laugh, or you'll cry

Friday, February 27, 2004

The consequences of excessive regulation

The europeans are learning a hard economic lesson.


This month's vote by Members of the European Parliament to abolish any remaining opt outs to the so-called Working Time Directive presents the EU with another clear-cut decision: should it exist to promote its idea of a social model or instead be a driving force in the global economy.

At the time the directive became law, in 1993, the UK government argued that limiting workers to 48 hours per week would make the labor market too rigid and damage economic performance. It won a special opt out from this regulation, giving employers in the UK the right to ask workers to work longer. The vote by the Parliament this month would end the UK's exemption.

A decade after the Directive went into effect, with the European Commission considering a redrafting of the law, other nations are looking for a similar escape clause. Countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands, who often defend their elaborate social protections to the hilt, are now attempting to negotiate opt outs and want their health workers to be exempt from the directive. Luxembourg wants an opt out for the hotel trade.

After a European Court of Justice ruling last September, German health experts said that limiting doctors' working time to 48 hours per week would cost an extra €1 billion a year as they would have to hire an extra 15,000 doctors. Needless to say, this is a heavy cost to bear when the government is busy trying to cut spending and reinvigorate the economy.

....And while the Commission studies new ways to impose limits on the hours people work there are moves by Spain, Italy and Ireland also to seek opt outs. The major economies of Europe consider labor market reform as key to either ensuring credible economic growth over the medium term or, in the UK's case, maintaining a regulatory system that has allowed its economy to grow at trend rate (2.5 percent) or above for the past ten years.

Ironically, further plans by Brussels to restrict working hours will prove unpopular with the workers whose interests those in the Parliament and the Commission claim to be defending. Former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's vaunted proposal for a 35-hour workweek was disastrous, and hurt even Socialist Party members seeking to earn a little overtime. It cost Jospin lost vital votes in the 2002 election; it helped to end his political career; and sent his party into political oblivion from which it still struggles to return.

OHHHHHH.....that Israeli/Palestinian conflict

Jonathan Rauch is apparently the only American journalist aware of the fact that Ariel Sharon isn't sitting at home watching CNN's coverage of Desert Storm Redux all day long. Seems he is actually quite active and up to something.
PIRG this

Ralph Nader is a lying hypocrite.

DUH!, you say. But I felt it was worth repeating.

Radley Balko introduced me to the concept of PIRG's, and to his blog, from this article.


And Ralph Nader would like to thank you for your support.

Yes, the same man who rails against corporate welfare - because it coercively takes money from taxpayers and funnels it to corporations - has set up a rather ingenious, if underhanded and manipulative, way of coercively taking money from college kids - and funneling it to Ralph Nader.

The PIRG scam is short for "Public Interest Research Group," and there are well over a hundred chapters of the organization spread out across the country. The scams vary from campus to campus, but it basically works like this:

Each time your kid registers for classes, the local PIRG chapter has arranged with the school to tack a fee on to his/her tuition. On most every campus, the PIRG chapter has made attempts to make this "contribution" as secretive and misleading as possible. Just how secretive and manipulative the method depends on how much resistance each chapter has met in trying to get the scheme implemented. At most schools, they first attempt to make the fee both mandatory and nonrefundable. If that doesn't work, they lobby for as underhanded and sneaky a scheme as the school will allow.

This has been going on for twenty-five years.


David Bieto has more.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Til I'm blue in the face

Tom Friedman on outsourcing


So when I came to the 24/7 Customer call center in Bangalore to observe hundreds of Indian young people doing service jobs via long distance — answering the phones for U.S. firms, providing technical support for U.S. computer giants or selling credit cards for global banks — I was prepared to denounce the whole thing. "How can it be good for America to have all these Indians doing our white-collar jobs?" I asked 24/7's founder, S. Nagarajan.

Well, he answered patiently, "look around this office." All the computers are from Compaq. The basic software is from Microsoft. The phones are from Lucent. The air-conditioning is by Carrier, and even the bottled water is by Coke, because when it comes to drinking water in India, people want a trusted brand. On top of all this, says Mr. Nagarajan, 90 percent of the shares in 24/7 are owned by U.S. investors. This explains why, although the U.S. has lost some service jobs to India, total exports from U.S. companies to India have grown from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $4.1 billion in 2002. What goes around comes around, and also benefits Americans.


Monday, February 23, 2004

Mea Culpa

I totally misunderstood, as apparently many other people did, Virginia Postrels NYTM article from February 22, which I posted about here.

Danial Drezner has a lengthy summary.

Brad Delong counters Virgnia's bean counting, who explains herself here and here.
"I think that Ralph Nader is proving that the only master that he serves is his enormous ego,"

said Scott Maddox, chairman of the Democratic Party in Florida.

I have a couple of thoughts on Nader's run:

1] His ego really is that big.

2] I predict that if the election is as close as it looks to be and Bush wins again, it will be the end of Nader's career as a respected leftist within leftist circles. He'll be marginalized and fade away as a prominent public figure.

That thought is almost appealing enough to make me vote for Bush.

3] I hope he'll expose once again how unfair ballot access laws are in this country. The fact that he'll have to enlist thousands of volunteers to collect enough signatures just to get on the ballot, not to mention the fees, is anti-liberty enough but on top of that he'll have to battle the Democrats who have pledged to use the courts to keep him off the ballot in key states.

That's freedom? That's the freedom the Democrats [and Republicans if the roles were reversed] believe in? Preventing a citizen from running for president if he or she so chooses? John Kerry and John Edwards believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness so much that they'll go to court to take it away from individuals who attempt to pursue their constitutional right?

4] Given comment #3, I wish Ralph the best even though his presidential platform is at least as anti-freedom as either of the major party's.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Where have all the jobs gone?

They're there, says Virgina Postrel, its just that the government doesn't know how to find or count them.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear the usual negative and conflicting information about the economy.

via ALDaily

Friday, February 20, 2004

Valentine's Day, that Great State Holiday

Because I've done nothing but attack the Left lately, I thought I'd even things out and give everyone a lil' chuckle to take into the weekend....

By Bill Maher

NEW RULE: You can't claim you're the party of smaller government, and then clamor to make laws about love. If there's one area I don't want the US government to add to its list of screw-ups, it's love.

On the occasion of this Valentine's Day, let's stop and ask ourselves: What business is it of the state how consenting adults choose to pair off, share expenses, and eventually stop having sex with each other?

And why does the Bush administration want a constitutional amendment about weddings? Hey, birthdays are important, too why not include them in the great document? Let's make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake – you know, to send the right message to kids.

Republicans are always saying we should privatize things, like schools, prison, Social Security – OK, so how about we privatize privacy? If the government forbids gay men from tying the knot, what's their alternative? They can't all marry Liza Minnelli.

Republicans used to be the party that opposed social engineering, but now they push programs to outlaw marriage for some people, and encourage it for others. If you're straight, there's a billion-five in the budget to encourage and promote marriage – including seed money to pay an old Jewish woman to call up people at random and say "So why aren't you married, Mr.Big Shot?"

But when it comes to homosexuals, Republicans sing "I Love You Just the Way you oghta Be." They oppose gay marriage because it threatens or mocks – or does something – to the "sanctity of marriage," as if anything you can do drunk out of your mind in front of an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas could be considered sacred. Half the people who pledge eternal love are doing it because one of them is either knocked-up, rich or desperate, but in George Bush's mind, marriage is only a beautiful lifetime bond of love and sharing – kind of like what his Dad has with the Saudis.

But at least the right wing aren't hypocrites on this issue – they really believe that homosexuality, because it says so in the Bible, is an "abomination" and a "dysfunction" that's "curable": they believe that if a gay man just devotes his life to Jesus, he'll stop being gay – because the theory worked out so well with the Catholic priests.

But the greater shame in this story goes to the Democrats, because they don't believe homosexuality is an "abomination," and therefore their refusal to endorse gay marriage is a hypocrisy. The right are true believers, but the Democrats are merely pretending that they believe gays are not entitled to the same state-sanctioned misery as the rest of us. The Democrats' position doesn't come from the Bible, it's ripped right from the latest poll, which says that most Americans are against gay marriage.

Well, you know what: Sometimes "most Americans" are wrong. Where's the Democrat who will stand up and go beyond the half measures of "civil union" and "hate the sin, love the sinner," and say loud and clear: 'There IS no sin, and homosexuality is NOT an abomination' – although that Boy George musical Rosie O'Donnell put on comes close. The only thing abominable about being gay is the amount of time you have to put in at the gym.

But that aside, the law in this country should reflect that some people are just born 100 percent outrageously, fabulously, undeniably Fire Island gay, and that they don't need re-programming. They need a man with a slow hand.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Google this

While the hounds still salivate over Google going public any day now, it might be wise to sit back and wait to see what the competition can do.

Mooter is up and running, albeit still in Beta stage, and Dipsie is coming to a computer near you this summer.

And don't forget the 500 pound gorilla as they say.

via MR

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Fisking 101

The Case Against Efficiency
Bumper Sticker

I actually wish he would put off the inevitable so I could buy one of these to display.

Monday, February 16, 2004



"The New phone number rules that allow you to keep your phone number when you switch carriers has given rise to phone nascent number property rights. On E-bay you can bid on 867-5309 (made famous by Tommy Tutone's Jenny I got your number). As I write this the bid is over $8000 dollars with seven days to go. What other numbers are famous or valuable? Will we see a land rush like the internet names?"


I just checked, the bid is up to $200,100 dollars with 5 days left.
Free Trade Stump Speeches

I've heard so much from the Dems of late about free trade, especially after the Bush administration made a half-assed attempt at defending trade even when it damages sectors of our own economy, that I've decided to post a couple half-assed responses in the vein of "ha ha, you guys are A] stupid and B] hypocrites."

First, Stupid.

Enter Senator John Edwards. From Tyler Cowen -

In his stump speech, John Edwards is fond of empathizing with the plight of a 10-year old girl "somewhere in America," who goes to bed "praying that tomorrow will not be as cold as today, because she doesn't have the coat to keep her warm."

Yet, as John Tierney points out, "clothing has become so cheap and plentiful (partly because of textile imports, which Mr. Edwards has proposed to limit) that there is a glut of second-hand clothing, and consequently most clothing donated to charity is shipped abroad. The second-hand children's coats that remain in America typically sell for about $5 in thrift shops." (emphasis added)


More from the NY Times article -


"Edwards would do better to say there's a girl somewhere in America who's cold because her family can't afford to fix the furnace," said Robert E. Rector of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group, who has analyzed data from the Census Bureau and other agencies on the living standards of the poor. Since the typical American family below the poverty line has a car, air-conditioning, a microwave oven, a stereo and two color televisions with cable or satellite service, Mr. Rector said, it was implausible to assume the family could not afford coats.


[emphasis mine]

Next, hypocrite. John Kerry lives a life of luxury, writing himself 6.4 million dollar checks when campaign funds are short, thanks to marrying the Heinz 57 heiress, whose family fortune happens to own 57 factories overseas.

6.4 million dollar checks you say? There's 27 more questions where that one came from. If you can still bring yourself to vote for Kerry come November without puking you've got a stronger stomach than I.

Here's a sample from the list of questions -


You say the rich do not pay enough taxes. In 1979 the top 1 percent of earners paid 19.75 percent of income taxes. Today they pay 36.3 percent. How much is enough?


And people wonder why tax cuts supposedly only benefit the rich? [Assuming that statement is true, which it isn't, unless you consider me among the rich.] It's sorta hard to conceive of a tax cut not benefitting the rich [not just the "rich," technically considered to be any person or family making over $150,000 a year, but the richest of the rich, the top 1% of earners] when they pay more than 1/3 of all income taxes.

I realize of course that scampering away from a pro free trade platform is politically expedient especially during campaign season, but come on, at least act like you understand the issue.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Tee Hee

Several years ago, an aide walks into President Clinton's office and puts a piece of paper on his desk.

Clinton: What's this?

Aide: It's the most recent abortion bill, Mr. President.

Clinton: Sigh. Okay. Go ahead and pay it, I guess. Just make sure the media doesn't find out.

kiitos to the Agitator

Saturday, February 14, 2004

It's official

I steadfastly held that I was not truly a metrosexual because, at the very least, I do not get facials or visit spa's or use fragrant lotions.

But when I opened my Valentine's Day gift and discovered a gift certificate to Ummelina, an "international day spa" with "global remedies" I knew I was in trouble.

It then occurred to me that I had: recently doubled the amount of cologne I own, recieved multiple facials with little or no protest, and unwittingly become the owner of a bottle of organic "mixed green shampoo" whose ingredients proudly includes "cucumber, artichoke & watercress as well as extracts of Certified Organic Parsely & Alfalfa. Tossed with Certified Organic Olive Oil & Vinegar."

I already own and apply my own eyeliner on a daily basis and I'm well versed in applying nail polish and hair color.

Who am I kidding, really?

Remember that 1996 movie starring Michael Keaton? The one where he was so busy at work and home that he cloned himself so his clone could work all day and he could relax and be with his family?

I don't really either, except for when one of his clone's cloned himself resulting in the hilariously mentally challenged character known as "4."

Ok, so I'm probably the only one that remembers this. Anyway "4" was damn funny.

But that's not really my point. My point is that that was a movie.

Get it, a M-O-V-I-E. Not real. FAKE. Hollywood. Ho-lly-wood.

Stem cells on the other hand are very real and very, very valuable. They have the potential to cure disease and ease suffering on a scale not known since the invention of anti-biotics. I'm not a scientist, so for all I know the potential is even greater than that.

One could almost be forgiven for thinking that our "compassionate" president would be an active proponent of a technology that has the potential to save so many lives. But how naive of you.

Instead of being a leader in the pursuit of this life saving treatment American scientists, thanks to hand-wringing moralizers and their ilk, are leaving the country in order to avoid risking criminal charges.

Best of luck to the South Koreans.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Only in America

As if my irrational fear of take-off weren't enough to deal with at the start of each flight.

Kerry's in deep doo-doo.

via theAgitator

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Why I am not a leftist cont'd...

Andrew Sullivan gets a doozy of a quote from a Duke University professor....
When I say Reid, you say Speed....


Somebody introduce us, please.

Monday, February 09, 2004

"Equality" at all costs

At least they're consistent.
I'm so confused

Am I heteroflexible? What exactly is a "queer mindset?"

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Where is the leading edge of cool?

Gay Goth and Relax.
Security and Freedom

"...and because of this the general approval given to the demand for security may become a danger to liberty. Indeed, when security is understood in too absolute a sense, the general striving for it, far from increasing the chances of freedom, becomes the gravest threat to it."

-F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, 1944

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market

Just finished Eric Schlosser's latest book and wanted to comment specifically on one of his, yet again, misguided conclusions and on the book in general.

Overall, very good, very informative. The stories he tells of life imprisonment without parole for possession of a single marijuana joint will leave you speechless. [I've never been more proud to be a Hoosier than I was when I learned this happened in my home state] His descriptions of a day in the life of strawberry pickers in southern California will send you to the store in early February craving strawberries. And also a little saddened and disgusted.

He also somehow has a knack for turning the 2 most influential and infamous names in porn, one of which you know, the other you don't, into new personal heros for their commitment to going toe-to-toe with the FBI and "justice" department and repeatedly winning. [most of the time]

Makes me want to go find a peep booth to pump quarters into in solidarity with the late Reuben Sturman.

But after all the stories and documentation of hypocritical, destructive, and puritanical policies pursued by asshole attorneys, law enforcement officials, and politicians Schlosser somehow still manages to miss the strawberry field for the strawberries.

He is generally sound in his assessment of drug laws:

Decriminalize, Decriminalize, Decriminalize.

And of obscenity laws:

They're all fundamentalist hypocrites with no respect for the first amendment or abundant evidence flowing from Western Europe showing that leaving pornographers and consumers alone won't unravel the fabric of society and destroy all sense of civility.

Then in reference to the underground market of illegal workers he wonders blindly off a cliff.

"The passage and enforcement of strict labor laws could do more to solve the problems caused by illegal immigration than any crackdown on the border between Mexico and the United States....The legal status of workers is not of central importance - wages and working conditions are."

Where do I begin? Did he learn nothing from his investigations of the drug and sex industries? What are the results he uncovered of overly strict laws in regard to drugs and pornography?

If you haven't read the book, or other books and articles on the subject, I'll tell you. They all come to the same conclusions; these laws increase illegal activity as the risks and rewards become ever higher. They lead to more violence, more tax evasion, larger underground economies, and more exploitation.

In the quote above he is exactly wrong. The legal status of migrant workers from Mexico is of completely central importance. Let them come, give them documentation, make it easy for them to go to authorities when they're exploited and cheated. Legal status will help them organize and unionize if they wish. It will protect them from the exploitation and extortion and enslavement many of them suffer through now.

It apparently never occurs to him that if you take out the word "illegal," i.e. - make immigration simple and efficient, there will be no need for border crackdowns in the first place.

We already have strict labor laws and minimum wage laws. The problem is, as Schlosser showed in the book but apparently forgot by the end when he gave his personal opinions, that when workers are in the country illegally to begin with enforcement of these laws is nearly impossible because the workers are helpless in the face of such exploitation and don't want to risk deportment by complaining. Deportment for them is catastrophic when they depend on their income in the United States to support their families in Mexico.

Making even more laws and tougher penalties is meaningless until the workers aren't also afraid of punishment from the government. The reason the new laws and penalties are meaningless is because Schlosser himself just spent 210 pages telling you how people and corporations lie, cheat, steal, etc to get around the laws and penalties already in place. Making more isn't going to make them say, "gee, with all these new laws and punishments making my illegal activity that much more profitable, I think I'll give it all up and go legit." They're already breaking the law, they aren't going to have a sudden change of heart when a few more are added to the books.

Quote of the day

"Some of the stuff on there, I mean, even I wouldn't publish it."

Larry Flynt on the porn available for free downloading on the internet.

Friday, February 06, 2004


When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly
discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity.

To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12
billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 C.

The Russians used a pencil.

Enjoy paying your taxes this year.


I can't vouch for the 12 billion price tag and frankly I'm quite skeptical of the number. 12 million maybe. Either way, the pen invention is true and I'm sure, given NASA's history, that they spent an obscene amount of money creating it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

A=B in Politics

Chip Gibbons, via The Agitator, brings up a point, in reference to the Reason article from my previous post, that annoys me to no end. His point doesn't annoy me, the situation does. I agree with him.

You have kids, pay for them yourself, they're your responsibility.
And people wonder why I want a less powerful government?

Just cut it off and get it over with.
It's not like it's going to function after reading this anyway.
UGF's and smoke inhalation

Keeping you abreast of the President's fiscal restraint.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

web design 101

Never, ever name a file "pieceofshit" out of frustration. It will come back to haunt you.
Public Citizen or Public Deception?

Here is another reason why Ralph Nader should never be voted into a position where he could affect the US economy in any way. I suspect that rather than being completely clueless he is actually deliberately decieving people in pursuit of his own ideology.

I'll better Alex Tabarrok's challenge. Ralph can give me any amount of money he wants for 10 years for safe keeping and I'll return every penny of it plus interest at the rate of return he sees fit for drug companies.

And then retire if the principal amount is large enough.

If you want to cut drug costs, start with the 435 million spent on lobbying from 1996-2003. Then continue by asking for your tax money back that went to drug companies as subsidies, another 81 million per new drug according to Hal Pawluk.

If you can trust Hal's numbers. He does note that drug prices in the US are higher than other developed nations without mentioning the fact that those same nations have much higher tax rates in order to make up the difference between the actual drug costs and what the citizens pay. Distorting the true costs of production happens to be one of the quickest ways to grind innovation and research to a halt. That's why so much more of that innovation comes from the US.

Besides, its common knowledge that universal healthcare systems the world over are falling apart. They lack necessary equipment, drugs, and trained staff to serve everyone. Governments are going bankrupt trying to pay for the same system that turns people away or denies them treatment because none is available, resulting in Canadians coming to the US to seek the necessary treatment because offering or recieving payment for private medical services is a criminal act which can result in jail time in Canada [that's right, if you're sick you can go to jail for trying to get better through unapproved means].

Healthcare is a complex problem with no easy solution. Universal healthcare will create a whole new set of problems. It is no more a panacea than is any other proposal.

On the upside, with universal coverage we can look forward to setting new records -


A new record has been set for the UK's longest wait
on a hospital
77 hours 30 minutes.

from an adam smith institute email on 2/5/03


Further reading -

On universal healthcare

Misc. info plus some Gore bashing.

and my favorite story from the New York Times, which I'll copy and paste in its entirety here because the link is no longer available.


A Nagging Pain in Britain: How to Find a Dentist

ARMARTHEN, Wales, Aug. 7 — Nelson Kernahan, a dentist in this small Welsh-speaking town, was in his car still rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, easing himself out of his two-week vacation, when he spotted a line so long he could not pinpoint the end.
"I said this couldn't be for us — no, this couldn't be for us," said Dr. Kernahan, a 25-year-old from Belfast. "And it was. It was like a bread line."
On a rainy Monday morning two weeks ago, 600 people turned up outside Brynteg Dental Surgery, a tiny white-stucco office, to secure one of the 300 advertised appointments to see a National Health Service dentist.
Wales is so lacking in government-subsidized dental treatment that some people pitched tents overnight rather than miss a chance for a slot. Others hopped buses from 90 miles away, only to arrive too late. A few even tried to bribe their way onto the list.
"I just assumed they were giving away mobile phones," said Steve Acworth, who rode a bus for 75 minutes to reach Carmarthen. "The first person I talked to I thought was joking. Then I realized that it was absolutely serious."
Not anticipating the dental mob, Mr. Acworth, 56, arrived too late, which he said was too bad, considering he does not really have any teeth to speak of.
"My crowns all fell off," he said. "I got some really bad dentistry and it ruined all my root work. I have no front teeth and one pair of molars, which meet on the right side of my mouth. I can't bite anything."
Ever fewer British dentists are willing to endure the grueling, assembly-line work required to take part in the National Health Service.
On average, National Health Service dentists see 30 to 40 patients a day, compared with the 12 a day that dentists see in the United States.
The dentists here are paid an amount set by the Health Service for each job they perform — a filling, a root canal. They make considerably less money than private dentists, but also leave themselves open to criticism that they do unnecessary work to line their pockets.
People who seek private care must pay for it, unless they have health insurance that covers it.
Last year the Audit Commission warned that 4 of 10 dentists in England and Wales would not accept Health Service patients, and called for structural changes to the system. Dentists now earn half their income through private practice, by some analysts' estimates, more than a 40 percent increase from the numbers 10 years ago.
"If you could earn more money for seeing less patients, what would you do?" asked Mr. Kernahan, who said he saw an average of 50 patients a day. "It's hard work. You are pushing it all the time."
The situation in Carmarthen, a rural, misty outpost where the sing-song cadence of Welsh is heard as often as English, typifies a trend that is plaguing increasingly large parts of Britain, particularly in out-of-the-way places.
There are fewer dental schools in Britain than there once were, and fewer dentists are being trained. Cardiff, Wales's capital, trains only 60 a year. To make matters worse, a high percentage of dentists are nearing retirement age or have already retired. Wales has 1,000 dentists for a population of 2.9 million, and one-third are expected to retire by 2008.

As a compromise, a majority of dentists go private and accept some government-subsidized patients on the side.
Stuart Geddes, the director of the British Dental Association, said that over the years the government had reduced National Health Service money for dentists, forcing them to take on heavy loads to make a living.
"The N.H.S. scheme down there is under pressure because it is under-funded," Mr. Geddes said. "Dentists do go private because they don't have to work at the same frenetic pace they do at the N.H.S., and there is a better quality of care for the dentists."
Dentists say that more and more people are waiting until the last possible minute to get their teeth fixed, and they are forgoing routine exams and cleaning.
To make up for some of the reduced financing, the Health Service makes grants to some dental surgeries. Brynteg Dental Surgery was able to take on 300 more patients after a grant from the Health Service allowed them to hire another part-time dentist. The surgery, wishing to be fair, placed an advertisement in the local newspaper two weeks before the enrollment date with information on the extra places.
Heather Davies, 25, the office manager who handed out numbers, deli style, on the morning of registration, said she was still getting nasty phone calls from some of the 300 people she had to turn away.
People hurled curses and rude gestures at her. One man threatened her, saying, "I know what time you get off work," Ms. Davies recounted. She felt compelled to telephone the police. In fact, the office now has a direct hot line to the police.
"Because they are paying national insurance, people feel they are entitled to service," Ms. Davies said.
One poor man — No. 301 — simply refused to leave. He dug in, hoping for a change of heart. "I felt sorry for him," Ms. Davies said.


Monday, February 02, 2004

Campaign of fear

Patrick Moore, co-founder and ex-member of Greenpeace, writing in The American Enterprise debunks the lies told by Greenpeace about biotech and genetic engineering.

an excerpt of one example of the benefits -


For six years, anti-biotech activists managed to prevent the introduction of G.M. crops in India. This was largely the work of Vandana Shiva, the Oxford-educated daughter of a wealthy Indian family, who has campaigned relentlessly to "protect" poor farmers from the ravages of multinational seed companies. In 2002, she was given the Hero of the Planet award by Time magazine for "defending traditional agricultural practices."

Read: poverty and ignorance. It looked like Shiva would win the G.M. debate until 2001, when unknown persons illegally planted 25,000 acres of Bt cotton in Gujarat. The cotton bollworm infestation was particularly bad that year, and there was soon a 25,000 acre plot of beautiful green cotton in a sea of brown. The local authorities were notified and decided that the illegal cotton must be burned. This was too much for the farmers, who could now clearly see the benefits of the Bt variety. In a classic march to city hall with pitchforks in hand, the farmers protested and won the day. Bt cotton was approved for planting in March 2002. One hopes the poverty-stricken cotton farmers of India will become wealthier and deprive Vandana Shiva of her parasitical practice.


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