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Big media’s credo: Don’t Know, Don’t Care .
Jul 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Big media’s cre­do: Don’t Know, Don’t Care. So is “shat­tered investor con­fi­dence” the rea­son the stock mar­ket is falling? Call me a heretic, but I think the scan­dals have rel­a­tive­ly lit­tle to do with the declin­ing US stock mar­ket. I think it has more to do with the EU Sav­ings Tax Direc­tive, which Per­ry has dis­cussed below. The US stock mar­ket was fueled in the ‘90s by mas­sive for­eign invest­ment in Amer­i­can equi­ties (British Petro­le­um buy­ing Amo­co, Daimler-Benz buy­ing Chrysler, etc.) Euro­peans pre­fer to set up Amer­i­can hold­ing com­pa­nies to invest in the US, earn­ing income on their invest­ments that is taxed at (com­pa­ra­bly low) Amer­i­can cor­po­rate tax rates.

The US attracts mas­sive amounts of for­eign invest­ment (anoth­er way to say this is that the US has a mas­sive cur­rent account deficit) because the US has rel­a­tive­ly low tax rates, and rel­a­tive­ly light reg­u­la­to­ry bur­dens. But the EU con­sid­ers this “unfair tax com­pe­ti­tion” and is try­ing to estab­lish a tax car­tel that would tax receipts of income earned in the US by Euro­peans at high­er Euro­pean rates. To the extent that such a thing would make invest­ment in the US less prof­itable, it has reduced the glob­al demand for Amer­i­can cor­po­rate equi­ties. It’s just a the­o­ry, but at least it is a the­o­ry backed by some evi­dence, not just a bunch of tire­some clich­es pas­tiched togeth­er into a jejune news sto­ry. [Samizdata.net]

An inter­est­ing the­o­ry on why stock prices are drop­ping. It makes more sense than the mass media cov­er­age, but I sus­pect that there’s still more to it than Euro­pean investors loos­ing their incen­tive to buy US stock.

Hewlett Packard has no honor .
Jul 31st, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Hewlett Packard has no hon­or. [Script­ing News]

Of course it hasn’t. Hon­or is an indi­vid­ual trait–only peo­ple can have hon­or, not orga­ni­za­tions, coun­tries, or ani­mals. It’s pos­si­ble for the peo­ple who run a cor­po­ra­tion to be hon­or­able, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Choosing Your Battle Rifle .
Jul 30th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Choos­ing Your Bat­tle Rifle. The Garand was designed for the .30−06 car­tridge. While its slight­ly more pow­er­ful than .308, it’s sig­nif­i­cant­ly rar­er, as it was only ever used in a few mil­i­tary rifles (none in active ser­vice today). [Doing Free­dom!]

This sur­vey of bat­tle rifles avail­able to civil­ians con­tains the rather bizarre state­ment above. The author seems to be unaware of how incred­i­bly com­mon .30−06 rifles are–perhaps he’s writ­ing from out­side the US?

RadioExpress : ” I just did my first Radio Userland “extension”.
Jul 30th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

RadioExpress: "I just did my first Radio Userland "extension". I wanted to be able to blog things I found around the web without having to copy/paste from that page to the R8 edit form. Blogger has a cool bookmarklet to do that. ManilaExpress also does that for Manila.

However, R8's default form editor does not support receiving default text via external forms. So I changed it and repackaged it in the form of a new R8 page. It comes with it's own bookmarklet which you can easily install in your navigator's toolbar."

It works!

I ran for president once.
Jul 29th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

I ran for pres­i­dent once. Now I can’t make it past air­port secu­ri­ty. [Opin­ion­Jour­nal]

bq. When I go to an air­port these days I don’t wor­ry about a ter­ror­ist bomb. I’ve been fly­ing steadi­ly and unsteadi­ly for 60 years, begin­ning with my days as a bomber pilot in World War II. I’ve always known that a bomb in somebody’s suit­case could blow up the plane I was on, just as I knew every day in 1943–45 could be my last. No one can ever take all the risk out of fly­ing. On the wrong day you can even be hit by a drunk­en dri­ver going to or from the air­port.

But what ter­ri­fies me at the air­ports now is not the ter­ror­ists or drunks. It is the fear that I won’t be able to get through all the check­points, or that my car will be seized for park­ing with­in a mile of the air­port, or that I will have for­got­ten my iden­ti­ty card, or that I’ll for­get one of my shoes while my toes are being exam­ined for explo­sives, or that my foot odor will offend some exam­in­er and get me arrest­ed as a pub­lic nui­sance.

I wor­ry that the lit­tle nail-clippers in my toi­let arti­cle bag will be detect­ed by the X-ray machine and get me arrest­ed as a threat to the pilot and flight crew. But most of all I wor­ry about miss­ing the dead­line for being checked in, rechecked and checked again before final­ly reach­ing my assigned seat flus­tered, humil­i­at­ed and exhaust­ed.

The author, George McGov­ern, was the Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­date for Pres­i­dent in 1972. It’s inter­est­ing to note that he sounds like a mod­ern Repub­li­can.

Liberal lunacy always blames things, not people .
Jul 29th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Lib­er­al luna­cy always blames things, not peo­ple. After a par­tic­u­lar­ly grue­some mass mur­der in the Mid­dle East, the web­site for the mod­er­ate­ly con­ser­v­a­tive Fox News Chan­nel head­lined the news sto­ry with the sim­ple but accu­rate procla­ma­tion: BOMBER KILLS 17 IN ISRAEL. Over at CNN, how­ev­er, the polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect pan­der­ers announced the sto­ry with a sub­tle but cru­cial dif­fer­ence: “BOMB KILLS 17,” their head­line declared.

[…]

Noth­ing describes and dis­cred­its left-wing luna­cy of the moment more pre­cise­ly than the dis­com­fort of its advo­cates with any ques­tions of moral­i­ty or val­ues. When your out­look makes it impos­si­ble to blame the indi­vid­ual for his own hor­ri­ble deeds, then it leads inevitably to the fatu­ous notion that bombs, rather than bombers, com­mit mass mur­der. [World­Net­Dai­ly]

Here is a great overview of the amount of money from the entertainment industry that is buying votes in Congress.  Berman tops

Here is a great overview of the amount of mon­ey from the enter­tain­ment indus­try that is buy­ing votes in Con­gress.  Berman tops the list on this elec­tion cycle.  A cou­ple of things are obvi­ous:  the amount of mon­ey being spent to buy votes is accel­er­at­ing.  It is up 400% over 1990 mid-term elec­tion cycle.  How can ind­vid­u­als even hope to com­pete against the stag­ger­ing ~$125 m the enter­tain­ment indus­try has spent over the last 12 years?   Our only hope is that more peo­ple become aware that cor­rup­tion of Con­gress by the enter­tain­ment indus­try is going to threat­en their pri­va­cy, rights, and invest­ments (in com­put­er sys­tems). [John Robb’s Radio Weblog]

The best thing ordi­nary peo­ple can do is to pool their mon­ey and pay for TV ads right before the elec­tion report­ing how much the can­di­dates took from the enter­tain­ment indus­try. Oh, wait–the “cam­paign finance reform” law makes that a crime. Only the news media (a wholly-owned sub­sidiary of the enter­tain­ment indus­try) is allowed to talk about the issues before an elec­tion now.

Obese Man Creates Super-Sized Court Controversy, Sues Fast Food Chains .
Jul 25th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Obese Man Cre­ates Super-Sized Court Con­tro­ver­sy, Sues Fast Food Chains. McDonald’s, Burg­er King, Wendy’s and KFC Cor­po­ra­tion were deemed “irre­spon­si­ble and decep­tive” by an obese man’s lawyer recent­ly as he announced his inten­tion to sue the four largest fast-food chains in Amer­i­ca. [kuro5hin.org]

Two years ago this was just a joke. It’s amaz­ing how fast a soci­ety can go down­hill.

Dearth of a Nation .
Jul 25th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

Dearth of a Nation. Yet in today’s Zim­bab­we what looms large is not par­adise but famine. “The sit­u­a­tion is dete­ri­o­rat­ing fair­ly rapid­ly,” says Kevin Far­rell, coun­try direc­tor for the U.N.‘s World Food Pro­gram, reached by phone in the Zim­bab­wean cap­i­tal of Harare. He says that in any vil­lage right now, “you will see peo­ple clear­ly hun­gry.” The U.N. is appeal­ing for $611 mil­lion worth of emer­gency aid for sub-Saharan Africa. Almost half of that is for Zim­bab­we, the region’s for­mer bread­bas­ket, where aid work­ers now pre­dict that with­out mas­sive help, hun­dreds of thou­sands may soon starve to death. [Wall Street Jour­nal]

This famine, which will affect neigh­bor­ing coun­tries that depend­ed on food export­ed from Zim­bab­we, is the result of Mugabe’s delib­er­ate actions. There are some details in the arti­cle beyond the wide­ly report­ed destruc­tion of the farm­ing industry–it seems Mugabe is block­ing food imports as well. What is it with com­mu­nist dic­ta­tors and famine, any­way?

It seems that the roots of New York’s crime problem go back a good deal further than I thought.
Jul 25th, 2002 by Ken Hagler

It seems that the roots of New York’s crime prob­lem go back a good deal fur­ther than I thought. I encoun­tered this item in Jeff Cooper’s Com­men­taries:

bq. The 22 rifle is con­sid­ered to be social­ly accept­able in New York City where, for exam­ple, a 22 pis­tol is not. This is pre­sum­ably because it is dif­fi­cult to con­sid­er a 22 rifle as a defen­sive weapon with any sort of com­bat poten­tial. Leg­is­la­tors are not called upon to think things through, gen­er­al­ly speak­ing, but I know of one case per­son­al­ly in which an inno­cent and “social­ly accept­able” 22 rifle brought about desir­able defen­sive results

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