Thursday, May 04, 2006


Taranto seems to have caught Hillary Clinton out. She said of her personal history: "So I wrote to NASA and said, 'How do I sign up to be an astronaut?. And they wrote back very politely and said, 'We don't take girls.'. Taranto comments: But wait. Is that NASA story believable? First, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, is only 3 1/2 years younger than Mrs. Clinton. Second, given that she has an epicene [unisex] name, how did NASA even know she was a girl?

Why does all that remind me of this? Bill Clinton's claim that Hillary was named in honour of the first Everest summiteer has a fundamental problem: Edmund Hillary reached Everest's peak on May 29, 1953, nearly seven years after Hillary Clinton was born.. Both Clintons would seem to be stupid liars, a prime symptom of psychopathy.



One Australian economist thinks so. Excerpt:

One good thing about next week's federal budget is that even though Peter Costello is flush with cash and likely to offer tax relief to families, he's unlikely to make any cut in the tax on petrol. That's a good thing because we must learn to live with high petrol prices, not find ways to duck them. With prices nudging $1.40 a litre in some cities and Costello warning that worries about the Iranian nuclear stand-off could push them up to $1.60, the motoring lobbies are looking for ways to ease the pain. The Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, for instance, wants Costello to remove the GST on fuel excise, saving about 3.4 cents a litre.

But, whichever way you look at it, cutting the tax on petrol would be the wrong way to go. For a start, there's the conventional economists' argument that the best response to higher prices is higher prices. Huh? When you think about it, it's not as meaningless as it sounds. Prices rise when the demand for something is growing faster than its supply. Although part of the rise in oil prices is based on speculation about disruption in the Middle East, and so may not last long, the underlying increase in demand is coming from the rapid growth in the economies of China, India and other developing countries. This is likely to keep upward pressure on oil prices for many years.

But in a market system, a rise in the price of such a commodity prompts a change in behaviour. It increases supply by encouraging exploration for new sources, makes formerly uneconomic oilfields profitable and encourages the development of substitute fuels. At the same time, it reduces demand by encouraging consumers to use petrol more economically and search for cheaper substitutes. Put this reduction in demand together with the increase in supply and you see that a rise in prices should lead to a fall in prices. So allowing retail petrol prices to move in response to market forces is the best way to minimise the long-term rise in prices likely to come from the developing world's increasing demand for oil.



Froggy racism? (Or reality dawning?): "The French parliament is to discuss whether to approve a new immigration bill which would make it harder for foreigners to work in France. The proposals, drawn up by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, demand that newcomers learn the French language and culture. They also favour highly skilled workers over those who are less qualified. The draft law would make it harder for immigrants' families to settle in France and restrict residence permits".

Libertarians will cheer: "The German government is planning to supply long-term drug addicts with controlled amounts of free heroin to "improve their health", the government's commissioner for substance abuse Sabine Baetzing said today. "A heroin therapy is the last hope and provides help for survival for some of those who are addicted," Baetzing said. "It can improve their health and stabilise their social situation." ... Baetzing said that pilot projects in seven German cities had shown that giving controlled amounts of heroin to long-term addicts was a more effective way of getting them off the drug than methadone, a drug used as a heroin-substitute. Baetzing said the testing in the pilot cities also showed the heroin therapy had led to reduction in crime".

Evidence not needed for a Pulitzer: "Washington Post reporter Dana Priest won a Pulitzer Prize for a story about CIA "secret prisons" in Europe that cannot be confirmed and appears to be essentially false. This puts the paper in a very difficult position. It gave back one Pulitzer, a story about a child heroin addict by Janet Cooke, after it was exposed as a fraud. So far, the only evidence that the Priest story is true is her insistence that her secret sources were telling the truth. But Priest isn't talking about the nature of those "sources" and whether fired CIA officer and John Kerry campaign contributor Mary O. McCarthy was one of them"

Mexico to make it easier for illegals: "The Mexican Red Cross (CRM) and the National Migration Agency (INM) will boost their help for Mexicans on their journey to the United States, Mexico's Interior Ministry said in a statement on Sunday. The two bodies support migrants through the Beta Migrant Protection Group, with the INM funding first aid, medical emergency and humanitarian assistance to all foreigners, regardless of their nationalities.... Since 2004, the INM and CRM have worked together to provide a mobile clinic in Mexico's Sonora state, offering help to a large number of undocumented workers."

No economic news can please the media: "The ordinary nervousness of investors and market watchers has been converted into advanced paranoia by the business media's preference for bad news. Consider this headline in the Wall Street Journal: 'Economy's Surge Stirs Questions About When Slowdown May Come.' Share prices are driven to a six-year high by rising corporate profits and commentators trot out stories about bubbles and irrational exuberance, the latter a phrase used by then-chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan to describe share prices -- after which they doubled. Germany and Japan finally shake off their decades-long economic lethargy and show signs of recovery, and all talk is that, like rising share prices, this will force a recession-inducing rise in world interest rates."

I must confess to being pleased at the death of that arrogant old socialist, J.K. Galbraith. As an economist, he should have known better. Bill Buckley does his best to be generous about him in death.


"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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