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On Dividends and Agency Problems .
Feb 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

On Dividends and Agency Problems. The investing public’s disdain for dividends and fascination with capital growth has a precedent. In our last great bubble, the 1920s, the same thing happened. Why should companies pay out dividends? It is a way for the management to prove… [Mises Economics Blog: Austrian Economics and Libertarian Political Theory]

I’ve commented on stock prices and dividends before, and this supports my conclusions.

Aristide Flees Haiti; Bush Sends Marines [ AP World News ] Just what we need–yet another bunch of troops sent to a fore
Feb 29th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Aristide Flees Haiti; Bush Sends Marines [AP World News]

Just what we need–yet another bunch of troops sent to a foreign country that is none of our business.

GDP, Measured in Gold .
Feb 28th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

GDP, Measured in Gold. Economist Paul Kasriel looks at the GDP measured not in dollars but in gold and finds that it peaked in 2001 has been declining since. Kasriel says “‘real’ GDP peaked in 2001, and has declined for two successive years since…. [Mises Economics Blog: Austrian Economics and Libertarian Political Theory]

On this day six years ago Apple cancelled the Newton.
Feb 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

A picture named mp2000.gifOn this day six years ago Apple cancelled the Newton. I’m still using the same MessagePad 2100 that I was on that day (although I do have spares, just in case).

Publishers Face Prison For Editing Articles from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya or Cuba .
Feb 27th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Publishers Face Prison For Editing Articles from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya or Cuba. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control recently declared that American publishers cannot edit works authored in nations under trade embargoes which include Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya and Cuba.

Although publishing the articles is legal, editing is a “service” and the treasury department says it is illegal to perform services for embargoed nations. It can be punishable by fines of up to a half-million dollars or jail terms as long as 10 years. (link)

So rendering any kind of service to citizens of certain countries (and that’s what we’re talking about here, not their governments) is now a crime. Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah. What is the world coming to? Kudos to the American Chemical Society and every other group that is standing up against this abhorrent rule. [Al-Muhajabah’s Islamic Blogs]

In other words, anyone in the Department of Defense who edits a report sent by soldiers or colonial bureaucrats in Iraq maybe be imprisoned for up to 10 years because the works are authored in a nation under trade embargo. But of course laws don’t apply to the government, so I won’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

Give Me A Break, and Another Break, and Another .
Feb 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Give Me A Break, and Another Break, and Another. New at Reason: You paid for John Stossel’s beach house. The well-heeled ABC newsman explains how he and other plutocrats game the government for free money, price supports and other goodies. [Hit & Run]

Mr.
Feb 26th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Mr. President, An Asteroid Impact Is Imminent…. As reported by Dr. David Whitehouse of BBC: Some scientists believed on 13 January that a 30m object, later designated 2004 AS1 [SciScoop aside – also known as AL00667], had a one-in-four chance of hitting the planet within 36 hours. It could have caused local devastation and the researchers contemplated a call to President Bush before new data finally showed there was no danger. The procedures for raising the alarm in such circumstances are now being revised. At the time, the president’s team would have been putting the final touches to a speech he was due to make the following day at the headquarters of Nasa, the US space agency. In it he planned to reset the course of manned spaceflight, sending it back to the Moon and on to Mars, but he could have had something very different to say. He could have begun by warning the world it was about to be hit by a space rock. Bush would not have known where it would impact – only somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Experts would have been bouncing radar signals off the huge rock as he spoke in order to get more information about its trajectory. At about 30m wide, the asteroid was cosmic small fry, not the type of thing to wipe out the dinosaurs or threaten our species, but still big enough to cause considerable damage after exploding in the atmosphere. Potentially, the loss of life could have been much worse than 11 September. In the end, Bush made no such announcement, but astronomers have admitted they were on the verge of making the call. In a paper presented at this week’s Planetary Protection conference in California, veteran asteroid researcher Clark Chapman calls it a “nine-hour crisis”. He explains how word reached the astronomical community of an asteroid that had just been discovered by the twin optical telescopes of the Linear automated sky survey in New Mexico. [SciScoop]

I’m not so concerned about the possibility of almost giving a false alarm. What I’d like to know is, if a rock really was going to hit us, would the astronomers at some point tell ordinary people, or would they just tell the President?

Patriot Act Thievery .
Feb 25th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Patriot Act Thievery. My wife recently transferred funds from a mutual fund to her bank account to buy a new car (BMW 330 XI). When she checked her bank account to see if the transfer had occurred, she noticed that only 55% of… [LewRockwell.com Blog]

The Feds have apparently found a new way to violate the Fourth Amendment. This one looks like a mutation of the “civil forfeiture” concept, where the government steals your property without ever charging you with a crime.

REALbasic 5.5 adds Linux, enhances Mac support .
Feb 25th, 2004 by Ken Hagler

REALbasic 5.5 adds Linux, enhances Mac support. REAL Software Inc. on Wednesday released REALbasic 5.5, the latest version of their cross-platform development environment. The addition of Linux to the list of supported platforms is a major addition in this release but is by no means the only change, according to company president and CEO Geoff Perlman, who recently spoke with MacCentral about the new version. [MacCentral]

I’ve been using REALbasic in various small work-related projects for years now, and I’m pleased to see how well it’s developed–and that they still support the MacOS, and not just OS X.

Haiti Rebels: Aristide Made Error on Guns [ AP World News ] Sitting poolside and fingering assault rifles, r
Feb 23rd, 2004 by Ken Hagler

Haiti Rebels: Aristide Made Error on Guns [AP World News]

bq. Sitting poolside and fingering assault rifles, rebel leaders bent on ousting Haiti’s president said Monday his big mistake was sending them home years earlier with their guns. All three have a vendetta against Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

“We don’t want any more bloodshed. We just want Aristide to leave,” Guy Philippe told The Associated Press in an interview. He used to be the police chief in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second-largest city of 500,000 that rebels seized with little resistance on Sunday, the biggest prize in their 18-day revolt.

It takes a pretty incompetent dictator to overlook imposing gun control. Unfortunately whatever dictator the rebels install will probably not miss the lesson.

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