Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Libertarian Links

Libertarian attitudes at 20(-ish) year highs?

14 reasons Rick Perry would be a bad President (this doesn't even mention his "prayer for rain.")

Crime mysteries: Steven Messner found that during the last 15 years, states with lower incarceration rates saw bigger drops in crime, on average, than those with lock-’em-up policies. Moreover, the historic increase in the prison population began in the early 1980s, a decade after the crime rate began to rise and a decade before it started to fall. The incarceration rate increased by more than 100 percent in the 1980s, but violent crime still increased that decade, by 22 percent.

Better informed Daily Show viewers or Hannity viewers: "particular Fox shows scored well above the average. Hannity & Colmes was one of only four choices to exceed 40 percent -- the others were the New Yorker/the Atlantic, NPR and MSNBC’s Hardball -- while The O’Reilly Factor scored 28 percent, or 10 points above the national average. (Hannity & Colmes even exceeded Stewart’s Daily Show in this poll, 42 percent to 30 percent.)"

Changing to a first to file patent system - the worst idea I've heard in a long time: "Section 18, crafted by Sen. Chuck Schumer, provides banks with “patent relief.” Tired of paying fees to patent holders, the banks successfully lobbied to allow them special powers to try to void patents they find onerous. Rep. Aaron Schrock (R., Ill.) intends on offering an amendment to strike the provision."

There may be more to this story, but my first impression is not positive: "The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that states did not have an automatic duty to provide counsel in civil courts in the case of a divorced father who was jailed for failing to pay child support."

How bad is non-payment of debt really?SPIEGEL ONLINE: The Germany of today is considered the embodiment of stability. How many times has Germany become insolvent in the past?
Ritschl: That depends on how you do the math. During the past century alone, though, at least three times. After the first default during the 1930s, the US gave Germany a "haircut" in 1953, reducing its debt problem to practically nothing. Germany has been in a very good position ever since, even as other Europeans were forced to endure the burdens of World War II and the consequences of the German occupation. Germany even had a period of non-payment in 1990.

Darrell Issa acting on behalf of the people?: "Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings wrote to Chairman Darrell Issa today to request that the Committee issue subpoenas to require mortgage servicing companies to produce previously-requested documents. “You have not hesitated—in other investigations—to issue subpoenas in a matter of days when your deadlines were missed, so it is unclear why a different standard applies to this investigation,” Cummings wrote."

Criminal justice: "According to the department’s data, which are based on nationwide surveys of prison and jail inmates as well as young people in juvenile detention centers, at least 216,600 inmates were victimized in 2008 alone. Contrary to popular belief, most of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe"

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) estimates that 40,000 units in its 180,000-unit system (the nation’s largest) are “underoccupied,” with one or more empty bedrooms. Meanwhile, 144,000 families, mostly single parents with young kids, languish on the waiting list for an apartment.
After all, according to official estimates, marijuana constitutes 60 percent of cartels’ drug profits.
"The Associated Press does some accountability journalism on President Obama's promise to install solar panels on the White House roof"

Jobs "created" by the "stimulus": "Assuming the number of created or saved jobs reported by each contract recipient was accurate—which, as we've reported before, is still an open question—that breaks down to $533,000 for each job. That's more than five times the projection of the president's own Council of Economic Advisers , which estimated in May that every $92,136 in government spending would create one job for one year.  [...]Because the $16 billion in federal contracts represents about 5 percent of the $339 billion spent so far, they multiplied the 30,000 jobs by 20. The result is 600,000 direct jobs; and, relying again on the assumption that each direct job produces one indirect job, the White House doubled that number to 1.2 million."

Another good article on the stimulus:  After subtracting what House Democrats hope to spend on government payrolls, health, education and welfare, only a fifth of the original $550 billion is left for notoriously slow infrastructure projects, such as rebuilding highways and the electricity grid.

The Lochner case - freedom of contract: "As is often the case with regulation, large bakeries didn’t mind the law governing maximum hours because they could hire multiple shifts. Small bakeries, with their smaller workforces, found compliance far more difficult. The statute also set limits on ceiling heights designed to put cellar bakeries out of business. Small bakers felt that the law was enforced much more vigorously where nonunion bakeries were concerned, and Lochner, an immigrant who had opened his own bakery in Utica in 1894 where he worked alongside his wife and employees, soon attracted official attention. Lochner was charged with violation of the law because he let an employee named Aaron Schmitter and his family live above the bakery. [...]Bernstein spends a substantial part of his book describing the way in which an opinion that stopped a joint effort by large corporate interests and big unions to squash small businesses was somehow turned into the centerpiece of a narrative about the Supreme Court upholding big business at the expense of the little guy."


Government war against Phosphorous: Now, it is clear that the law's proponents knew exactly what the results would be. It would increase dishwasher use and even end up leading people to abandon dishwashers altogether, and either solution leads to much more water and energy use. In other words, even by the goofy environmentalists' own standards, this is no savings. It might end up in the reverse.

Nuclear dangers: U.S. nuclear power plant operators haven't figured out how to quickly detect leaks of radioactive water from aging pipes that snake underneath the sites — and the leaks, often undetected for years, are not going to stop, according to a new report by congressional investigators. The report by the Government Accountability Office was released by two congressmen Tuesday in response to an Associated Press investigation that shows three-quarters of America's 65 nuclear plant sites have leaked radioactive tritium, sometimes into groundwater.

Probably an even scarier story about nuclear plans.

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