Issue CCLXVII

November 24-28, 2010

Return to Issue CCLXVI.                        Proceed to Issue CCLXVIII.
Recommend this page.                             Submit Items to TRA.

A sample image

Culture
The Imposition of Death:
G. Stolyarov II

November 24, 2010
None of Mr. Stolyarov's readers probably deserves the death penalty. Yet you have been sentenced to death, and all too few people lament or object. Mr. Stolyarov argues that support for indefinite life is a straightforward logical extension of the fundamental principle of justice: that only the guilty should suffer, and only in proportion to their guilt.

Economics
Bank Failures in Slow Motion:
Douglas French

November 24, 2010
Every Friday evening a few more banks are closed — seized by the various state banking regulators and handed over to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for liquidation. This all happens rather quietly, barely making the news. We're told these bank failures are no big deal. No reason to panic. The names of the banks change over the weekend and many customers don't notice the difference. We've only had 294 failures this cycle, but it is a big deal: adjusted to current dollars, the Depression banking crisis was $100 billion, the S&L crisis was $923 billion, and the current crisis is nearly $8 trillion. Douglas French argues that more banks should actually be failing if the economic fundamentals are taken into consideration. The FDIC may be reluctant to allow banks to fail because of the fear that it would be unable to compensate for all of the federally insured deposits subject to the threat of failure. 

History
A Tale of Two Colonies:
Gary Galles

November 27, 2010
At Thanksgiving, Americans recall their blessings around bountiful meals, with imagery going back to the Pilgrims, especially Plymouth Colony's 1623 Thanksgiving. But little attention is paid to what allows that bounty to be created — capitalism — though Jamestown and Plymouth both illustrate that lesson. Dr. Gary Galles writes that reflections restricted to our current bounty ignore that most colonists in both Jamestown and Plymouth starved under their initial communal-property rights. Then, when private-property rights were established, starvation gave way to increasing prosperity in both colonies.

Politics
The TSA's False Tradeoff:
Robert P. Murphy

November 27, 2010
The national furor over the TSA's new procedures — culminating in the November 23 "Opt Out Day" — has elicited the typical response from the bureaucracy and its apologists. Why, these invasive scans and "enhanced pat-downs" are only for your good, in order to ensure safe flying. You don't want another attack, do you? Dr. Robert Murphy writes that this is a false tradeoff. Especially in the long run, there is no tension between freedom and safety. If airport security were truly returned to the private sector, air travelers would achieve a much better balance of privacy and legitimate security measures.

The Climate Mafia Gather in Cancun:
Alan Caruba

November 27, 2010
Alan Caruba believes that it is time for the U.S. government to acknowledge that a climate mafia has existed since the gathering in Kyoto, Japan, to establish the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The IPCC meeting in Cancun begins on November 29 and will generate a lot of hot air for two weeks. The future of six billion people on planet Earth depends on the failure of the Cancun conference.

Lomborg's Wrong Solution to a Partly Real Problem:
Paul Driessen and Robert Carter

November 27, 2010
Bjorn Lomborg has been on a media blitz, publishing articles that certainly differ from what typically comes from more alarmist quarters on the subject of “dangerous global warming”. That is good news. However, Mr. Lomborg continues to assume that humans are causing “global climate disruption” – and is now campaigning to ensure that billions of taxpayer dollars will continue to be spent, year after year -- this time on more research into renewable energy technologies, under the further assumption that “green” energy will eventually become cheaper than hydrocarbon-based energy … and will be needed to stop global climate disruption. A different viewpoint comes from two climate disaster skeptics (and adaptation advocates) who have studied these issues for a combined 30+ years and worked closely and regularly with many climatologists, meteorologists and other experts: Paul Driessen and Australian Dr. Bob Carter. 

Science
Is Nuclear DNA Damage a Cause of Aging?:
Reason

November 28, 2010
It is well settled that the level of nuclear DNA damage and mutation exhibited by an organism rises over time. It is also well settled that higher levels of nuclear DNA damage and mutation mean a greater cancer risk - this is one of the reasons why cancer is predominantly a disease of the old. The more cells that suffer DNA damage, the more likely it is that one or more cells experience exactly the type of damage needed to run amok as the self-replicating seeds to a cancer. But is nuclear DNA damage and mutation a cause of aging? This article by Reason from The Longevity Meme offers an overview of the scientific discussion of this question.

Videos
TSA Tyranny: Hopeful and Disappointing Developments - Part 1 of 2:
G. Stolyarov II

November 27, 2010
In the days since the TSA has implemented its invasive, humiliating, new "screening" procedures, both encouraging and disheartening developments have occurred. Mr. Stolyarov is more impressed with the reaction by the mainstream media and politicians than with the docile response of the American people. Mr. Stolyarov reminds his viewers that what is at stake here is nothing less than what it means to be a free individual.

TSA Tyranny: Hopeful and Disappointing Developments - Part 2 of 2:
G. Stolyarov II

November 27, 2010

Resources for TSA Tyranny videos:
* "Random Pat-Downs Turn PATCO Into Police State" - Article on pat-down searches in Philadelphia *train* stations
Congressman Rush Holt's letter to the TSA - November 19, 2010 
"Mica wants airport screenings refined" - Politico Live - November 21, 2010
* "Introducing the American Traveler Dignity Act" by Rep. Ron Paul 
* "Are Air Travelers Criminal Suspects?" by Rep. Ron Paul - November 22, 2010
* "Body Scanners Coming to Trains, Subways and Boats, Homeland Security Chief Says" by Rebecca Boyle
* "Michigan Bladder Cancer Survivor Says TSA Search Left Him Covered in Urine" - FoxNews.com
* "Why the TSA pat-downs and body scans are unconstitutional" - by Jeffrey Rosen - November 28, 2010 -
* "Radiation from airport scanners may increase cancer risk" - by Bill Linder - May 23, 2010

The TSA Blog, boasting about how most Americans support the body scanners. (The support for the scanners has since declined but still constitutes a majority.)

A Salute to WikiLeaks: On the Diplomatic Cable Leaks of November 28, 2010:
G. Stolyarov II

November 28, 2010
Mr. Stolyarov congratulates WikiLeaks for yet another major contribution to international political transparency. Many of the recent revelations are amusing, and some describe actual heinous transgressions by the U.S. government. More revealing, however, is the manner in which the Obama administration's reaction to the leaks highlights this administration's utter hypocrisy with regard to free speech and freedom in general. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, both in this case and with prior WikiLeaks releases.

Resources:
WikiLeaks
* "Black jail" - Wikipedia entry
* Der Spiegel article on the leaked cables
* New York Times article on the leaked cables
(See page 2 for the description of the CIA's kidnapping of an innocent German citizen.)
* The Guardian article on the leaked cables:

Articles on the Obama administration's attacks on free speech:
"Feds Seize Websites Suspected of Online Piracy" - FoxNews.com - November 27, 2010
"ACTA: The War on Progress, Freedom, and Human Civilization" - Essay by G. Stolyarov II -
"ACTA: The War on Progress, Freedom, and Human Civilization" - Audio Essay on YouTube 

"Men are weak now, and yet they transform the Earth’s surface. In millions of years their might will increase to the extent that they will change the surface of the Earth, its oceans, the atmosphere and themselves. They will control the climate and the solar system just as they control the Earth. They will travel beyond the limits of our planetary system; they will reach other Suns and use their fresh energy instead of the energy of their dying luminary." 
~ Konstantin Tsiolkovsky