Commentary

Blowing second-hand smoke

February 7, 2013
posted by

David Friedman Ideas
by David Friedman  

"My university is considering a campus-wide smoking ban, justified in part by the claim that second hand smoke kills more than fifty thousand people a year. I am generally suspicious of claims of that sort, so have been trying to explore that one. It turns out that it is a misstatement of a claim in a 2005 report from the California EPA. In that report 50,000 is the midpoint of a range of possible values. In the justification for the proposed ban, it has been converted to a lower bound. More interesting is the question of where the number comes from." (02/06/13)

http://tinyurl.com/9wjkhnj  

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Toward the world of nightmare, part 1

February 7, 2013
posted by

The Power of Narrative
by Arthur Silber  

"As the Murder Program became more significant in the Obama administration's plans, the administration arranged for stories to be published in major newspapers describing the Program -- primarily to find out what the public reaction would be. In this way, the administration could more accurately judge what else they could get away with. ... As we now know, there was almost no reaction at all. Almost no one cared." (02/06/13)

http://tinyurl.com/b83x7lp  

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Pledge wrestling

February 7, 2013
posted by

Idaho Liberty
by Ted Dunlap  

"Much like steer wrestling in a rodeo, we each decide what we can say in certain audiences and what we must keep to ourselves. I suspect my wrestling events are bigger than most. Maybe mine can be like steer wrestling while others thumb wrestle, if they wrestle at all. Quite a bit of what is in my head, much of what drives me, most of what I do for my community is comprehended by only a small percentage of the crowd." (02/06/13)

http://www.idaholiberty.com/?p=2439  

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Mickelson Shrugged

February 7, 2013
posted by

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J Taylor  

"Think of it! Nearly two thirds of this successful individual’s annual income is being looted by federal state and local governments. He’s not even allowed to keep half his earned income from the grasp of the greedy parasites who contribute nothing to society all the while enforcing their thievery against innocent contributors at the point of a gun. It’s like an ugly slimy tapeworm living unseen inside his digestive system sucking 63% of the life giving nourishment he takes in. Why would any intelligent person tolerate that?" (02/07/13)

http://authoritycon.blogspot.com/2013/02/mickelson-shrugged.html  

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Why idealists are not flummoxed by perceptual errors, hallucinations, and so on

February 7, 2013
posted by

Gene Callahan La Bocca della Verita
by Gene Callahan  

"In the comment section of another post, Hume worries how idealism can survive an encounter with illusions, perceptual errors, hallucinations, the movement of the earth despite its apparent lack of movement, and so on. The idea seems to be that we need some reality independent of experience to correct these errors." (02/07/13)

http://tinyurl.com/bcczp2r  

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Where success comes before work

February 7, 2013
posted by

Show-Me Institute Show-Me Institute
by Kacie Galbraith  

"Helping entrepreneurs is indeed a noble pursuit, as they help our economy grow. But I find it inconsistent to be a strong supporter of entrepreneurs, yet act in a way that violates the true spirit of entrepreneurship. What sort of example would this publicly funded 'entrepreneurial theme park' be setting for the entrepreneurs The Conflux intends to help? This is a clear indication that our society continues to become more reliant on government assistance every day. Why else would a man who so ardently supports entrepreneurship insist that his nonprofit can only work if it has government support?" (02/06/13)

http://tinyurl.com/bjq7tvg  

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Jerry Velona song: “Bureau of Whatever” or “Bureau of WTF?”

February 7, 2013
posted by

Garry Reed Libertarian News Examiner
by Garry Reed  

"With its clever, intelligently-crafted lyrics ('She gives me sweet direction in that NPR tone' speaks paragraphs by itself) libertarians should love the Bureau of Whatever in its depiction of what can only be called an archetypal government Department of Dependency where welfare-wallowers and career cubicle clerks become locked in lifelong destructive parasitical symbiosis. What many libertarians won't like however is Velona's libertarian/conservatism, which seems to have lost the part in front of the slash mark from two years ago." (02/06/13)

http://tinyurl.com/atxmoou  

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Repeal the 17th Amendment

February 7, 2013
posted by

Randall Holcombe Independent Institute
by Randall Holcombe  

"For most of the nation’s history, until the passage of the 17th Amendment, senators were chosen by their state legislatures, which meant that the Senate represented the interests of the state governments. There is a solid rationale for this in a federal system of government. Legislation must be approved by both the House and the Senate, which meant, prior to the 17th Amendment, that legislation had to be approved by the representatives of the people, in the House, and the representatives of the state governments, in the Senate. This was a more substantial barrier to the passage of legislation than after the 17th Amendment, when both the House and the Senate represent the same constituencies." (02/06/13)

http://blog.independent.org/2013/02/06/repeal-the-17th-amendment/  

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Power and the corruption of the mind

February 7, 2013
posted by

Independent Country
by James Leroy Wilson  

"While the Israel Lobby is powerful in Washington, that's only because members of Congress want it to be. It's a matter of conviction. Nobody's going to suddenly become 'pro-Israel' because of a campaign contribution. And that's probably the problem. Too often we blame lobbyists and campaign contributions for the dysfunction in DC. But members of Congress don't usually switch positions on a dime, or for a dime. They are more heavily influenced by interest groups to whom they're already sympathetic." (02/06/13)

http://tinyurl.com/blxqxxh  

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There’ll be no transparency in the NHS while the lawyers circle above

February 7, 2013
posted by

Adam Smith Institute Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Ambler  

"Complain about anything in an NHS hospital and you will face a wall of unknowing. Not sympathy, not a recognition of the mistake and certainly not an apology. This has nothing to do with a lack of care or humanity by NHS staff and everything to do with the scale of legal costs and fines faced by the NHS. The sums are now huge (£15bn in 2010 according to the Daily Telegraph, 3rd August) and rising fast, thus draining the funds that should be spent on front line care." (02/06/13)

http://tinyurl.com/aqv3cst  

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A potential winning issue for the GOP on the nanny-state front?

February 7, 2013
posted by

Thomas L. Knapp Libertarian Republican
by Thomas L. Knapp  

"A couple of years ago, the FDA tried to outlaw electronic cigarettes under its authority to regulate medical equipment and 'drug delivery systems.' A court overruled them, and said if they were going to regulate e-cigs, they would have to do so under their authority to regulate 'tobacco products.' Effective in April, they intend to do just that." (02/07/13)

http://tinyurl.com/a2e4643  

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Drone policy must include checks and balances

February 7, 2013
posted by

Cato Institute Cato Institute
by Benjamin H. Friedman  

"The question -- whether Obama has gone too far in his drone policy -- has the wrong subject. By assuming that the policy is Obama’s, we endorse the imperial presidency so bolstered lately by fear of terrorists. In a democracy where presidents administer laws passed by Congress, drone policies are ours. And Obama has gone too far in exercising war powers because Congress let him. Asking if Obama has gone too far in his drone policy is sort of like asking if eternity is too long or hell too hot." (02/06/13)

http://tinyurl.com/a238cnh  

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Is that a government purchase or a transfer payment?

February 7, 2013
posted by

EconLog EconLog
by Garett Jones  

"This is a big distinction in national income accounting: Is that dollar of government spending a "purchase" of valuable output or a mere 'transfer payment' -- a check with few strings attached? That's an economic question -- a question of benefits and costs. It's no mere question of accounting -- of orderly arithmetic. And it's an economic question that matters: The first kind shows up directly in GDP while the second does not show up directly (though of course either can show up later when spent on consumer or capital goods)." (02/07/13)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2013/02/is_that_a_gover.html  

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Arrogance of power

February 6, 2013
posted by

Tibor R. Machan A Passion for Liberty
by Tibor R. Machan  

"Just how utterly reliant on sheer power is President Obama can be appreciated from the fact that no one in his administration bothers to defend his policy of confiscating people’s resources. Apart from calling upon the phony support of a few super rich folks like Warren Buffet -- who, I understand, is by no means offering his own wealth up for use by Mr. Obama (instead engaging in customary dodging and weaving, not paying up) -- no argument has been put forth by the administration for the progressive tax policy it relies upon. Merely declaring that the very wealthy 'may be asked' to contribute a higher percentage of their belongings isn’t an argument, merely a dishonest dogma." (02/05/13)

http://tibormachan.rationalreview.com/2013/02/arrogance-of-power/  

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The relentless march of the US police state

February 6, 2013
posted by

Robert Higgs Independent Institute
by Robert Higgs  

"Each day, the U.S. police state grows larger, more powerful, more pervasive, and more menacing. When will the majority awaken to the realization that this threat has nothing to do with party politics, that it makes no difference whether a Republican or a Democrat occupies the presidency while our freedoms are demolished?" (02/04/13)

http://tinyurl.com/begpw72  

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Chuck Hagel’s farcical hearings

February 6, 2013
posted by

Gene Healy Cato Institute
by Gene Healy  

"Last week’s confirmation hearing for Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel made clear it’s past time to retire that hackneyed phrase 'World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.' Eight hours of questioning by the Senate Armed Services Committee allowed plenty of bloviating, grandstanding and browbeating -- but, apparently, not enough time for serious deliberation over key policy questions facing any new Pentagon chief." (02/05/13)

http://tinyurl.com/a2g2h3p  

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Is America a police state yet?

February 6, 2013
posted by

Wendy Mcelroy The Dollar Vigilante
by Wendy McElroy  

"If you need to ask the question, then the answer is 'yes.' But that is a glib response and I do not feel glib about America's slide through the nine rings of political hell." (02/05/13)

http://tinyurl.com/axlrsmv  

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The state agencies undermining agency

February 6, 2013
posted by

Spiked
by Ken McLaughlin  

"New UK safeguarding legislation is set to make it easier still for the authorities to enter people’s homes." (02/06/13)

http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/13324/  

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Crossovers

February 6, 2013
posted by

Living Freedom
by Claire Wolfe  

"During yesterday’s WRSA roundtable, I noted that there’s a lot of crossover of interests between gun owners and hackers, and that similar crossovers could lead to surprising freedom alliances (or at least complementary efforts)." (02/06/13)

http://www.backwoodshome.com/blogs/ClaireWolfe/2013/02/06/crossovers/  

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Titles of nobility

February 6, 2013
posted by

Strike the Root
by Paul Hein  

"A question frequently asked, and one which has often troubled me, goes like this: the state is corrupt, rights are ignored or denied; justice cannot be found. But what can I do about it?" (02/06/13)

http://www.strike-the-root.com/titles-of-nobility  

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Your letter could save a boy’s life

February 6, 2013
posted by

Downsize DC Downsize DC
by Jim Babka  

"Eight-year-old John Owen Dumm suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The disease has already taken a toll on him and may kill him if it remains untreated. Fortunately, a treatment now exists ... The drug is called Eteplirsen. Several tests have shown it to be safe and effective. But it hasn't yet run the entire FDA gauntlet, so it remains unavailable to John Owen Dumm. Sadly, this is an old problem. Untold numbers have died while waiting for the FDA to approve treatments. We are fighting this." (02/05/13)

http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/your-letter-could-save-a-boys-life  

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Review: Django Unchained

February 6, 2013
posted by

Libertarian Alliance Libertarian Alliance
by Robert Henderson  

"Even by Tarantino’s standards this is an extraordinarily self-indulgent film, both in terms of his fixation with disproportionate violence only tenuously related to plot and with his one-dimensional representation of slavery." (02/05/13)

http://tinyurl.com/abw822a  

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Why are we in the mess we’re in? [update]

February 6, 2013
posted by

Bruce McQuain QandO
by Bruce McQuain  

"The fact of the matter is that both Social Security and Medicare are based in flawed models. The original models saw the base of the those paying into the system remaining constant, despite the 'general rule that people tend to have fewer babies as their societies become more affluent and urbanized.' The numbers don’t lie." (02/05/13)

http://www.qando.net/?p=14758  

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Property rights are conventional, so libertarianism is false? A reply to Philip Pettit

February 6, 2013
posted by

kevinvallier Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Kevin Vallier  

"Pettit thinks that libertarianism cannot survive the recognition that ownership is a conventional relation. On Pettit’s view, libertarians believe that moral facts about ownership wear themselves on their sleeves. That is, anyone can understand who owns what apart from the background legal conventions and government rules that always and everywhere accompany them. Pettit thinks that when libertarians come to terms with this fact, they no longer get to claim that the market is a zone of self-governing, natural freedom and that government intervention merely 'warps it.'" (02/05/13)

http://tinyurl.com/b5mq8v4  

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Hooray for our side!

February 6, 2013
posted by

Kent McManigal Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog
by Kent McManigal  

"I would be living a very different life had I been born in the Australian Outback, without electricity or abundant food and water, rather than in the 'American Outback' where those things are currently common. I can't begin to pretend that there is some property of 'me' that would have the same skills and use the same technology and have the same opportunities no matter where I happened to be born and grow." (02/05/13)

http://blog.kentforliberty.com/2013/02/hooray-for-our-side.html  

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