Issue CLXX

August 12-16, 2008

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Economics
Short-Sale Restrictions Are an Exercise in Naked Power:
Robert P. Murphy

August 12, 2008
Short selling is a beneficial process that allows anyone to participate in the market’s evaluation of share prices. So long as contracts are enforced, even naked short selling can be a beneficial process that allows the quickest possible adjustment in mispriced stocks. Robert P. Murphy writes that the government’s recent efforts to “protect” nineteen favored firms from naked shorting will do nothing but raise transaction costs. Beyond that, it provides a sobering hint of future, more significant innovations in federal government support for particular financial giants.

Epistemology
To Think is To Be:
Leonid Fainberg

August 14, 2008
In his response to Neil K. Goodell’s paper “To Think or Not:  A Structural Resolution to the Mind-Body and Free Will-Determinism Problem” (2007), Leonid Fainberg examines the nature of the human mind as a biological phenomenon, its particular mode of causation as the basis of Free Will, and the incompatibility of force’s initiation not only with activity of mind but with any biological process.  Mr. Fainberg defends the notion of mind-body unity and explains why the cognitive action of the mind can affect the biological processes of the body while it has no effect whatsoever on inanimate matter and only negative effects on another sentient being.

Music
Deliberation, Op. 27:
G. Stolyarov II

August 15, 2008
This musical work by Mr. Stolyarov was composed in 2002 and has been revived via the program Anvil Studio. It expresses a mood suited to profound, serious contemplation. Length: 3:24.

March #9, Op. 56:
G. Stolyarov II

August 16, 2008
This march was composed over the course of multiple time periods between 2001 and 2003, but it has not been made publicly available or given an opus number until now. It is short, cheerful, and energetic -- exhibiting Mr. Stolyarov's usual focus on structure and harmony. Length: 1:45.

Politics
How NOT to Have Electricity:
Alan Caruba

August 12, 2008
Electricity is so commonplace that no one gives any thought to not having access to it. Few give any consideration to how it is generated, but we are now being inundated with the most virulent nonsense about how wind or solar power is “clean” and practically “free.” Every week there’s some new proposal to cover the nation with wind farms and solar panels. Alan Caruba believes such proposals will amount to nothing beneficial.

What's in a Bill Name?:
Ron Paul

August 14, 2008

Recently Congress passed the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act., also known as the Housing Bill.  Its passage was lauded by many who are legitimately concerned about foreclosures and the housing market in our country's economy.  Rep. Ron Paul was asked how he could vote against a bill to help American homeowners, but he found this bill to have more to do with helping big banks than helping average Americans.

Why John Edwards's Affair Matters:
Selwyn Duke

August 14, 2008
Selwyn Duke explains why John Edwards’ affair matters; it is why all politicians’ indiscretions do. Character is central to anything one might do.  If the matter is a politician, what he espouses may sound good, but on what basis can we assess the probability that he’ll keep his promises and strive to advance our nation and not just himself?

Idle Leases -- or Addled Minds?:
Newt Gingrich and Roy Innis

August 16, 2008
Senator Jeff Bingaman, Congressman Nick Rahall, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other members of Congress who oppose producing more American oil are in a bind.  They know voters are hurting from high gas prices and overwhelmingly want the government to allow more American oil production. But they can’t side with the American people and risk upsetting their left-wing base. So they needed a way to make us think they support more drilling – while effectively preventing us from ever drilling a single new well. Newt Gingrich and Roy Innis criticize the proposals offered by these politicians and propose freeing oil companies from many of the burdensome restrictions under which they currently operate.

Pelosi on Energy Policy:
Robert P. Murphy

August 16, 2008
Last Monday, Nancy Pelosi appeared on Larry King to promote her new book (see transcript).  When the discussion turned to energy policy, she dropped a few doozies.  Dr. Robert Murphy writes that not only are her talking points wrong, but they even contradict each other.  The majority of Americans favor increasing U.S. oil production, and so Ms. Pelosi has to engage in mental gymnastics to cloud the issues.


Videos
The First Atheists - Video:
G. Stolyarov II

August 12, 2008
Atheism is older than Christianity. The first explicit atheists in Western civilization can be found among the ancient Greeks. In this video presentation, Mr. Stolyarov briefly describes two ancient atheists, Diagoras of Melos and Theodorus of Cyrene, whose ideas inspired numerous renowned philosophers of later times.

"It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." 
~ Ayn Rand

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