Stimulus jobs are just about over

An illustration of the futility of creating jobs by just spending government money for construction projects.  Once the projects are finished, we are back to unemployment.  And all of those “shovel-ready” construction jobs are just about finished.  From The Washington Post: The stimulus was here. Those words should be embossed on a stretch of Route 29 outside of Charlottesville, where paver operator Clifford Carter poured hot asphalt one year ago. The $885,000 project, funded by federal stimulus dollars, took two… Read more

The Fall of the American Empire

Foreign affairs think tanker Robert D. Kaplan argues in the Washington Post that the United States and the Soviet Union constituted, in effect, two empires that organized the world between them.  Other countries mostly aligned themselves with one side or the other.  The Soviet Empire collapsed, leaving the United States alone in the imperial role.  But now, according to Kaplan, the American empire has collapsed. Because of our military quagmires, our economic problems, our diplomatic weakness, and our overall popularity… Read more

The revenge of the marketplace

The mass transit system in Washington, D. C., is in a financial crisis.  This is because, in an effort to raise money, the government raised prices.  Which has resulted in fewer and fewer people using the system. The across-the-board fare increase imposed by Metro this summer has led to a drop in bus ridership and less-than-expected rail revenue as a result of changing travel patterns, an initial analysis by Metro shows. Bus ridership has fallen 7 percent, with overall Metro… Read more

Fighting debt problems by encouraging debt

The usually liberal Fareed Zakaria on the incoherence of the government’s attempts to fix the economy: Washington is asking consumers to stop saving and start spending, while the government issues more debt and the Fed lowers rates – all measures designed to increase debt. In other words, we are fighting a crisis caused by excessive debt by encouraging excessive debt. Is that really the best way to get growth? The investment manager and guru Jeremy Grantham says no. In his… Read more

Atheists seeking market share

Get ready for a bunch of ads promoting atheism, funded by at least four different sects of atheists, each seeking market share.  From the New York Times: Just in time for the holiday season, Americans are about to be hit with a spate of advertisements promoting the joy and wisdom of atheism. Four separate and competing national organizations representing various streams of atheists, humanists and freethinkers will soon be spreading their gospel through advertisements on billboards, buses and trains, and… Read more

Another conversation with my brother

In case you missed it on the George Bush & Aids post, my brother and I had another exchange, in the course of which I formulate what I consider a truly conservative economic ideology: He says: OK. I (“Dr. Veith’s” younger brother who is still and always will be a Democrat) hereby give George Bush credit for saving millions of lives as a result of his AIDS initiative. Hey, that felt kind of good! Now for you conservatives, isn’t it… Read more

The bloodiest war since WWII

If Ben Affleck is right, a slaughter that approached Holocaust proportions happened, but hardly any of us noticed: Ask many Americans to name the bloodiest war since World War II and chances are that most would not know the answer. If you told them it was in Africa, they might guess Rwanda or the ongoing conflict in Sudan. They’d be wrong. By far, the deadliest conflict was in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1998 to 2003. Eight African… Read more

George Bush & AIDS

Bush haters, will you at least give him credit for saving some 5 million lives in Africa, due to the AIDS initiative that he was responsible for?  Bono, at least, does. In the past 10 years, HIV infections have dropped by 20 percent. Medical experts say the combination of new treatments and a greater focus on prevention has been a success story. But, according to specialists in the field and AIDS activists alike, in sub-Saharan Africa — where efforts on… Read more

A typo with the force of law

A Virginia man sped by a stopped school bus, violating this law: “A person is guilty of reckless driving who fails to stop, when approaching from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children.” Read it carefully.  “Who fails to stop”a school bus?”  The law was supposed to read “who fails to stop at” a school bus.  The word “at” was inadvertently left… Read more

Monopoly vs. Settlers of Catan

Once again, this blog scoops the mainstream press.  You might remember a discussion of Monopoly vs. Settlers of Catan between my brother and tODD not too long ago.  Finally the Washington Post takes up these board games, only without the depth of analysis: More than 275 million copies of Monopoly have been sold, remarkable for a game that’s not particularly well designed. I don’t mean the graphics (which are bold and appealing) or the components (which I remember being sturdier… Read more

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