Bag!

More places are banning plastic bags. Of course, there’s a reason paper bags are more expensive: they consume more resources when produced. And we do not, by the way, have a shortage of landfill space, photogenic garbage barges not withstanding. The next millenium of trash could be stored in an area smaller than Rhode Island.

Penn and Teller have an excellent program on the myths revolving around recycling and trash. Replacing plastic bags with paper ones is bad for the environment, not good for it. But, like all environmental crusades, we have a bunch of scientific and busines ignorami pushing a popular policy because it sounds good.

This is what happens when you empower government. Decisions are made for political reasons, not moral, scientific or economic ones. That’s a bad way of doing things.


Leave it to the EU, the Human Rights organizations and the State Department to support an Islamist Turkey. ‘Cuz it would be democratically-elected, dontchya know. The Turks, better than say the Bush Administration, seem to understand that religion should be a personal thing, not a governing philosophy:

Mehmet Gunes, 39, whose wife was wearing an Islamic-style headscarf, said: “We support what the army said. It’s a warning. My wife wears a headscarf — we’re not against that. We came here to stand up for a secular, enlightened Turkey. Our children’s future is important.”

Democracy is only one of the safeguards of freedom and not a particularly good one. I hate to risk Godwin’s Law, but we’ve seen democracies elect some pretty awful people to high office.


Seriously, I’ve never understood the excitement about the NFL draft. I’m always vaguely interested by the spectacle just baffles me. I’m perfectly A lot of these guys will never amount to much. All we know for sure is that Detroit has, yet again, blown a high draft pick on a wide receiver.

In the meantime, the best part of the draft every year is that it prompts a rare offseason TMQ.

Memo to Terrorists

If you’re in an Islamic country that is ignoring you, try not to plan to attack them.

In all seriousness, this is great and not entirely unexpected news. As time goes on, the terrorists are turning more and more against their fellow Muslims (even thought the Koran has the highest condemnation for such slaughter). As they do, moderates and not-so-moderates will turn on them.

It’s not too late to win.

Money for Science

Even though I’m a scientist, I’m against this ham-fisted attempt by our Congress to improve science education. It’s yet another attempt to micro-manage our education system. It will almost certaintly have negative unintended consequences and fail to achieve its goals. My guess as to the negative unintended consequence? A deluge of frankly unqualified people in science majors and science education.

And, of course, there’s nothing in there about education freedom. Congress could make improved education a lot simpler, a lot better and a lot cheaper by just encouraging school choice. But we can’t have that. The unions would hate it. The government would lose power. The shithead parents would be in charge.

Plus it might work. And that would obviate the need for more compassionate spending by our Congress.

Rudy Gone

Well, Giuliani just lost my vote.

“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.”

Let’s see, accuse the Democrats of appeasing terrorists. Check. Support the intrusive useless Patriot Act. Check. Support torture. Check. Warrantless wiretaps. Check.


I am still a Man Without a Party.

Haley the Baby-Killer?

Sully links to this diatribe about how Haley Barbour’s budget cuts to Medicaid are killing babies. It’s possible they are on to something. But it sounds fishy to me.

  • The biggest reason I doubt this analysis is that correlation is not causation, especially when the correlation is two data points. We have one (1) year’s worth of data pointing to a rise in infant mortality. The article sights numerous reasons infant mortality rates have jumped in a number of states. And is there a reason infant deaths might have jumped in 2005 for Mississippi other than Medicaid budget cuts? Perhaps. A massive natural disaster and influx of poor homeless people from one of the worst cities in America might, just might, bump up mortality rates. Let’s see what happens when Louisiana comes out with their 2005 numbers. And what happened in 2006.
  • I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Insurance does not equal healthcare. Just because someone doesn’t have Medicaid does not mean they are not getting health care. Their babies are not being born in back alleys and crack houses. If they go to a hospital, they will be admitted, they will get adequate care. Moreover, all poor mothers and babies are eligble for WIC, last time I checked.
  • I’m sorry, but this could be a fluke, despite the 95% confidence interval. It still could be. We’ll have to see when the 2006 numbers come in. But the number of infant deaths is thankfully so small (481) than a big jump might not mean anything (the broader jump throughout the South is more alarming).
  • I think it’s interesting that the authors rant and rave about Medicaid cuts. Yet what do they site as a tremendous success story? The Cary Christian Center . . . a private interest. In fact, precisely the sort of private interest that might arise in a healthier tax environment. Precisely the sort of private interest that might be more common if Medicaid weren’t expanding so rapidly.
  • What these poor people need is not more government handouts. What they need is jobs. Cutting taxes might help create jobs, especially in a state that is 51st in unemployment.
  • That all having been said, I do agree that Medicaid should provide coverage of poor babies — coverage that can be, and often is, granted retroactively. But Barbour’s idea was right, even it the execution, no pun intended, was bad. Medicaid is growing out of control and as it grows, more and more Americans are being booted out of good insurance plans into the Medicaid Gulag. I worked in medicine for 13 years. Medicaid is an utter disaster. We would be far better off just telling doctors to give out their care for free than put poor people and overworked physicians through the rigmarole that pays a pittance for their services.
  • All that having been said, I must admit that it is the politics that makes by BS meter twitter. The NYT specifically, and most lefties generally, have been predicting a massive disaster from welfare cuts for years. Of course, I’m not sure how any disaster can be worse than the destruction visited on the African-American family by the Great Society welfare state. But this is the Left’s first chance, after a decade of welfare reform to say, “See! See! We told you welfare cuts would kill babies!”.

    As I said, maybe they’re right. Maybe Barbour’s budget cuts are killing babies. But I think we need more than one year of data — and a disastrous year at that — before we start pronouncing someone a black baby killer. No?


    Well, he is a Republican I guess.