The Carnival of the Capitalists
Since April Fool's Day is around the corner, I gave some thought to an appropriate theme that would be appropriate for the carnival and for this special time of year. Thus, this carnival is dedicated to that truly American family of capitalists, the Popeils.
They Slice! And Dice!
The Fried Man reveals how the State of Louisiana protects its citizens from rogue florists.
Simon World warns that the Chinese Bubble is not sustainable.
Professor Brainbridge refutes the Wall Street Journal and others by clarifying that corporations have never been democracies in which ownership and control were united either in law or fact.
Goobage provides another example that while businesses are legitimately required to sacrifice profits or investments to fully fund pension plans, governments don't bother with such mundane practices.
Small Business Trends shows why the recent European Commission antitrust ruling against Microsoft is bad for small businesses.
They Even Inform!
Jeff Cornwall's Entrepreneurial Mind answers the question "Where have all the start-ups gone?"
The Master of None has some thoughts on deficit spending; specifically, the rarely discussed relationship between the deficit rate and the growth rate.
Arnold King reports on a conference about consumer-driven health care.
Les Jones releases his fourth E-commerce report. I especially enjoyed hearing how Google handled an extortionist.
Take a look at The Big Picture, and see how geopolitical tensions may eat your portfolio.
Synergy Partners clearly provides examples of why you should never trust your intuition when it comes to statistics.
The Interested Participant shows that Chinesese are buying American cars. Shouldn't you?
Anita presents the other side of Radio Frequency Identification Devices, and shows how RFID can empower consumers.
Catallarchy stores up a hornets' nest with his defense of Microsoft.
The delightfully named Photon Courier illuminates the chain of causation.
According to its host, this American Mind post deals with the incentives the TSA doesn't have to do an economical job. This is the only post that I have not personally read as I have not been able to access his site. Hopefully the link will be working shortly.
But Wait! There's More!
Next week's carnival will be hosted by Crazy Pundit. As always, you may enter by sending an email to "capitalists at elhide dot com."
What is the meanest most low-down thing a person can do during a kid's soccer game?
Liberal: Keep score.
Libertarian: Play the game in a municipal park.
Communist: Hog all the glory by not being a team player. Liberal: I'm getting a sizable refund from the IRS. Having a little extra income tax withheld from each paycheck is just as good as saving money in a bank, and a relatively painless, yet financially astute method of saving a sizable nest egg by the end of the year.
Libertarian: I owe the maximum amount permitted without incurring penalties.
Communist: my income is so low I owe no taxes, and qualify to receive food stamps. Liberal: - Gun owners
Libertarian: - No one
Communist: - Rabble-rousers and Clergymen Liberal: - He is dying OR His sentence was cut in half for not committing any other notably heinous crimes while serving his current sentence OR He has found God OR A famous celebrity thinks the convict is rehabilitated.
Libertarian: - He is innocent.
Communist: - He has found Lenin. Liberal: - Don't put profits ahead of people AND Put critters ahead of people.
Libertarian: - Do not tread on me.
Communist: - Workers of the World, unite AND Embrace groupthink AND Misery loves company.
When filling out my income tax form, I prefer to discover that...
Conservative: I owe money to the IRS, because that means the government gave me an interest free loan.
Who should be required to register with local police authorities?
Conservative: - Convicted sex offenders and Communists
What would you consider a valid reason for releasing a convict from prison before he has served his entire sentence?
Conservative: - He is dead.
What are your favorite slogans?
Conservative: - In God we trust.
If you read the original (and lengthy) survey, I also laughed at the liberal response to "What do you fear?"
Liberal: Keep score.
Libertarian: Play the game in a municipal park.
Communist: Hog all the glory by not being a team player.
Liberal: I'm getting a sizable refund from the IRS. Having a little extra income tax withheld from each paycheck is just as good as saving money in a bank, and a relatively painless, yet financially astute method of saving a sizable nest egg by the end of the year.
Libertarian: I owe the maximum amount permitted without incurring penalties.
Communist: my income is so low I owe no taxes, and qualify to receive food stamps.
Liberal: - Gun owners
Libertarian: - No one
Communist: - Rabble-rousers and Clergymen
Liberal: - He is dying OR His sentence was cut in half for not committing any other notably heinous crimes while serving his current sentence OR He has found God OR A famous celebrity thinks the convict is rehabilitated.
Libertarian: - He is innocent.
Communist: - He has found Lenin.
Liberal: - Don't put profits ahead of people AND Put critters ahead of people.
Libertarian: - Do not tread on me.
Communist: - Workers of the World, unite AND Embrace groupthink AND Misery loves company.
A secret service agent cuts in front of you and you go tumbling. This should not be a big deal, reporters say you fell at least six times during the day. But you wanted to look in control, a hip sixty-something, perfect. You know, you wanted to look presidential. So you tell the reporters "I don't fall down. The son of a bitch knocked me over."
Never mind the fact that you have reinforced your reputation of being a vulgar man. Many Americans use profanity and your base will certainly overlook that. However, you just publicly insulted one of men responsible for protecting your life. This man is expected to jump in front of a bullet for you. In the remote chance anyone decides you are worth killing, you have now reduced the Secret Service agents' motivation for placing your welfare above their own. Your lack of judgment is astounding. And you expect voters to give you responsibility for our well being. Senator Kerry, I am not that stupid.
This story was put together from accounts I heard on television, but you can find some details at Drudge.
Some might say a few of us bloggers are making a mountain out of a molehill. But Kerry has a pattern of arrogance. He and his staff expect special treatment, to the extent they even hacked off Dave Barry last September. Sen. John Kerry, who once came, with his entourage, into a ski-rental shop in Ketchum, Idaho, where I was waiting patiently with my family to rent snowboards, and Sen. Kerry used one of his lackeys to flagrantly barge in line ahead of us and everybody else, as if he had some urgent senatorial need for a snowboard, like there was about to be an emergency meeting, out on the slopes, of the Joint Halfpipe Committee. Kerry is not the type of man who should be our leader.
However, we the blogosphere, are wasting much time and bandwidth on routine posts. I see many time-constrained bloggers wasting a few minutes each week merely to provide their readers with the current location of various carnivals. This is silly and inefficient. Even the business oriented Carnival of the Capitalists follows this wasteful practice. However, Jay Solo deserves kudos for creating one constant email address for new submissions: capitalists -at- elhide.com.
Instead of continuing this poor use of time, I propose the following. Each carnival originator should create one page for their carnival. For example, Bigwig, as the originator of the Carnival of the Vanities (COV), should maintain an URL such as this: http://silflayhraka.com/cov.html. All bloggers who wish to link to the current COV would simply set up a bookmark with the aforementioned URL. Each week, Bigwig would change that one URL to redirect people to the current carnival.
This time-savings approach could be used for more than just carnivals. Poliblogger could use it for his Toast-a-Meter. The Watcher's Council could use it for their weekly roundup. As motivation for people to increase blogging efficiency, I will link to any (non-crude) carnival bookmark that implements my suggestion by the end of March. While I frequently change my links, I will leave your link up for the rest of 2003 even if I don't care for your particular carnival.
Think globally, act locally.
Signal + Noise reports on a recent study that shows the results of a coin flip are not a 50/50 proposition after all.
Insults Unpunished discusses the geoengineering idea of the "Geritol Solution" - a proposal to dump iron dust in certain parts of the ocean. This results in the massive growth of plankton, which traps carbon dioxide in dead plankton that finally get buried on the ocean floor.
Davids Medienkritick shows German Chancellor Schroeder has a large case of chutzpah. He expects, or pretends to expect, that the US will support the Schroeder's administration for a permanent seat on the UN security council. I don't know if Schroeder is that clueless or is simply desperate about his low support among German citizens. My guess is that he is hoping Bush will soundly reject his idea which might increase Schroeder's support with the anti-American Germans who put him in power. If I were Bush, I would just ignore Schroeder.
This follows Chinese and French attempts to influence their election.
The election is tomorrow.
Boots & Sabers found a tool that allowed me to see how well my experience represents my community. By simply entering my address, the Fundrace 2004 robot looks up the public donation records of everyone near me. If you check on your own neighbors, and I know you will, be patient. Even in the wee hours of the night, it took a few minutes for a response.
I was surprised by the results. There were many more donations for Bush than for the Democrats. This was not that surprising, most of the Republican money comes from small donations while the majority of Democratic funding comes from special interest groups (e.g., unions) and liberal millionaires. In addition, there were quite a few donations for various Democratic nominees (Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, John Edwards, and Dick Gephardt).
The surprise was that the nearest person who donated to John Kerry lived over 75 miles away from my house. I live in a battleground state. This does not say much for the enthusiasm of John Kerry supporters. It does improve the already high opinion I hold of my neighbors.
He has finished his first book about his experiences. It is entitled Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel. The book includes some of my favorite columns which prove life is indeed stranger, and more ironic, than fiction. What novelist would make up feminists who asked their fathers to resolve their problems for them? Yet Adams has encountered this situation at least twice in his experience. Adams also investigates stereotypes such as Ridiculous Man-Hating Lesbians and Narrow-Minded Religious Bigots.
In another section, Adams details the experiences that led to his receiving a Townhall column and appearing on Hannity & Colmes. I am not familiar with the show, but apparently Adam's appearance was unusual in that both Hannity (very conservative) and Colmes (very liberal) agreed with him. Even with tenure, it takes guts to stand up for your rights, and Adams clearly has an ample supply.
Since Professor Adams is relatively new to book publishing, he is still excited about signing his books. In fact, if you order from his site, you can ask him for a personalized inscription. I have already finished reading his book and greatly enjoyed the experience. Despite covering some serious topics, such as the importance of free speech, it is light and amusing reading. However, I did have one criticism. Two hundred pages left me wanting more.
Disclaimers: 1) I have never met Professor Adams and have no financial ties to the success of his book or his publisher. 2) Readers who believe that the first amendment only applies to certain types of speech may have their preconceptions challenged.
It appears we're facing the political equivalent of a rout. Now it's only a question of how far it goes and how many other nations lose heart and quit. In addition to having contributed 1300 troops of its own, Spain led about another thousand troops contributed by nations like Honduras and El Salvador. It won't be very surprising if they all give up now, too. The real question will be whether it spreads beyond the Spanish-speaking nations involved in the coalition.Den Beste is understandably irritated at another government showing weakness toward terrorism, but he is exaggerating a bit. I would hardly call one or two more withdrawals a rout. Further, I do not believe all the Spanish speaking nations will leave. According the Washington Post, Salvadoran Defense Secretary Gen. Juan Martinez said Tuesday that the country would keep its troops in Iraq no matter what. "We have to follow through with what our government decided"
I also want to set the record straight on Nicaragua before people start saying the Nicaraguan government is soft on terrorists. Nicaragua sent about 115 soldiers, mostly sappers and medical personnel, last September to join the brigade. Those troops have since returned, and the government announced last month that it could not afford to send a second contingent. Nicaragua did its part to support the USA, to the extent it could afford to do so, and decided it was done a month before the terrorist attack in Spain. I greatly appreciate the help of the Nicaraguans and the Salvadorans. I also appreciate the help of the Spanish and the Hondurans, although I agree with Den Beste that once you show the terrorists that you will try to appease them, you are asking for more trouble.
By the way, if you have not visited the USS Clueless in a while, Den Beste has had some good posts on the Middle East recently. I especially enjoyed his comments on the Iraqi Constitution.
This is actually subtle for the Chinese. In 1996, the Chinese were even more blatant.
China, whose 2.5 million-strong military represents the world's largest standing armed forces, threatened Taiwan with missile tests and war games in the run-up to the island's first direct presidential elections in 1996 to try to dissuade voters from re-electing President Lee Teng-hui.Americans have much in common with the Taiwanese and I regret the US showed a lack of will in allowing Taiwan to be kicked out the UN in 1971 and replaced by mainland China. As we repeatedly fail to learn from history, allowing pragmatism to triumph over principle causes greater problems in the future. We should have stuck to our principles and make recognition of an independent Taiwan a requirement for mainland China's admittance to the UN.
The move backfired and Lee won by a landslide.
Despite our reluctance to take a firm stand on this issue, the US has been a good friend to Taiwan and would most likely defend the Taiwanese in the face of a Chinese attack. The actions of both the Chinese and the Taiwanese are not surprising, both have been very open about their long term objectives. The Chinese hope to absorb Taiwan as they have done with Hong Kong (by treaty) and Tibet (by conquest). The Taiwanese hope to maintain their independence.
The involvement of the French is disappointing, but the only thing surprising about their involvement is that they are now openly helping China attempt to intimidate Taiwan. France is primarily interested in making money and instead of trying to do so with honest competition, their large corporations target markets that are forbidden to firms that reside in more principled countries. For example, the French were heavily involved in oil and weapons contracts with Iraq at a time when more principled countries refused to do business with Iraq (and France violated UN resolutions in doing so). Europe has an embargo on selling advanced arms to China. The French have been doing their best to overturn this ban. You may not be surprised to learn that Chancellor Schoreder also wants to remove the ban.
German Chancellor gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac are proposing that Europe lift its arms embargo against China, imposed in 1989 after the crackdown on China's democracy movement at Tienanmen Square.
...the move seems to be prompted by political expediency and commercial opportunism. It would enable the sale of quiet German submarines and advanced French Mirage fighters to a weapons-hungry China, a country that is one of the major sources of tension in the East Asia region.
I hope and expect the Taiwanese people to stick to their principles and vote in favor of their referendum. I hope the European Community maintains their ban on selling advanced weapons to China. As an official Taiwanese spokesman explained, We don't want to see the situation where China is using French weapons to fight the Americans.
I remain guardedly optimistic that as China becomes more democratic, more Christian, and more interdependent on trade with the US, it will eventually become a much more stable and friendly country. French efforts to help stir up trouble are only in best interests of those who don't mind blood money so long as there is plenty of it.
Yesterday, just four days after the terrorist attack, Spain held a national election. Until the terrorist attack, the Spanish Popular Party was expected to win the majority of votes. They are the party in power, and have been a strong ally in our war on terror. The first promise the Spanish Socialist party leader made (the main opposition) was to remove Spanish troops from Iraq if elected. Because of the terrorist attack, enough Spanish voters changed their minds and placed the Socialist Party in power. The surprising results of yesterday's elections have major implications.
Those on the left tend to be jubilant. They are thrilled that the Socialists will be in power and they are happy that an administration that strongly supported President Bush has been brought down. Those on the right are a bit downcast. They cannot imagine why any country would give in to terrorism.
Dean Esmay has one of the more rational points of view on what these events mean for Spanish-American relations.
By the way, Spain? Thanks a lot for being there for us when we needed you. We look forward to your continuing friendship even if we disagree over one issue. And I still weep for your loss last week, and hope we can help you catch those responsible.I agree with this sentiment, although I strongly disagree with Dean that the Al Qaeda "victory" will be rather short-lived and disappointing [if the new Spanish P.M. keeps his word]. For the first time in modern history, the results of a terrorist act have directly resulted in the change of government of a major Western power. This was a major victory for al Qaeda and the results of their success will be more terrorism.
Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for this horrific act. This success, and Sunday's election made the attack a tremendous success for al Qaeda, will undoubtedly spawn other attacks in countries where terrorist acts may influence voters in a way desired by terrorists. Al Qaeda's objectives were known.
Security experts say they think toppling the Spanish government was al Qaeda's explicit goal in last week's attacks.Thus, the Spanish election was a major victory for the terrorists and a setback for the war on terror. Now that the terrorist have seen that they can topple one pro-USA government with a single attack, I suspect they will attempt this again in Europe, before another major election. Who will they target? Terrorists are not completely rational, by definition, but the UK would be a logical target. Like Spain, many of its citizens have major doubts about the war on terror. A major attack in the UK might motivate the swing voters to vote for those who oppose the war on terror. They would be helped by the UK media who cannot even call vicious killers like the late Abu Abbas by the name of terrorist. Italy is another logical target.
They point to a 50-page book, Iraq al-Jihad, which appeared on militant Internet sites last December and discussed attacking Spanish targets to increase public hostility to the war and bring down Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.
It explicitly suggested militants "exploit the coming elections in Spain in March, 2004," according to excerpts provided by Janusian's Claridge.
"We think the Spanish government could not afford more than two or three attacks...after which it would have to withdraw as a result of popular pressures," the book said.
Added Claridge: "In the end, they only needed one (attack)."
If the terrorists understand the American mindset better than they did before 9/11, they will not hit the States again. The majority of Americans support the war on terror and approve of President Bush's actions here. In fact, President Bush may be a victim of his own success; the war on terrorism has gone so well that it is no longer a focal issue for many Americans. Another attack in the States would virtually assure a Bush reelection. I suspect the attack on Spain will result in a mild Bush bounce in the polls as people think about the war on terror, but this bounce will vanish shortly after the media starts covering other news.
I looked up the statistics on the Spanish election. With 99.4 percent of the ballots counted, the Socialists had 42.6 percent of the vote, about 164 seats in the next parliament, compared with 37.7 percent, and 148 seats, for the Popular Party. Like many democracies, including our own, Spain is divided. Their change in government will not have a major impact on Spanish-American relations. However, their perceived capitulation to terrorism will provide substantial incentive for al Qaeda to strike again.
I have not posted about this because I have been hesitant to ask for a law to prevent this. As desirable as that would be, I also have problems with giving the government even more power. We should be able to resolve this without government involvement. I have solved it for my family by simply refusing to take my children to any more movies (the Attorney has been to a movie theater just once in his life and the Engineer has been twice).
However, I ran across another way to help achieve my objectives. The Lion & Lamb Project was started to reduce the marketing of violence to children. They have a form for parents to complete when they see a movie preview that was inappropriately shown to young children. When I start allowing my children back in movie theaters, I will use this form as appropriate.
I hope that sharing these thoughts, and by enabling a forum for comments on them, that we can do our small part to improve the world.
Today I discovered some research about the benefits of a new technology . Oxygen is required for most known forms of life on earth and it allows the corrosion of many of our products. Scientists have recently discovered an inexpensive form of deoxygenation for situations where oxygen is not desired.
Aquatic organisms often hitch a ride in the ballast tanks of ocean-crossing ships, ending up in ports far from their native habitats. Upon arrival, these alien species can wreak havoc in their new environs, forcing out native species and incurring huge economic costs.Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Hopefully the actual practice will be as successful as the lab testing.
...the new technique still provides an environmentally benign and economically attractive method for reducing the number of potential invaders.
...our study shows that the anticorrosion benefit of this technique is a strong economic incentive for the shipping industry.
My boys were given the white pieces and I removed six of my starting pieces (both rooks, bishops, and knights). Thus armed, I played at my best against two newcomers to the game. The Engineer made me work for it, making me proud by going on the offensive immediately, but I won two games each against both him and his brother, the Attorney. Both took their first loss well, but were not happy with their second defeat.
So I told them that the next time I played them, I would try something different. Yesterday, I played each of them another game. As before, they played white with all of their pieces. This time I started with two knights (no queen, rooks, or bishops). Despite losing his queen early, the Engineer surprised both of us by checkmating me after about forty moves. The Attorney tried a different tactic. Figuring he had many more pieces than I, he simply tried to attack whenever possible, hoping I would run out of pieces. It was a viable strategy, but the Attorney lacked the experience to execute it properly. He has not yet mastered the concept of guarding all his pieces, so his strategy failed. Yet, he took this defeat in good spirits. I think I'll stick with this level of handicapping until one of the boys manages to beat me twice in a row. At which point, I'll try something different. I wonder how long it will take for them to work up to playing without any handicaps. Probably sooner than I think.
When I was in college, I found a fun chess program called Battle Chess. I just rediscovered it on the internet. It appears to now be in the public domain and you can download it for free along with another version which I never played. I may see if I can get it to work later. The graphics are a lot of fun as the computer shows an animated battle each time you capture a piece.
Chess is not only racist but sexist, classist and homophobic. How come you can sacrifice your queen, but if you lose your king, the game is over? Why is there an underclass of "pawns"? Oh sure, they're promised they can be upwardly mobile if they only play by the rules, but how often does a pawn actually become a queen? And why are rooks only allowed to move straight?Taranto was obviously speaking in jest, but his parody makes as much sense as the original complaint. Long ago, I used to answer 911 calls and dispatch police officers. Once I received a complaint that several cars had parked in a racist manner. When I pressed for details, the caller said they just were and hung up. It was a slow night, so we sent an officer to investigate. Upon arrival, he stated all cars in the neighborhood were parked normally. Some people just take enjoyment in being (or pretending) to be offended. As for me, I must confess that sometimes I take enjoyment in tweaking the easily offended.
Our eldest is six. He is just learning to read, but his favorite computer games are Roller Coaster Tycoon and Zoo Tycoon (free demo). He has been able to play these games despite being illiterate. He loves climbing trees and running. His mindset is very analytical. He wants to know how things work and he constantly performs "experiments" to test things. I stereotype him as an Engineer.
Our middle child is four. He does not seem too interested in reading yet, but he is very precise. He enjoys roleplaying various superheros, especially Larryboy, and competitive games where he has a chance to win (it's tough to be four and play against a six-year-old brother). He pays close attention to what you say, and I stereotype him as an Attorney.
Our youngest child is two. Despite the general tendency for girls to start speaking earlier than boys, she does not yet talk very much. I stereotype her as the Little Princess because it is both traditional and because she tries to rule the entire house with gestures. Hopefully this will change as she ages, but she has more of a temper than the rest of us combined. It displays itself when she does not get her way. Fortunately, her mother is being careful not to raise a spoiled brat, so the Little Princess is learning (slowly) that the only thing her temper gains her is a swift banishment to her room. As she grows, she may earn another label, but for now, she is my Little Princess.
It is fun to think of my children in these ways, but I do need to be careful. I want to raise my children to think for themselves and to support whatever future careers that best fits their unique personalities, skills, and desires. Some of that requires parents to make assumptions now (do we allow junior to go to science camp or do we sign him up for music lessons instead), but a lot of it requires parents to keep an open mind and to see their children as they really are, not as we wish them to be.
It is tempting to say this bodes poorly for Kerry, especially since many Democrats have been using the alleged high voter turnout to support their prediction of a Kerry victory. However, I think it actually shows a reasonably well-informed electorate. The states with high turnouts were mostly the ones where the outcome was in doubt. For example, Edwards won South Carolina, not Kerry.
By the time Super Tuesday rolled around, Kerry's victory was assumed by almost everyone. Indeed, the only real news was that Kerry did not win Vermont. So while if Super Tuesday had shown record turnouts, the Democrats may have been justified in seeing this as a sign Bush's reelection is in trouble, the reverse does not hold. Democrats may or may not be excited about Kerry. But American voters are smart enough to know when their votes do not matter, and I can understand why many Kerry supporters would have stayed home on Super Tuesday. Their candidate already had the election wrapped up.
Der Cowboy attackiert Mr. Flip-FlopYep, the election 2004 in a nutshell: President Cowboy vs. Senator Flip-Flop
This research has important public policy implications. As Stellman and Garfinkel (1989) documented, one's risk of lung cancer increases with cumulative tar intake. Given the results of this survey, it appears the current policy of increasing the cost of cigarettes will have a much smaller impact on reducing lung cancer incidence than politicians expected. This is not to say the policy has been a complete failure, the increased cost of smoking has motivated some smokers to quit the habit. However, there appears to be little benefit for those who continue to smoke since they tend to increase their tar and nicotine consumption.
Farrelly et al (2004) used their findings to support Harris's (1980) proposal. Over a score of years ago, JE Harris recommended taxing cigarettes based upon their tar content. The higher the tar, the higher the tax. If the purpose of a cigarette tax is to increase the health of the nation, this approach should be much more effective than the current system of taxing all cigarettes equally.
Definitions: Heavy smokers were defined as those who consumed 25 or more cigarettes per day. Current smokers were defined as those who answered yes to the question "Do you smoke cigarettes now?" and who had consumed over 100 cigarettes in their lifetime. Successful quitters were defined as those who were once current smokers (e.g., had consumed over 100 cigarettes in their lifetime) and had not smoked a single cigarette in at least six months.
Some specific findings: Men consumed more tar and nicotine than women, blacks consumed more than whites, and the less educated consumed more than the better educated. Those who lived in communities with high clean air laws consumed less tar and nicotine than those who did not, but this was only true of the youngest age group (ages 25-34).
While reasonable people may disagree if it is the role of government to intervene in health decisions, I think most would agree that if the government is going to do so, it should do so in an informed manner. For a social decision, the evidence is unusually and remarkable clear. If the government is going to have a special tax for cigarettes, I agree with those who would link the amount of the tax with the amount of tar.
As an adult, I underwent radial keratotomy (RK) surgery about ten years ago (this was when laser surgery was still very experimental; today I would recommend laser surgery over RK). That corrected my vision to 20/25 in one eye and 2/35 in the other and also gave me a mild case of astigmatism. The astigmatism was well worth the improved vision; I am fond of water sports (swimming and rafting) and the ability to see well without losing a contact was great. I also enjoyed the newfound ability to see the clock across the room when I woke up at night.
My vision remained constant at 2/25 (right eye) and 2/35 (left eye) until last fall.
As I aged (and moved to locations with more allergens), I went back to glasses. After all, with my improved vision, I could still be active without the glasses. When we moved last year, my glasses were accidentally broken. With all the hustle and bustle of moving, fixing our new home, and learning a new job, I never made time to get them fixed. I just did without. I had headaches for a few weeks, but then they went away. Without the crutch of glasses, I felt my vision was actually improving.
A few weeks ago, the headaches returned in force along with a weird feeling in my eyes. My work requires me to spend vast amount of time in front of the PC and I compound this by spending much of my spare time in front of a monitor too. And I now use LCD monitors at both work and home and they are not quite as bright as the traditional CRT displays. So I went to an ophthalmologist who said I simply had eyestrain. He also tested my vision and while I still had the RK-induced astigmatism, my vision had improved to 20/20 in each eye. So he prescribed a set of reading glasses (that are weaker than the non-prescription glasses you can buy in the store) and suggested I wear them while at the computer.
I am thankful to live at a time where technology can overcome handicaps such as poor vision. But I am also thankful at how resilient the human body is. I cannot believe that going without my glasses for about seven months improved my vision to 20/20.
As a group, the Democrats continue to raise more money than the Republicans. This slight edge has grown by a full percentage point since I last reviewed the situation in November. Yet, as a wise man once said, a house divided against itself will not stand.
One of the advantages of incumbency is that their party's money is usually not spent in a primary fight. President Bush has $104 million dollars on hand in his warchest. Senator Kerry has $2 million. Even if the Democrats continue to raise $1.19 for every $1.00 the Republicans raise, and it all goes to Kerry, the Democrats would have to raise $537 million dollars (compared to the Republicans raising $452 million) to pull even. Unless George Soros or Teresa Heinz decide to commit a major portion of their wealth, it is not going to happen.
It's almost a truism that women who have abortions are more pro-choice than those who carry their pregnancies to term, and it stands to reason that they generally have more-liberal attitudes about sex and religion. It also seems reasonable to assume that parents have some influence on their children, so that if liberal women are having abortions, the next generation will be more conservative than it otherwise would be.His conclusions may or may not be true (e.g., an alternative explanation is that that baby boomer culture, as a whole, is liberal. Thus, the younger generations more conservative beliefs could simply be an outgrowth of normal rebellion), but this idea is interesting enough it deserves more study. On December 9, 2003, Taranto started calling this idea the Roe Effect.
Why should it surprise anyone that those people lucky enough to have been born since 1973 would be more conservative than their elders, especially on abortion?Up to this point, I believe Taranto had made a compelling, albeit circumstantial, case for the Roe Effect. Today he confused me.
Why is this confirmation of the Roe effect? If anything, it suggests that Roe effect either does not exist or it works completely opposite to Taranto's prediction. Taranto is an experienced columnist, he may have a perspective I have obviously missed.
Now, do you notice anything about these lists of states? Here's a hint:
High abortion rates Low abortion rates
District of Columbia (Gore by 76.2%)
New Jersey (Gore by 15.8%)
New York (Gore by 25.0%)
Maryland (Gore by 16.2%)
California (Gore by 11.7%)
Nevada (Bush by 3.5%)
Utah (Bush by 40.5%)
South Dakota (Bush by 22.7%)
Kentucky (Bush by 15.1%)
North Dakota (Bush by 27.6%)
This certainly looks to us like confirmation of the Roe effect. We'll have more analysis of the Guttmacher numbers in a future column.
For my part, I do not think this data, by itself, can be used as evidence to support or falsify the proposed Roe effect. If you could control for migration, immigration, and state culture (a difficult proposition indeed), one would have to need a "liberal" measure for each state going back at least 18 years. If Taranto's Roe effect exists, then there should be a significant difference between the change in liberalism in New Jersey than in Utah (with Utah showing a greater amount of increased liberalism over time than New York, since the Roe effect predicts more liberal children would be aborted in New York).
Assuming the Roe effect exists, I think it's impact will be felt in two ways. One, the conservative states (where abortion rates are low) will continue to grow faster than the liberal states (where abortion rates are high) when you control for immigration and migration, thus they will have more political representation over time. Two, when enough children born after 1973 are voters (and enough liberal boomers grow old and die), abortion will again be illegal.
As for the abortion numbers Taranto quoted. It merely shows the unsurprising link between abortion and the Democratic party. The parts of the US where abortion is more common naturally votes for the party that supports their peculiar institution.
I should have been more precise. The data seem to confirm a premise of the Roe effect, namely that liberal women have more abortions.That makes perfect sense to me. A big thanks to Taranto for clarifying.
The other surprise, although much less of one, was that Kerry most likely won Georgia. With 95% of precincts reporting as of this post, Kerry had 46.7% of the vote compared to 41.5% for Edwards. The exit polling in Georgia was interesting too.
Edwards fared well among voters who cared more about the issues than defeating Bush. This is consistent with polls in other states. Kerry seems to have locked up the Democratic nomination because his party thinks he is most likely to beat Bush, not because they like his stances.
More black voters backed Kerry than Edwards, but the majority of white voters supported Edwards.This is also consistent with other Southern polls. Given recent trends, Kerry can expect to receive over 80% of the black vote. However, Kerry has an uphill battle to win the votes of non-black Southerners.
After Edwards makes it official today, expect to see both President Bush and Senator Kerry spending more time focused on each other and (hopefully) their own issues.
Then you receive letters from students at the public schools that would face competition. They ask you to vote against the charter schools. You suspect the students were prompted to write these letters by their teachers, but that does not matter to you. The content of the letters themselves made the decision obvious.
Board of Education member Roberta Schaefer... ...ridiculed the letters against a proposed school in Marlboro for their missing punctuation and sloppy spelling - including a misspelling of the word "school" in one missive.
...these letters have convinced me the high school was not doing an adequate job in teaching English language arts,'' Schaefer said.
The Board approved the new charter schools by a 5 to 1 margin.