Note: The nice thing about the ol' blogaroo is that, unlike a paper that's going to be graded, a given post can merely be a rant-and-rave if it pleases the Editor!
In the following column by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, you will see that the average income per person worldwide has grown from an inflation-adjusted $2 a day to $17 a day over the past 200 years, thanks to free market capitalism.
As long as we're talking about averages, I'll just say that your average liberal, schlepping around Cambridge or Berkeley in his gray ponytail and comfortable shoes before hopping into the Prius to pick up the kid from a soccer practice where they don't keep score (because he's probably a stay-at-home dad anyway), might start blasting free market capitalism and America (the greatest creator of wealth and prosperity the world has ever known) upon hearing this.
His argument might be a mess of bad generalizations about income inequality, white privilege, greedy old-boy-network, Dick Cheney-and-pals backroom profit manipulation and creation at the expense of the Little Guy, sprinkled with references to Big Oil and melting icebergs.
When confronted with a slew of easy-to-understand things called facts that demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that today's average welfare recipient lives a lot higher on the hog, longer, and healthier than your average king or queen of England did back in the day (read Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth or rent Braveheart and then tell me if life would be easier as king back then or as a bum today), the liberal in question might start bringing up stories of his friend, a single, hardworking mother struggling to raise her kids in the face of a cold and heartless insurance company or a mean boss down at the minimum wage Burger King where she works.
OK, fine. We could spend all day recounting the stories of those who slip through the cracks (that's what Hollywood is there for). The last time I checked, we live in a place called the real world, and in the real world choices have to be made among imperfect alternatives.
It's like the shocked and outraged folks on TV who learn of an instance of a war crime committed by a U.S. soldier and talk about it like it's an argument for getting rid of the military or something. Has this person ever heard of an area of study called statistics, or maybe probability? Take 100,000 young soldiers in their teens and twenties and put them in a foreign country, scared out of their wits much of the time. Is the expectation that 0% of these guys will do something bad? If the expectation is 1/10 of 1%, then that'll give you 100 war crimes. If 12% of those get exposed in the media, that's one war crime per month to write about. Is that a reason to shut down the armed forces?
Likewise, there will always be losers in a free market economy, some of them penalized unjustly and unfairly. But to stand there like John Edwards and argue that things are pretty darn bad for the average American is stupid. Each and every morning I walk into Dunkin' Donuts. Each and every morning there is the same group of retired guys there, sitting around in their Red Sox windbreakers with their massive guts hanging all over the place, complaining about George Bush or some other topic they've carefully studied. Sure, maybe one or two of these guys really gave it his all throughout life and was met by adversity and calamity at every turn. There will always be people like this, just as there will always be people who get lung cancer never having puffed on a single cigarette. But I guarantee you that the vast majority of these guys graduated from high school, took union jobs, and punched the clock for thirty years, moaning the whole time.
Who thinks that a guy like this SHOULD have anything approaching income equality with the other guy who has worked hard and made short term sacrifices for the sake of some long term goals? Keep in mind that when politicians refer to "My Fellow Americans" or "The Working Guy" what they mean, whether they know it or not, is "My Fellow, Fairly Lazy Americans" or "The Barely-Working Guy Who Reluctantly Does as Little Work as Possible."
By the same token, there will always be individuals born into privilege who are funneled through the best schools, to the best firms, and everything comes up roses, and they DON'T work hard. That's also obvious if you look at it from a probability standpoint. So what? Deal with it.
Well, that's quite a rant, I realize. Here's the article:
Wealth and Nations
By Alvaro Vargas Llosa
MONTERREY, Mexico -- Is global capitalism making the poor even poorer, or is it in fact rescuing millions of people out of their misery?
I recently had the chance to participate in a series of debates here about this issue organized by Foreign Policy magazine and Letras Libres, a Mexican cultural publication Nothing I heard at that meeting changed my conviction that the glass is half-full despite the doomsayers who predict horrific calamities.
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, poverty has been significantly reduced throughout the world. Two hundred years ago, the average income per person worldwide was the equivalent of less than $2 a day; the figure is $17 today. This fact is relevant to the current discussion on globalization because, even though the information technology revolution, biotechnology, the emergence of new world players and outsourcing may give us the impression that we are in the midst of something entirely new, we are simply witnessing a new phase in the process of innovation that is the market economy -- and this began a few hundred years ago.
The fact that 20 percent of the world's population is extremely poor should not make us forget that millions of lives have improved dramatically in the last three decades. Illiteracy has dropped from 44 percent to 18 percent, and only three countries out of a total of 102 included in the U.N.'s Human Development Index have seen their socioeconomic conditions deteriorate. China's economy used to represent one-26th of the average economy of the countries that comprise the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; today it represents one-sixth.
These are not arcane facts. They are widely available and easy to understand. Publications such as Indur Goklany's "The Improving State of the World," David Dollar and Aart Kraay's report on the global economy, and Francois Bourguignon and Christian Morrisson's "Inequality Among World Citizens" -- to mention but three among many recent studies -- provide overwhelming evidence that the world is better off thanks to the increased flow of capital, goods, services and ideas.
All of which falls on the face of those who predict that in the next few years we will see a massive concentration of wealth among a few winners who will leave millions of losers behind. While it is probably true that the gap between low-skilled workers and those who are better educated will mean that different people will be impacted in very different ways by the continuing evolution of the global economy, the reality is that even those on the bottom rungs stand to benefit from the worldwide embrace of globalization.
Poverty was the natural condition of all of humanity until the market economy opened up the possibility of ever-increasing productivity. By 2030, it is estimated that the average wealth of developing countries will be equivalent to that of the Czech Republic today ($22,000 per person). The World Bank's recent "Global Economic Prospects" report goes as far as to say that Mexico, Turkey and China will equal Spain's current state of development, which is high.
At the recent meeting in Monterrey, those who were trying to justify their phobia against globalization pointed to Cuba and Venezuela as paradigms of development, and to Mexico's poor in claiming that increased trade -- through the North American Free Trade Agreement -- shortchanges the masses.
In 1953, Cuba's wealth was comparable to that of the state of Mississippi; today, the island's exports total one-third of the sales of Bacardi rum products, the economic icon of the Cuban exile community. Venezuela's economic system is a classic case of state capitalism based on oil -- exactly what made that nation's per-capita income go from representing the equivalent of two-thirds of that of the United States in the 1950s to representing barely 15 percent today. And Mexico's slums are not a factor of that country's increased trade with its North American neighbors, which has quadrupled in the last 15 years, but of the slow pace of reform.
The world was not rich and suddenly turned poor. The progress of the market economy that began to free the world of its shackles continues at an even faster pace today despite the many restrictions still faced by the people who create wealth and exchange it, and despite the fears that these momentous times understandably inspire in those who have difficulty adapting. What a heartening thought.
This is where I remind readers to count their blessings. Specifically, the blessing that they do not resemble either illustrious male figure skater Scott Hamilton or smug Fox Sports baseball commentator Joe Buck.
The topic arose today as I involved myself in an email discussion among several Grotto friends about the widespread inclination towards smugness found in so many celebrities and public figures. After I fired off an email to the group complaining about Joe Buck's smugness, Grotto contributor CFC IV responded by saying, and I quote, "Does the fact that he looks exactly like you have anything to do with it?"
When I combine this sad fact with the well-established view that I look like Scott Hamilton, it seems that I am destined to spend the rest of my days on a psychoanalyst's couch, trying to carve out a path for myself despite the heavy burden.
Judge for yourself!
Astronomers Select Top Ten Most Amazing Pictures Taken by Hubble Space Telescope in Last 16 Years .
After correcting an initial problem with the lens, when the Hubble Space Telescope was first launched in 1990, the floating astro-observatory began to relay back to Earth, incredible snapshots of the "final frontier" it was perusing.
Recently, astronomers voted on the top photographs taken by Hubble, in its 16-year journey so far. Remarking in the article from the Daily Mail, reporter Michael Hanlon says the photos "illustrate that our universe is not only deeply strange, but also almost i mpossibly beautiful."
The Sombrero Galaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted best picture taken by the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance. It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across .
The Ant Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using ground-based telescopes. The nebula lies within our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth.
In third place is Nebula NGC 2392, called Eskimo because it looks like a face surrounded by a furry hood. The hood is, in fact, a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star. Eskimo is 5,000 light years from Earth.
At four is the Cat's Eye Nebula
The Hourglass Nebula, 8,000 light years away, has a pinched-in-the-middle look because the winds that shape it are weaker at the centre.
In sixth place is the Cone Nebula. The part pictured here is 2.5 light years in length (the equivalent of 23 million return trips to the Moon).
The Perfect Storm, a small region i n the Swan Nebula, 5,500 light years away, described as 'a bubbly ocean of hydrogen and small amounts of oxygen, sulphur and other elements'.
Starry Night, so named because it reminded astronomers of the Van Gogh painting. It is a halo of light around a star in the Milky Way.
The glowering eyes from 114 million light years away are the swirling cores of two merging galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in the distant Canis Major constellation.
The Trifid Nebula. A 'stellar nursery', 9,000 light years from here, it is
where new stars are being born.
I like this quote because it blows the whistle on what is so annoying about many people who find great pleasure and satisfaction in protesting things and marching around complaining about sweeping injustices. I remember sitting on the lawn at Georgetown one sunny day while a bunch of students marched by, banging on pots and pans, protesting the U.S.'s involvement in El Salvador. I guarantee you that less than 30% of these idiots could identify El Salvador on a map. It simply made them feel good to get out there and pretend they were doing their little part to furthur the cause of justice on Planet Earth. Likewise, how many of the hippies who marched around in the Sixties protesting this and that were doing it because they were making an honest effort to do something, and how many of them were doing it because it was more fun than working hard at a job or anything else?
Here's the quote:
"I have received no assurance that anything we can do will eradicate suffering. I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away at limited objectives, such as the abolition of the slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or tuberculosis, not by those who think they can achieve universal justice, or health, or peace. I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can. To avert or postpone one particular war by wise policy, or to render one particular campaign shorter by strength and skill or less terrible by mercy to the conquered and the civilians is more useful than all the proposals for universal peace that have ever been made; just as the dentist who can stop one toothache has deserved better of humanity than all the men who think they have some scheme for producing a perfectly healthy race." C.S. Lewis
October 25, 2007
BOSTON — Chaos and destruction marred the opening of the World Series when Air Force B-52 bombers scheduled to make a ceremonial flight over the stadium before the start of Game 1 instead executed a series of low-level carpet-bombing runs and dropped an estimated 500 tons of incendiary and high-explosive munitions, utterly destroying Boston's historic Fenway Park. "It was horrifying—I was expecting four or five planes, but they just kept coming over the right-field stands, and suddenly the sky was full of bombs," said Anthony DiSilva, a Boston fireman who was in attendance with his wife and two sons when the first wave of aircraft targeted the ballpark. "When they hit, the earth just convulsed… I saw gouts of fire erupt from the stands, watched the Sox dugout collapse like a kicked anthill, and then we were engulfed in sheets of flame. It's a miracle no one was hurt." The Air Force has issued an apology for the oversight and is sending disaster relief personnel to help the grounds crew prepare the park for Game 2.
October 25, 2007
BOSTON—Although Colorado players, managers, and coaches said they would not issue a formal complaint about the playing conditions in Boston, the Rockies have gone on record as saying the "thick, soupy sea-level air" in the city made it unusually difficult for them to play baseball. "Seriously, I can barely push my bat through this stuff," said Rockies slugger Matt Holliday, who collapsed and had to be administered less oxygen after Wednesday's practice. "I was hitting them as hard as I could out there and the ball was still returning to the earth. We might as well be playing in quicksand." Other Rockies players were equally vocal in their criticism of the hostile atmosphere in Boston, with Kaz Matsui claiming he found it hard to slide through the viscous air and Willie Taveras aggravating a recent thigh injury while attempting to stand up quickly.
October 25, 2007
BOSTON — Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona announced Tuesday that the Colorado Rockies would receive a healthy dose of pitcher Josh Becket during the 2007 World Series, saying that the ALCS MVP would start games one, four, seven, two, six, three, and five, in that order. "I don't think this should come as a real shock to anyone," Francona told reporters, adding that with this schedule, Beckett should get "more than enough rest" between games one and four, which would allow him to be at maximum strength for games seven, two, and, if necessary, six, three, and the crucial fifth game. "Looking at the pitchers I have at my disposal, this gives us the best chance to win." According to Francona, Beckett should also be ready to pitch in late-inning relief of himself in games four and six, close games seven and three, and pitch on three hours rest if needed.
What's worse than a public bathroom with no paper towels? You wash your hands and then have to stand around like an idiot for a few minutes as a gentle breeze wafts out of the hand dryer and turns your hands from very wet to slightly wet. Meanwhile, a line of creepy Far Side characters forms behind you, and you finally give up and wipe your hands on your pants.
I am pleased to announce that there's a new sheriff in town causing some serious creative destruction in the sleepy hand dryer business, and his name is the Sloan XLerator! Get ready: If you have weak wrists, I recommend those rollerblading wristguards that you see losers in Central Park wearing, because the Sloan XLerator sports about 475 horsepower of pure blasting that will not only dry your hands in about six seconds, but may also snap them off of your arms!
Here is the one I had the pleasure of using over the weekend in NH:
And here's the better pic from the Sloan Valve Company website:
This past weekend I spent a little bit of quality time with the nephews (Sparhawk, 4 and Rowan, 2) up in Franconia, NH at the cool old place built by an explorer ancestor of mine (he was one of those guys who raided the Egyptian pyramids, and I remember when I was little there were artifacts in the house like a mummified child's foot and a mummified baby crocodile). He built it in the 1800s, and I think it could withstand a direct blast from a nuclear strike. It's never been redone, but there's not a creaky board in the whole place. Wherever you'd find a 2 x 4 in a contemporary house, this one has what look to me like 4 x 8s! You could throw a cocktail party inside the massive fireplace.
Anyway, we went for a mini hike:
My brother-in-law David, Rowan, Spar, and me (note my expert form here, due to years of experience in NOT holding small children):
Here I am with the fellas:
The whole gang (my sister Gallaudet is at far right; her platinum hairdo should give you a clue to the fact that her votes in elections tend to cancel out her brother's. . .):
Thanks to Grotto NYC Minister-without-Portfolio CFC IV for forwarding these photos of the best boy of all good boys. This excellent husky sled dog (by the way, the Grotto gives automatic "Good Boy!" status to all "dogs with jobs") makes a new friend.
"Stuart Brown describes Norbert Rosing's striking images of a wild polar bear playing with sled dogs in the wilds of Canada's Hudson Bay."
" . . . The polar bear materialized out of the blue."
"Shortly before, the husky was in a crouched bow with his tail wagging, ready to play."
"The polar bear returned every night that week to play with the dogs."
October 18, 2007
LOS ANGELES — Thirty-four lone-wolf detectives and beat officers from Los Angeles' 77th Police Precinct received unpaid three-month suspensions Monday for unprofessional and insubordinate conduct that their chief said he's tolerated for the "last goddamn time."
Detective Roger "Apeshit" McAdams is one of the 34 loose cannons, screwballs, head cases, and real grade-A hard-asses recently suspended from active duty at Los Angeles' 77th Precinct.
The police officers have been subjected to scathing public criticism over the years for their tendency to play by their own rules, which include refusing to obtain warrants, beating up junkies to extract information, and hurling corrupt city officials through plate-glass windows on more than 60 occasions.
"I called those sons of bitches into my office one by one and made them hand over their badges and guns," Los Angeles Police Department chief William J. Bratton said. "I know deep down that McCluskey's a good man, but he needs to shape up or ship out. Same goes for Conroy, McAdams, Peterman, Black, Grimwald, Tobias, Keating, and McAllister."
"Also Cobb, Williams, Miller, Sanchez, Rutgers, Grodinger, Spencer, Smith, Anderson, Garcia, Walker, Thompson, Nelson, Collins, Ellroy, Morris, Coleman, Gibson, Payne, Matthews, Gonzalez, Jacobs, Hoffman, Walters, and Hopkins," Bratton added.
Although the precinct has boasted a 100 percent arrest rate since 1988, fewer than 2 percent of the indicted offenders have gone to trial, since the vast majority of drug dealers, child molesters, and serial killers investigated by the 77th Precinct have died or disappeared before their court dates. The 34 officers have caused an estimated $98 million in property damage over two decades, and the LAPD has reportedly received 1,239 citizen complaints about their conduct this summer alone. In addition, each of the suspended officers has suffered nonfatal bullet wounds to the left shoulder.
Despite their many infractions, precinct commander Thomas Henderson defended the officers as "the best damn men on the whole force."
Detective Sonny "Mad Dog" Grodinger
"I don't always necessarily agree with their cockeyed methods, but, I've got to admit, they get results," Henderson said. "And they save the department thousands in chair costs by sitting on the corners of their desks."
The suspensions leave the 77th Precinct virtually depleted of staff. The shortage is compounded by the recent tragic loss of the 34 suspended officers' partners, who were reportedly gunned down in warehouses across the city while doing something brave.
According to internal affairs investigator Lee Birk, the officers have not filed a single police report in 10 years, routinely shoot out the tires of double-parked cars, and have punched out 232 paid police informants who, they later explained, made them "want to puke."
"They destroyed every single squad car and helicopter in the department and ruined the annual policeman's ball more than once," Birk said. "If they didn't prevent the terrorists from blowing up City Hall, they would have all been out on their collective asses."
The officers' darkest moment reportedly came in November 1992, when they shot and killed three dozen children who darted out of a dark alley holding toy guns. Following the incident, Henderson traveled to the San Pedro, CA marina where all 34 officers docked their houseboats. He found them passed out with bottles of Wild Turkey in their left hands and .44-caliber Magnum handguns in their right.
"I dragged every one of those sorry bastards into the shower myself, brewed 28 gallons of coffee, and made them drink it. By the time I was done, it was 3 a.m. and I was completely exhausted, but I got them back on the right track," Henderson said.
City Council candidate Bernard Lawry angrily condemned the rogue officers during a speech at a fundraiser at the Getty Center Monday evening.
"These men are a scourge on our society, and there is no place for this kind of behavior," Lawry said.
Seconds later, the suspended detectives burst into the room, exposed Lawry as the ringleader of an underground child prostitution ring, and escorted him to an awaiting police van in 34 pairs of handcuffs.
For their role in apprehending Lawry, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rewarded the officers with a mass promotion to police lieutenant. But in the ceremony at City Hall Tuesday, the officers all turned down their promotions by simultaneously throwing their lieutenant's bars to the ground.
"Get that damn thing out of my face," Detective Bruce Walker said as he and his 33 colleagues shoved TV news cameras out of their way. "I've got work to do."
Rampallion A ruffian or scoundrel.
"Really, when you come down to it, the crowd at Hilda Erdleigh-Quixote's bash the other night were sheer rampallions. Ruffians. Scoundrels to a man actually. I left after five minutes."
For whatever reason, liberals value how their views sound and feel over what the actual consequences of them might be. Decade after wearying decade, they look at a problem, identify a solution that sounds good if it were to work, and then refuse to look "under the hood" to actually study what happens when their dumb ideas are put to the test.
Check out this excerpt from a column on this topic. Paul Simon sounds exactly like my tenured university-professor, Lefty friend Paul, whose prescription for all of society's problems is to stick his fingers in his ears, loudly wail "La La La La La La La," and fire government money bombs at a problem if it sounds like a compassionate thing to do. Who cares what actually happens as a result? Democrats love children, our most "vulnerable" and "sweetest" of citizens, and Republicans don't really care about them, right? OK, then case closed.
The Liberal Compassion Mirage
By David Limbaugh
Friday, October 19, 2007
. . . . President Bush's veto of a proposed expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Programs.
Standing by congressional Democrats in their push to override the veto, singer Paul Simon said with earnest indignation, "The president's veto of the reauthorization of SCHIP appears to be a heartless act. I'm here today to ask those of you who supported the veto to reexamine your conscience, to find compassion in your heart for our most vulnerable and sweetest citizens, our children."
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, the compassionate Simon is obviously unaware that the matter is not as simple as merely throwing money at the problem. To quote House Minority Leader John Boehner, "There are 500,000 kids in America who are eligible for this program who have not been signed up, yet there are some 700,000 adults who are already on the program."
Simon, unlike the Democrats pulling his puppet strings, must not realize that President Bush supports a $5 billion expansion, not reduction, of the program, or that the Democrats' plan goes far beyond providing a safety net to the needy. It would allow states to make coverage available to families with incomes greater than $60,000 a year, which would entice people who can well afford private health insurance to opt for state coverage.
Is it good for the children for Democrats to exploit them as props in their quest to force socialized medicine on this nation, one incremental step at a time? Will the inevitably long waiting lines and substantially reduced quality of care be good for the children?
Why can't congressional Democrats just admit they have a soft spot for socialism: that they believe capitalism results in too much economic disparity and that government -– the Constitution be damned –- should redistribute wealth to suit their ideas of fairness? Never mind that a command-control economy results in a smaller economic pie. What matters is they care, and by gosh, they're willing to forcibly transfer other people's money to prove it. . . ."
Of all the depressing topics monitored by the Blue Grotto, none makes the Editor want to roll back and forth on a heap of broken glass, dip himself into a vat of rubbing alcohol for maximum stinging, dash across a six lane highway, and then, if still alive, fasten a cinder block to his foot and do a pencil dive into a deep body of water than the whole "university-political-correctness-indoctrination" issue.
Math classes wrestling with issues of race, class, and gender?
Colby College banning "speech that could lead to a loss of self esteem?"
The American university campus is by far the least tolerant, most Orwellian place on earth now, outside of maybe North Korea and Myanmar.
Jewish World Review
Oct. 17, 2007
By Walter Williams
The average taxpayer and parents who foot the bill know little about the rot on many college campuses. "Indoctrinate U" is a recently released documentary, written and directed by Evan Coyne Maloney, that captures the tip of a disgusting iceberg. The trailer for "Indoctrinate U" can be seen at www.onthefencefilms.com/movies.html.
"Indoctrinate U" starts out with an interview of Professor David Clemens, at Monterey Peninsula College, who reads an administrative directive regarding new course proposals: "Include a description of how course topics are treated to develop a knowledge and understanding of race, class, and gender issues." Clemens is fighting the directive, which applies not to just sociology classes but math, physics, ornamental horticulture and other classes whose subject material has nothing to do with race, class and gender issues.
Professor Noel Ignatiev, of the Massachusetts School of Art, explains that his concern is to do away with whiteness. Why? "Because whiteness is a form of racial oppression." Ignatiev adds, "There cannot be a white race without the phenomenon of white supremacy." What's blackness? According to Ignatiev, "Blackness is an identity that can be plausibly argued to arise out of a resistance to oppression." Bucknell professor Geoff Schneider agrees, saying, "A lot of our students, I think, are unconsciously racist." Both Ignatiev and Schneider are white.
The College of William & Mary and Tufts and Brown universities established racially segregated student orientations. At some universities, students are provided with racially segregated housing, and at others they are treated to racially separate graduation ceremonies.
Under the ruse of ending harassment, a number of universities have established speech codes. Bowdoin College has banned jokes and stories "experienced by others as harassing." Brown University has banned "verbal behavior" that "produces feelings of impotence, anger or disenfranchisement" whether "unintentional or intentional." University of Connecticut has outlawed "inappropriately directed laughter." Colby College has banned any speech that could lead to a loss of self-esteem. "Suggestive looks" are banned at Bryn Mawr College and "unwelcomed flirtations" at Haverford College. Fortunately for students, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has waged a successful war against such speech codes.
Central Connecticut State College set up a panel to discuss slavery reparations. All seven speakers, invited by the school, supported the idea. Professor Jay Bergman questioned the lack of diversity on the panel. In response, two members of the African Studies department published a letter criticizing Bergman, saying, "The protests against reparations stand on the same platform that produced apartheid, Hitler and the KKK." Such a response, as Professor Bergman says, is nothing less than intellectual thuggery.
For universities such as Columbia and Yale, military recruiters are unwelcome, but they welcome terrorists such as Columbia University's invitation to Colonel Mohammar Quadaffi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yale admitted former Taliban spokesman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi as a student, despite his fourth-grade education and high school equivalency degree.
On other campuses, such as Lehigh, Central Michigan, Arizona, Holy Cross and California Berkeley universities, administrators banned students, staff and faculty from showing signs of patriotism after the 9/11 attacks. On some campuses, display of the American flag was banned; the pledge of allegiance and singing patriotic songs were banned out of fear of possibly offending foreign students.
Several university officials refused to be interviewed for the documentary. They wanted to keep their campus policies under wraps, not only from reporters but parents as well. When college admissions officials make their recruitment visits, they don't tell parents that their children will learn "whiteness is a form of racial oppression," or that they sponsor racially segregated orientations, dorms and graduation ceremonies. Parents and prospective students are kept in the dark.
The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (isi.org) has published "Choosing the Right College," to which I've written the introduction. The guide provides a wealth of information to help parents and students choose the right college.
Put yourself in the shoes (probably pretty low-rollin' shoes, I would think), of the Nobel committee choosing the Peace Prize winner for this year, read the following article, and then try to imagine picking Al Gore without bursting out laughing.
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Not Nobel Winners
Some nominees for next year.
Sunday, October 14, 2007 12:01 a.m.
In Olso Friday, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded to the Burmese monks whose defiance against, and brutalization at the hands of, the country's military junta in recent weeks captured the attention of the Free World.
The prize was also not awarded to Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other Zimbabwe opposition leaders who were arrested and in some cases beaten by police earlier this year while protesting peacefully against dictator Robert Mugabe.
Or to Father Nguyen Van Ly, a Catholic priest in Vietnam arrested this year and sentenced to eight years in prison for helping the pro-democracy group Block 8406.
Or to Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Uyyouni, co-founders of the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia, who are waging a modest struggle with grand ambitions to secure basic rights for women in that Muslim country.
Or to Colombian President Àlvaro Uribe, who has fought tirelessly to end the violence wrought by left-wing terrorists and drug lords in his country.
Or to Garry Kasparov and the several hundred Russians who were arrested in April, and are continually harassed, for resisting President Vladimir Putin's slide toward authoritarian rule.
Or to the people of Iraq, who bravely work to rebuild and reunite their country amid constant threats to themselves and their families from terrorists who deliberately target civilians.
Or to Presidents Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili who, despite the efforts of the Kremlin to undermine their young states, stayed true to the spirit of the peaceful "color" revolutions they led in Ukraine and Georgia and showed that democracy can put down deep roots in Russia's backyard.
Or to Britain's Tony Blair, Ireland's Bertie Ahern and the voters of Northern Ireland, who in March were able to set aside decades of hatred to establish joint Catholic-Protestant rule in Northern Ireland.
Or to thousands of Chinese bloggers who run the risk of arrest by trying to bring uncensored information to their countrymen.
Or to scholar and activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim, jailed presidential candidate Ayman Nour and other democracy campaigners in Egypt.
Or, posthumously, to lawmakers Walid Eido, Pierre Gemayel, Antoine Ghanem, Rafik Hariri, George Hawi and Gibran Tueni; journalist Samir Kassir; and other Lebanese citizens who've been assassinated since 2005 for their efforts to free their country from Syrian control.
Or to the Reverend Phillip Buck; Pastor Chun Ki Won and his organization, Durihana; Tim Peters and his Helping Hands Korea; and Liberty in North Korea, who help North Korean refugees escape to safety in free nations.
These men and women put their own lives and livelihoods at risk by working to rid the world of violence and oppression. Let us hope they survive the coming year so that the Nobel Prize Committee might consider them for the 2008 award.
Grotto Editor-in-Chief and Georgetown pal L.T. attend exciting first game of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on Friday night!
We enjoyed a nice dinner beforehand at the EMC Club, where the 2004 World Series trophy is on prominent display.
Then we wandered down to our seats behind the Indians' on-deck circle to settle in. The fans were beside themselves with excitement.
Here we are:
Josh Beckett came through, as usual:
Here's Manny, the most relaxed athlete in all of sports:
Fortunately, Indians ace C.C. Sabathia had a terrible night:
Mike Lowell, winner of Grotto's "Most Reliable RBI Machine" award:
Varitek trying to explain to the disappointing, formerly-great Gagne that the goal is to NOT load the bases every chance you get:
The Washington Times
By Barker Davis
October 14, 2007
Georgetown consummated the most impressive recruiting weekend in school history by garnering a commitment yesterday from Greg Monroe, the consensus No. 1 high school senior in the nation.
Monroe, a 6-foot-10, 225-pound power forward from metro New Orleans, was the most coveted gem among a cast of 15 blue-chip prospects who visited Georgetown this weekend in conjunction with the school's Midnight Madness festivities. Monroe was scheduled to make official visits to Texas next weekend and Duke on Oct. 28 but likely will cancel both trips in the wake of his weekend on the Hilltop.
"He sat down with his mother [yesterday] morning and told her Georgetown was where he wanted to be," said Tyron Mouzon, Monroe's coach at Helen Cox High School in Harvey, La. "He felt so comfortable up there that he committed to coach John Thompson III on the spot and said he wasn't going to take any more visits."
Each morning I dart downstairs and retrieve a little plastic bag from the front stoop that contains my Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. Last week I was tearing these excellent gazettes from their plastic baggy when a special bonus daily tumbled out:
I think I may be getting a complimentary subscription in recognition of my many years of loyal patronage to Greek diners in NYC (the Viand at 86th and Second, still the greatest diner in Manhattan, the Palace Restaurant on 57th between Park and Lex, Neil's Coffee Shop at 70th and Lex) and to Nick's Roast Beef right here on the Naath Shaah.
I wonder how many front page photos in a given year feature Greek Orthodox priests. . . . Probably more than a few.
Note: Once I finished perusing it, I gave the paper to the folks at Nick's. They laughed and told me they all get it already. Seriously.
I offer here a few selected snippets from an interview with David Harsanyi, author of Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America Into a Nation of Children.
I like the title, because if you're the type of liberal that isn't capable of reading books other than the latest Dr. Phil self-help breakthrough tome, you can still learn something by absorbing the truth of the title.
I had the opportunity within the past week to see a TV interview with an earnest, deadly-serious activist whose tobacco-executive father had died of smoking-related lung cancer. This humorless dud was explaining why he is devoting all of his time to helping enact laws where local governments ban smoking in citizens' own residences.
Zany zealots like this guy get confused when they think of broad generalities of things that are "good" and things that are "bad." Smoking, not wearing your seatbelt, drinking a handle of vodka a day, eating nothing but Big Macs (note: The Blue Grotto nominates that loser who did the documentary Super-Size Me to be launched into space), or never exercising are all things that are "bad." Agreed.
However, we live in the United States, the country to which millions upon millions of people worldwide choose to come to try to better their lives. They don't sacrifice everything to come here because they know that the government will make sure their children eat well, wear their seatbelts, or don't smoke in their homes. They come here because they know that the combination of freedom and the rule of law will give them a better shot at pursuing their dreams here than in any other country on earth. And, they are also free to make poor choices, like sitting on the couch all day, drinking a handle of vodka, and chain-smoking.
My favorite part of the following interview is the analogy to religion. Even God gives humans free will to make right choices or wrong ones! Enjoy!
Welcome to the Nanny State-- An Interview
By Bill Steigerwald
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
With his book “Nanny State,” Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi has thrown a conservative-libertarian rope around a disturbing political and cultural trend -- the nannification of America by moral busybodies and nitpicking maternalists who use government power to micromanage our personal lives and protect us from ourselves. Whether it’s outlawing trans fats in New York City or tag on school playgrounds, Harsanyi says the “nannyists” among us are not only creating a new culture of dependency on government but also eroding what’s left of our individual freedoms. I talked to the author of “Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning American Into a Nation of Children” by phone from his offices in Denver.
Q: What’s “Nanny State” about?
A: It’s about the difference between coercing someone to do the right thing and convincing them to do the right thing. In the Nanny State, we coerce them -- or the government does, at least. All these intrusions -- what we eat, what we smoke, what we watch -- one by one they don’t seem like they are much. But when you bundle them together, you have a movement, and a movement that undermines our freedoms. That’s what the book’s about. . . .
. . .
Q: What are some of your favorite examples of "Nanny State"-ism?
A: These are fun, not serious, for the most part: In New York there was a councilwoman who wanted to ban dangerously sized candy. In Chicago -- and I believe in all of Illinois -- they banned a certain kind of yo-yo because one child almost choked or hung himself, which doesn’t sound too funny; it was funnier when I wrote it, I guess. In Florida there are actually playgrounds that have “No Running” signs. These are things that just make you shake your head. In other places we have people who are advocating for regulations on food portions. So they count out the calories in a restaurant and tell you how much you could eat. And zero-tolerance laws where you can’t have a glass of wine and drive. . . .
. . .
Q: Do you take issue with things like motorcycle helmet laws and seatbelt laws, which are sort of the beginnings of the Nanny State?
A: Yes, I do. I realize the motivation behind seatbelt and helmet laws. It was the first major initiative that told people you are too stupid to take care of yourself and even if you are hurting no one else, we’ve decided you must wear seatbelts and must wear helmets. . . .
. . .
Q: Is this whole petty Nanny State thing a European thing, a socialist thing?
A: It’s a sort of socialism, a sort of collective looking out for each other. It sounds nice, like socialism does on occasion. But I think what we forget sometimes is that a little thing can lead to a big thing. Here in Colorado and elsewhere they wanted to pass “driving while distracted” laws – if you are playing with your radio, they can pull you over. Doesn’t that mean that a cop can pull you over for basically anything whenever they felt like it? They could racially profile if they felt like it. They could do anything they want. That’s what people forget: they are petty laws but in the long run they could become a very big deal.
Let me go back to the socialism thing. I tried to stay away from that, only in the sense that I didn’t want the book to become something partisan. But clearly, clearly, this is a European model we’re headed for -- and that’s a socialist model. . . .
. . . People keep giving me the example about the frog in a pot and you just keep incrementally putting up the heat and then it’s boiling and frog doesn’t even know it. I think we’re almost there. But I don’t see any stop to it, because it’s hard for a politician to get up and defend tobacco, or strippers, or drinking and all those things, even though the underlying argument obviously is freedom of choice and individual choice. But what we’re doing is creating a nation of dependents. Not just as far as welfare programs go, but as far as people believing that government should always protect them, from Katrina all the way down to a kid playing tag. And it’s dangerous. . . .
. . .
Q: Albert J. Nock once wrote that individuals lose the ability to “do the right thing” and develop good moral character if the government outlaws everything.
A: Even in religion, as far as I know, and I’m a lapsed Jew, God gives you the choice. He gives you free will to make the right choice. Without that choice, making the right choice means nothing. I’d always think back when I was writing this book, “What would Thomas Jefferson think about this? What would he think about banning happy hours at pubs? Or telling an Irish immigrant who owns a little pub somewhere that he can’t smoke a cigarette in there -- on his own property?” I think it’s an assault on the American idea. I know that sounds dramatic, because it’s such small inconveniences, but that’s what they are. And then you have to deal with the argument about externalities – “Well, if you smoke, I have to pay for your health care in the end.” Clearly, that’s a slippery slope, because then you can tell me to exercise every day. That never ends. But the more we socialize on a federal level, and clearly that’s coming with health care, then we’re all going to be collectively looking out for each other. That never ends. It’s never-ending right now, and it’s accelerating. Soon we’ll be at the Nanny State. It’s Orwellian. I know people throw around Orwell’s name a lot, but if you read “1984” the protagonist is trying to sneak a cigarette – because small things lead to big things. I think that’s the lesson there, and that’s the lesson I hope this book will convey to people. . . .
As faithful Grotto readers know, the Editorial Board dispatches affiliated operatives on a regular basis to document goings-on in the most exclusive circles of entertainment, business, politics, and sports.
I present here some photos that have ended up in the possession of the Grotto Sports Dept.
Red Sox Celebrate Division Title!
Mike Lowell pouring cocktails:
Jonathan Papelbon works the mike:
Rookie phenom Dustin Pedroia and error-free Kevin Youkilis serve up the drinks:
Josh Beckett (top) and Jason Varitek (bottom):
Clay Buckholtz takes a break from doing yardwork or operating the woodchipper to have a shot:
Alex Cora, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell:
Ace reliever Hideki Okajima deciding whether he needs to relieve himself:
Pedroia wearing his favorite Holiday Inn t-shirt:
Pedroia loves being on the Red Sox:
Varitek trying to decide between a fastball down the middle or an offspeed pitch:
These two gentlemen are the newest additions to my Monday/Wednesday night yoga class. You don't want to get stuck between these two. That sad state of affairs would make you want to spring from Chataranga, up into Crow, and into your car, where you'd jam it into drive and peel out of the yoga studio parking lot at high speed. (Note: the portly fellow on the left borrowed his wife's yoga pants)
Let's clear something up. When you hear Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or John Edwards, or Harry Reid, or Chuck Schumer, or Robert Reich, or George Clooney, or Alec Baldwin, or Katie Couric, or Paul Krugman, earnestly declare that they want growth and prosperity for America, there's a footnote that is often missed.
These liberal geniuses only want sunny economic news if produced by their own ill-conceived, deleterious, pernicious, shockingly dumb policies. It would be like only cheering for your team to win if they bunted in the winning run, rather than hit a homer.
Here's some news that, at best, found its way to the back of the section of the New York Times you use in the bottom of the hamster cage:
Here's John Edwards upon reading the good news:
And Paul Krugman:
This Onion article takes the cake. It could have been written by my family's most recent dog, Piper, an awkward, clumsy, loveable mishmash of black lab, Doberman, and Edward Gorey's Doubtful Guest. Before Piper, we had the most beautiful golden retriever ever, and I'm sure that Piper's self-esteem issues were only worsened by knowledge of this.
The Onion nails it as usual. For example: "Without lifting his head from his paws, Buster turned his eyes to the shelf above the dryer. . ." You know how dogs always do that?
March 2, 2005
KANSAS CITY, MO — Although those close to Buster characterize him as a good boy, the area collie-rottweiler mix reported Monday that he will never live up to the standard set by the show-quality golden retriever on the Purina Dog Chow bag.
Buster eyes the competition.
"I try as hard as I can," said Buster, lying on his blanket in the entryway of the Hopkins-family home. "I welcome [Buster's owner] Gerald [Hopkins] home every night with lots and lots of barks and leaps. And when he sits down in his chair to read, I lie quietly at his feet. Still, when I see that dog on the Dog Chow bag, I feel like I'm nothing."
Without lifting his head from his paws, Buster turned his eyes to the shelf above the dryer, where the trim and muscular golden retriever on the 40-pound bag of Purina Dog Chow bounded across a green lawn.
According to Buster, the dog is almost certainly American Kennel Club-certified.
"Look at that coat," Buster said. "Thick and soft... And his color! Varying shades of rich and lustrous gold. As for me, I'm sort of a rough, dull black, and I know it. I've known it since I figured out that the strange, scentless dog in the mirror is me. Ever since then...well, I try my best not to whine, but it's hard to live with the fact that I will never measure up."
"It didn't take two vets to piece together what breed that dog was," Buster added.
Buster admitted that not one member of the Hopkins family has ever compared him unfavorably to the dog on the food bag.
"But I know what they must be thinking," Buster said, baring his teeth to reveal two misaligned incisors. "Just look at this messed-up bite. The kids hug me when they feed me, but over their shoulders, I can see Golden Boy over there, staring down at me from the Purina bag."
Buster said his worst days are those when a family member forgets to return the Purina bag back to the shelf after feeding him.
"Oh, I go positively crazy," Buster said, pausing to gnaw a spot on his left hindquarter. "He's right there, staring me down, eye to eye, all day long. The only way I can get away from his strong nose and bright eyes is to put my own head in the bag. And, you know how it is, once you smell the kibble, you can't help but eat all of it... And then there's no question about it: I'm the worse dog."
Added Buster: "No, the dog on that bag would never eat himself sick and then make a mess on the floor."
Buster noted the gracefulness of the golden retriever's movements.
"Aw Jeez, look at him go," Buster said. "I can't even shamble up the stairs without tripping. That dog looks so confident and intelligent. Meanwhile, I still fall for the old fake stick toss half the time."
A fit, attractive woman in her 30s accompanies the golden retriever on the Dog Chow bag. According to Buster, the tall, upright-walking woman looks uncannily like his owner's wife.
"I look at the bag, and I think, 'That looks like Susan, all right, but that dog sure doesn't look like me,'" said Buster, a hint of a growl in his throat. "I have to wonder if Susan sees the bag and thinks the same thing. When we're out on walks, is she embarrassed to be seen with me?"
"I love my human family with all my heart," Buster added. "They deserve the dog from that bag."
Elaine Thannum, a noted animal behaviorist and author of The Breeding Myth, said that idealized media images contribute to self-esteem problems among pets.
"Unfortunately, the inadequacy Buster is feeling is common among normal, everyday dogs," Thannum said. "No matter how much their families love them, regular dogs can't help but be affected by the unrealistic images shoved down their throats by dog-food companies like Purina, Cycle, and Iams. Dogs like Buster need to understand that if they were to meet the supposedly perfect animals they see on the food bag, they'd see and smell dogs with a lot of the same problems they have."
Los Angeles-based purebred Troubadour's Golden Dawn appears on millions of Purina Dog Chow bags, as well as a Clarinex print ad and packages of Nylabone chew toys.
"Let me tell you, it is not easy being me," Troubadour's Golden Dawn said. "Do you know what it's like to have judges and photographers poking and prodding you all day long? What I wouldn't give to have a fun, playful family. I'd roll over and play dead to be able to eat Purina-brand Dog Chow, instead of that all-natural, vitamin-flavored concoction I have to choke down."
"And believe me," the 3-year-old golden retriever added, "you don't want to get me started about what it feels like to have to compete for jobs with that nippy little blond bitch on the Puppy Chow bag."
Mssrs. T. Brown and J. Falvey settled comfortably into their high-rolling seats yesterday in Anaheim to watch Big Papi and Manny homer back-to-back in the 4th to start an avalanche of runs.
Here are the photos submitted to the Grotto's Sports Department:
J. Falvey and T. Brown:
Check out this excellent column about a new World Bank study (believe it or not. . .) that attempts to quantify the value of various intangible factors to economic development, prosperity, and productivity.
It should be required reading for all people who believe that the prosperity game is played by either distributing or redistributing existing wealth, or by adjusting the government's "money hose" from "Deluge" to "Drencher" to "Tsunami."
The next time Bono makes a splashy plea (let's run with the water metaphor, shall we?) for more economic aid to Africa, readers of this column will be able to stand up and say "Hold the phone, Mr. Self-Inflating Airbag!" Before cutting checks, how about reviewing and stopping to think about things like "efficient judicial systems, clear property rights and effective government."
The rule of law is the favorite intangible factor of the Grotto. What does it do to the entrepreneurial spirit if the law is an ever-changing lever of social engineering? How would you feel if you had to take your best idea and try to make it work in Venezuela? Pretty nervous, and a little less enthusiastic about the whole thing, I would guess.
Well, here's the column:
The Secrets of Intangible Wealth
By Ronald Bailey
September 29, 2007
A Mexican migrant to the U.S. is five times more productive than one who stays home. Why is that?
The answer is not the obvious one: This country has more machinery or tools or natural resources. Instead, according to some remarkable but largely ignored research -- by the World Bank, of all places -- it is because the average American has access to over $418,000 in intangible wealth, while the stay-at-home Mexican's intangible wealth is just $34,000.
But what is intangible wealth, and how on earth is it measured? And what does it mean for the world's people -- poor and rich? That's where the story gets even more interesting.
Two years ago the World Bank's environmental economics department set out to assess the relative contributions of various kinds of capital to economic development. Its study, "Where is the Wealth of Nations?: Measuring Capital for the 21st Century," began by defining natural capital as the sum of nonrenewable resources (including oil, natural gas, coal and mineral resources), cropland, pasture land, forested areas and protected areas. Produced, or built, capital is what many of us think of when we think of capital: the sum of machinery, equipment, and structures (including infrastructure) and urban land.
But once the value of all these are added up, the economists found something big was still missing: the vast majority of world's wealth! If one simply adds up the current value of a country's natural resources and produced, or built, capital, there's no way that can account for that country's level of income.
The rest is the result of "intangible" factors -- such as the trust among people in a society, an efficient judicial system, clear property rights and effective government. All this intangible capital also boosts the productivity of labor and results in higher total wealth. In fact, the World Bank finds, "Human capital and the value of institutions (as measured by rule of law) constitute the largest share of wealth in virtually all countries."
Once one takes into account all of the world's natural resources and produced capital, 80% of the wealth of rich countries and 60% of the wealth of poor countries is of this intangible type. The bottom line: "Rich countries are largely rich because of the skills of their populations and the quality of the institutions supporting economic activity."
What the World Bank economists have brilliantly done is quantify the intangible value of education and social institutions. According to their regression analyses, for example, the rule of law explains 57% of countries' intangible capital. Education accounts for 36%.
The rule-of-law index was devised using several hundred individual variables measuring perceptions of governance, drawn from 25 separate data sources constructed by 18 different organizations. The latter include civil society groups (Freedom House), political and business risk-rating agencies (Economist Intelligence Unit) and think tanks (International Budget Project Open Budget Index).
Switzerland scores 99.5 out of 100 on the rule-of-law index and the U.S. hits 91.8. By contrast, Nigeria's score is a pitiful 5.8; Burundi's 4.3; and Ethiopia's 16.4. The members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- 30 wealthy developed countries -- have an average score of 90, while sub-Saharan Africa's is a dismal 28.
The natural wealth in rich countries like the U.S. is a tiny proportion of their overall wealth -- typically 1% to 3% -- yet they derive more value from what they have. Cropland, pastures and forests are more valuable in rich countries because they can be combined with other capital like machinery and strong property rights to produce more value. Machinery, buildings, roads and so forth account for 17% of the rich countries' total wealth.
Overall, the average per capita wealth in the rich Organization for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) countries is $440,000, consisting of $10,000 in natural capital, $76,000 in produced capital, and a whopping $354,000 in intangible capital. (Switzerland has the highest per capita wealth, at $648,000. The U.S. is fourth at $513,000.)
By comparison, the World Bank study finds that total wealth for the low income countries averages $7,216 per person. That consists of $2,075 in natural capital, $1,150 in produced capital and $3,991 in intangible capital. The countries with the lowest per capita wealth are Ethiopia ($1,965), Nigeria ($2,748), and Burundi ($2,859).
In fact, some countries are so badly run, that they actually have negative intangible capital. Through rampant corruption and failing school systems, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are destroying their intangible capital and ensuring that their people will be poorer in the future.
In the U.S., according to the World Bank study, natural capital is $15,000 per person, produced capital is $80,000 and intangible capital is $418,000. And thus, considering common measure used to compare countries, its annual purchasing power parity GDP per capita is $43,800. By contrast, oil-rich Mexico's total natural capital per person is $8,500 ($6,000 due to oil), produced capital is $19,000 and intangible capita is $34,500 -- a total of $62,000 per person. Yet its GDP per capita is $10,700. When a Mexican, or for that matter, a South Asian or African, walks across our border, they gain immediate access to intangible capital worth $418,000 per person. Who wouldn't walk across the border in such circumstances?
The World Bank study bolsters the deep insights of the late development economist Peter Bauer. In his brilliant 1972 book "Dissent on Development," Bauer wrote: "If all conditions for development other than capital are present, capital will soon be generated locally or will be available . . . from abroad. . . . If, however, the conditions for development are not present, then aid . . . will be necessarily unproductive and therefore ineffective. Thus, if the mainsprings of development are present, material progress will occur even without foreign aid. If they are absent, it will not occur even with aid."
The World Bank's pathbreaking "Where is the Wealth of Nations?" convincingly demonstrates that the "mainsprings of development" are the rule of law and a good school system. The big question that its researchers don't answer is: How can the people of the developing world rid themselves of the kleptocrats who loot their countries and keep them poor?
Mr. Bailey is Reason magazine's science correspondent.
Here are a couple of high-value photos snapped this past summer out on Shelter Island by Grotto friend HWE III.
After a healthy breakfast and reading six or eight different newspapers, Amo likes to get a little exercise:
Then, after a late-afternoon nap, it's time to hit the town for a party, oftentimes in costume:
Sam, shoplifting seagull
A seagull in Scotland has developed the habit of stealing chips from a neighborhood shop.
The seagull waits until the shopkeeper isn't looking, and then walks into the store and grabs a snack-size bag of cheese Doritos.
Once outside, the bag gets ripped open and shared by other birds.
The seagull's shoplifting started early this month when he first swooped into the store in Aberdeen, Scotland, and helped himself to a bag of chips. Since then, he's become a regular. He always takes the same type of chips.
Customers have begun paying for the seagull's stolen bags of chips because they think it's so funny.
October 5, 2007
WALDEN, TN — While family members stood silently by and did nothing, visiting aunt Debbie Koeler proclaimed her desire to consume the "tiny little toesies" of her nephew Daniel, a powerless infant less than one-fifth her size, after the child's christening Sunday.
"Who's my little sugar pie? I could just eat you right up," Koeler threatened as she held the vulnerable child above her cavernous mouth and simulated the impending act of cannibalism on his tiny, dangling legs. "I've gotcha! I've gotcha! Yes I do! Yes I do!"
Koeler then returned the confused and speechless newborn to the bouncy seat, prodded his abdomen, and disappeared behind her own hands.