Monday, September 08, 2003


Good to see that the California government’s generosity with other people’s money is coming home to roost -- as businesses move out of the State to escape the high insurance costs that the “generosity” of its worker’s compensation rules have created. Hence California’s high unemployment. Ability to move to another State is one of the glories of Federalism. California could learn from the left-leaning government in Australia’s largest State (New South Wales) -- where all legal liability claims for personal injury have been capped at $300,000!

Another triumph of socialized medicine: Patients who have major operations on the [U.K.] National Health Service are four times more likely to die than Americans undergoing such surgery, according to a new study. “Professor Monty Mythen, head of anaesthesia at UCL who led the British side of the research, said: "The main difference seems to be in the quality of post-operative care and who cares."“

A hopeful first step: "The Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday approved a $13 million school voucher plan for the District, as Republicans easily advanced President Bush's initiative with support from Democrats who said the time had come to experiment with taxpayer-financed alternatives to public schools."

McDonald's obesity suit thrown out again "A federal judge Thursday threw out a class-action lawsuit by two Bronx teenagers claiming McDonald's used false advertising and that the chain's food made them fat and contributed to their health problems. The plaintiffs' lawyers claimed unknown ingredients and processing made foods such as french fries, Chicken McNuggets and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches damaging to consumers' health."

Definitely the right approach in Iraq: "American officials want to speed up training for Iraqi security forces, including former members of Saddam Hussein's military and intelligence services, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Thursday. Making Iraq safe is a job for Iraqis, and no more U.S. troops are needed in the country, Rumsfeld said after meeting in the capital with top military and civilian officials of the American-led occupation."

I must say I feel a bit sorry for U.K. Home Secretary David Blunkett. He has responded fairly reasonably to public concern about the large number of unassimilated immigrants -- often hostile Muslims -- now living in Britain. He has proposed that immigrants pass a test of awareness about Britain and its institutions before being given citizenship. But the Right think he would not know what Britishness was if he fell over it and the Left think that there is no such thing!

In my latest academic upload here (or here) I cast a critical eye on the methods used by the public opinion polls. There are many ways in which most polls can be misleading and better methods of assessing people’s attitudes do exist. Even university researchers, however, often do not use those better methods so the polls offer data as good as or better than what many academics dish up.


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