Rasmusen Weblog


NEW ADDRESS (July 7, 2004): http://www.rasmusen.org/x/

This weblog covers many topics, including, from the archive, the topics of Law, Science, and Economics, from the point of view of a Christian conservative economist who has read a lot of history and specializes in game theory and law. My weblog policies are here. [Email: Erasmusen@yahoo.com ]

07.05b. A Two-Line, Analog, Volume-Controlled, Musical Instrument. We went to Saturday's harp concert by Miss Dan Yu (Chinese, thus the "Dan"), who won the 2001 International Harp Competition. It was very good, and I realized that the harp may be unique in allowing, like the piano, for two separate parts to be played simultaneously, but by plucking strings. A violin can play chords, but one hand has to hold the instrument and choose the notes while the other plays the notes. Since each string of a harp is a separate note, each hand can pick and pluck a separate note. But the harp is still digital, like the piano, rather than analog, like a violin. ... [permalink: 04.07.05b.htm]

07.05c. A Christian Attitude Towards Suicide and Birth Control; The Importance of Relationships. Oddly enough, "Chapter IV.-Why the Christians Do Not Kill Themselves" of Justin's Second Apology connects together suicide, birth control, and Pastor Mangrum's ECC sermon of yesterday ... [permalink: 04.07.05c.htm]

07.04a. A Foreign Pastors' Speech; Partisan Politics and Religion-- Christian Support for Bush because of His Anti- Persecution Policy. Various people have noted that perhaps the clearest indicator of Republican vs. Democrat now is Believer vs. Atheist-- stronger even, I think, than All Other vs. Single Women, and strengthened further if we put aside the special case of the black vote, which is Believing but Democrat. This makes me uncomfortable. I'm not sure why-- perhaps because it makes me fear persecution under Democratic administrations. But the cause-and- effect may be the other way-- that it is the increasing anti-religiosity of the Democrats, plus their unconcern about things such as foreign persecution of Christians, that has driven out the Believers. I thought about these things on reading the following email. Suppose it is true and persecuted Christians everywhere hope President Bush is re- elected. Should that determine the vote of American Christians, or are other issues more important? ... [permalink: 04.07.04a.htm]

07.04b. The Priorities of a State College President Blatantly Ranked: 1. A Favored Ethnic Minority, 2. Students, Faculty, and Staff, 3. The Citizens of His State; An Illustration of the Principal-Agent Problem. From Gail Heriot: ... [permalink: 04.07.04b.htm]

07.04c. Satellite-Guided Bombs and B-52's. James Dunnigan tells us that our fancy new bombers have been made obsolete by even fancier and newer bombs. ... [permalink: 04.07.04c.htm]

07.04d. Ecumenicism vs. Denominationalism. It is interesting why a Calvinist pastor would convert to Roman Catholicism Tim Bayly discusses the topic, and suggests it is the desire for authority, for certainty. Part of his post is on a different angle, though: disgust with the isolation in individual congregations or denominations of many Protestants: ... [permalink: 04.07.04d.htm]

07.03a. Pascal on God's Concealment of the Truth, Contradictions, Hidden Meaning, and the Falsity of Islam. Reading Pascal's Pensees last night, I came across a number of intriguing passages ... [permalink: 04.07.03a.htm]

07.03b. "Homosexual dominance of the legal system"; "Swedish pastor sentenced to one month's jail for offending homosexuals," How would we judge whether it is true or false that homosexuals dominate a legal system? Eugene Volokh says ... [permalink: 04.07.03b.htm]

07.02a. Divorce and Conservatives. I've talked before about the abolition of heterosexual marriage and divorce in natural vs. divine law, and cited the excellent Touchstone article on the delinquency of the conservative churches on this issue. I just came across the Williams list of divorced prominent Republicans. I've modified it to get the list below: ... [permalink: 04.07.02a.htm]

07.01d. Mencken on Making a Living in America. Reading Professor Leiter's weblog on the philosophy job market a while back, I thought of H. L. Mencken's analysis of the same market. From page 92 of Prejudices: A Selection, from "On Being an American". ... [permalink: 04.07.01d.htm]

07.01c. Yale Men and the Presidency. Chris Atwood, a Harvard man, pointed me towards this National Review article and wondered why I wasn't a contender ... [permalink: 04.07.01c.htm]

07.01b. Affirmative Action: Defining Blackness. By now the blogosphere has taken note of the New York Time article on West Indians, Mulattoes, and Recent African Immigrants at Harvard. ... [permalink: 04.07.01b.htm]

07.01a. James Hynes, The Lecturer's Tale ; English Departments. This novel is entertaining, and I was gratified to see reference to James Hogg's good novel, The True Confessions of a Justified Sinner, which made it to my 2003 Christmas List. It probably is grossly unfair to English departments. The exaggeration of political correctness and the animus against white male heterosexuals is probably legitimate exaggeration (it's a comic novel, after all), but I am skeptical that English departments are really so hierarchical, unscholarly, and full of petty disputes. Still, I like the passage below, ... [permalink: 04.07.01a.htm]

06.30a. Thomas Sowell on Douglass and Education, Optimal Terrorist Attacks, and Race Hustlers. Thomas Sowell via Clayton Cramer. ... [permalink: 04.06.30a.htm]

06.30b. The Lack of Civic-Mindedness of Mexican- Americans. Steve Sailer points out a striking fact:

Walking around downtown Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that Ben Franklin started more civic institutions than have all three million people of Mexican descent in Los Angeles County.

As Gregory Rodriguez wrote in the Feb. 29 Los Angeles Times:

"For example, in Los Angeles, home to more Mexicans than any other city in the U.S., there is not one ethnic Mexican hospital, college, cemetery or broad-based charity."

This bodes ill for the future of America, unless we can inculcate civic virtue into our Mexican immigrants. I wonder if Mexican-Americans have founded churches? That was a huge, little-noticed success of Roman Catholic immigrants in earlier times. [permalink: 04.06.30a.htm]

06.30c. Chein v. Shumsky, , Perjury by Expert Witnesses; Trial Lawyer Judges? I've wondered what it takes for an expert witness to get prosecuted and convicted for perjury ever since reading of Martha Nussbaum's testimony in Romer. It is hard to prove that a witness is giving as his expert opinion something that he doesn't really believe, but often do experts make statements of disprovable fact. On page 127 of Frances Wellman's wonderful The Art of Cross-Examination, he tells of the lawyer who impeached the testimony of one doctor by asking him, ... [permalink: 04.06.30c.htm]

06.30d. The Ryan Divorce Papers Disclosure; Court Records and Publicity; Stigma. The Illinois Republican Senate candidate has dropped out after newspapers persuaded the judge to release some of his divorce records: ... [permalink: 04.06.30d.htm]

06.29a. Matt Yglesias on the Immorality of Conservatives; The Unconstrained Vision; Demonization of Opponents; Liberals on Character. Last week, Matt Yglesias unconsciously shows that liberals don't even know what "good character" means: ... [permalink: 04.06.29a.htm]

06.29b. The Demonization of Rush Limbaugh Via Instapundit,I found Instapunk explaining something about Rush Limbaugh: ... [permalink: 04.06.29b.htm]

06.28a. Radical Left Humor: Nader on Michael Moore. Via Instapundit, I learn that Ralph Nader thinks Michael Moore, undoubtedly someone to the left of the Democrats (and perhaps even to the left of Nader) has sold out to the Democrats. More surprisingly, this leftwing site displays good writing and wit! Perhaps Christopher Hitchens (my June 24 post) and I have been too negative about socialist humor. ... [permalink: 04.06.28a.htm]

06.27a. Samuel Wesley the Elder: History of the Old Testament in verse (1715). I came across this long poem in an IU database ($) and am thinking of using it for a children's Bible. Here's a sample-- Abraham and Isaac. ... [permalink: 04.06.27a.htm]

06.27b. North Carolina Judge Bans God from His Courtrooms; Sheriffs Refuse to Obey. Via Via Christianity Today, I learn of the Judge Honeycutt case of rebellion against a runaway judge: ... [permalink: 04.06.27b.htm]

06.27c. U.S. Army Refuses to Release Names of Dead Soldiers to Someone Who Wishes to Honor Them, because He Uses Religious Language. Via Christianity Today, we learn of anti-religious feeling in the U.S. Army brass: ... [permalink: 04.06.27c.htm]

06.26a Takings for "Public Purposes"; Kau v. City & County. A reader sent me the depressing court opinion, Kau v. City & County, No. 23674 (Haw. Sup. Ct. June 22, 2004), which reiterates the Hawaiian judicial precedent that the government can seize your property, if it pays the market price, and give it to someone else who wants it and has more political power, even if there is no public purpose involved. It is even worse than I'd thought, because the *supposed* public purpose is to reduce land prices-- that is, pure redistribution, to hurt landowners and benefit other people. ... [permalink: 04.06.26a.htm]

06.26b More on Sunstein and the Naturalness of Property Rights. At Catallarchy, Michael Yuri writes, re my Sunstein reply: ... [permalink: 04.06.26b.htm]

06.26c The Gettier Counterexample to Knowledge as True Justified Belief. Brian Leiter tells an interesting story that shows the idea of knowledge as "true justified belief" is more complicated than it seems. ... [permalink: 04.06.26c.htm]

06.26d Harvard Business School and Research. Harvard Business School has always been an anomaly because its student quality is so much higher than its research quality, which is quite low per faculty member. This is deliberate: they have had a policy of tenuring people for writing cases rather than for publishing journal articles. Now it seems, they are getting serious about scholarship, perhaps because of the influence of economist President Larry Summers. [permalink: 04.06.26d.htm]

06.25a More on Pardons; Infectious Invalidity. On June 23 I discussed medieval law and pardons. A reader commented that pardons are easily abused, as shown by the Clinton Pardons of 2000. Nonetheless, I think they should be used more than they are. Clinton was a lame duck who didn't care what happened to his policies or party after he left office (no more than while he *was* in office-- it is a mystery to me why the man who lost the Democratic Party their 30-year dominance remains a hero to them). More often, an executive who issues corrupt pardons will pay a political price. ... [permalink: 04.06.25a.htm]

06.25b Sir Austin Bradford Hill on Causation and Correlation. I was just reading "The Environment and Disease: Association or Causation?" By Sir Austin Bradford Hill CBE DSC FRCP(hon) FRS (Professor Emeritus of Medical Statistics, University of London), a useful article for teaching statistics, ... [permalink: 04.06.25b.htm]

06.25c "Point at a Deer and Say It's a Horse"; Rectification of Names; Orwell. On June 7 I talked about the Chinese story, "Point at a Deer and Say It's a Horse". A reader commented on it, and that reminded me that the story should be read in conjunction with Confucius on the Rectification of Names and the Five-Legged Dog story from my February 18 post. This weblog is useful for helping me make ideas and facts cohere. So much passes us by, known one month and forgotten the next. Orwell on language, and his book, 1984, could also be brought in. ... [permalink: 04.06.25c.htm]

06.24a Democrats Hire Felons to Register Voters Door-to- Door. That's the story. Apparently these felons are so bad that the Missouri bureaucrats are scared to help the Democrats to get them the jobs. ... [permalink: 04.06.24a.htm]

06.24b Insane Democrats: Krugman and Gore. Bret Stephens in the WSJ notes that many Democrats seem be literally insane, if they really mean what they say. Paul Krugman is a sad case for we economists. Al Gore isn't mentioned here, but as I noted May 27 he is sounding psychotic too. Why does mild-mannered, moderate George W. Bush have this effect on people? Or is it the recoil from having had to defend Clinton too many times, and losing touch with reality? ... [permalink: 04.06.24b.htm]

06.24c Christopher Hitchens on Michael Moore and Bias. In Slate, Christopher Hitchens has a long and well-written critique of Michael Moore's latest movie, a piece of obvious anti- American propaganda. ... [permalink: 04.06.24c.htm]

06.24d House Report Condemning the CIA for Incompetence. I've been wondering when someone in government would get around to saying publicly that the CIA is incompetent. From CNN: ... [permalink: 04.06.24d.htm]

06.23d C.J.Brian on Bad Thoughts; The Use of Pardons and Equity to Rescue Justice in the Middle Ages; Heinonline for Finding Old Law Review PDF Files; Law vs. Equity and Specialization of Courts. My research assistant Calin found a good new database, http://www.heinonline.org/ ($), which has law reviews going way back. I can download as pdf, convert to JPG, and then use my available OCR software to extract quotes. The opening quote of James Ames's "Law and Morals", Harvard Law Review 22: 97-1`13 (1908- 09) makes me think of Holmes's "bad man" in "The Path of the Law": ... [permalink: 04.06.23d.htm]

06.23a Dept. of Transportation Paean to Sodomy. Norman Mineta , Secretary of Transportation, issued this proclamation of pride in his department's perverse sexual activities. Will we next see a celebration of alcoholics in government service, or philanderers, or cocaine sniffers? I'm sure all are well represented, and many of them are valuable employees. ... [permalink: 04.06.23a.htm]

06.23b Stigler on Economists and Lawyers, Sympathy, Ethics, Justice, and Sellers as Victims (1972). I just read a very good article by George J. Stigler "The Law and Economics of Public Policy: A Plea to the Scholars," The Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1. (January 1972), pp. 1-12. Here are some choice bits: ... [permalink: 04.06.23b.htm]

06.23c Sunstein on Property as a Legal Construct. Guest blogging over at Volokh Conspiracy, Cass Sunstein says that property is not natural, but a creation of law. He's wrong, except if we're using "property" as a legal term of art. But if we're using it as a legal term of art, it's not surprising the term wouldn't exist except for the law. ... [permalink: 04.06.23c.htm]

06.22b Reagan's Religion. I was too hard on Ronald Reagan on June 7. Christianity Today has some evidence that he actually was a true Christian: ... [permalink: 04.06.22b.htm]

06.22a Corruption and Pederasty in the Catholic Church in Los Angeles and Mexico. How can anyone remain a member of the Roman Catholic Church? This Dallas Morning News series, mentioned by me on June 19, is truly shocking. Read this excerpt first, and then see whether you agree with my inflammatory comments at the end-- remembering also my May 31 post on Cardinal Law's reward for his scandalous behavior. What the Dallas Morning News has discovered, in brief, is that the cardinals in Mexico City and Los Angeles conspired to shuttle a pedophile priest back and forth across the border when things got too hot for him, that they kept the police off his trail, that they blocked prosecution in Mexico, and that they and the Mexican police and judges lie shamelessly. ... [permalink: 04.06.22a.htm]

06.21a. Hiibel Case; Police Questioning; Self Incrimination; USC 18-1001. A recent case, Hiibel, 542 U. S. ____ (2004), says that a state law requiring a person under suspicion to tell a policeman his name is not unconstitutional. This is an example of a perfectly reasonable law that no person reading the Constitution would possibly think was prohibited by it. Moreover, someone who knew of the tremendously intrusive questions the government is allowed to require people to answer for taxpaying, the census, environmental regulation-- *any* regulatatory area, really-- registering to drive or to build a house or to do any perfectly normal activity-- someone who knew of how intrusive our government is in these areas would wonder why someone can refuse to tell a policeman his name-- especially if the state legislature has passed a law specifically allowing that, and the state governor has signed it, most likely with 90%+ support from voters ... [permalink: 04.06.21a.htm]

06.21b. The First Day of Summer? No! This is the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, and for astronomical reasons it is conventionally known as the first day of summer. But that is wrong. What makes the summer "summer"? Hot days and the long school vacation. One good way to define summer is using the school vacation, though that, of course, varies depending on the school. A more universal way (at least for the northern hemisphere) is to say that summer lasts from June 1 to August 31, so that June, July, and August are the summer months. That's what I think makes sense. ... [permalink: 04.06.21b.htm ]

06.20a. Jonathan Edwards on Perceiving God's Excellency. A very good sermon of Jonathan Edwards is his 1734 "A Divine and Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted to the Soul, by the Spirit of God, Shown to Be Both a Scriptural and Rational Doctrine". The central point is that God's grace is the opening of a new sense, like opening somebody's eyes, a sense which aids reason and the other senses in learning the truth. [permalink: 04.06.20a.htm]

06.19a. A Good Economics Discussion. I had a good weekly meeting with my graduate students yesterday. Like the law-and- econ lunch of the previous day, it was true scholarly discussion. We talked about the meaning of heteroskedasticity; its translation into Chinese ... [permalink: 04.06.19a.htm]

06.19b. Racial Discrimination in Kidney Transplants. On June 18 I reported on how an aborigine criminal in Australia received a lower sentence because of his race. A different odd sort of racial discrimination is going on in America: the rules for who gets kidney transplants are being designed to give blacks an edge they would not have if no racial lobbying was at work. A June 18, 2004 WSJ article was titled: "In Kidney Quest, New Rules Boost Chances for Blacks; Reform Seeks to Close Gap In Transplant Wait Times; Worries About a Downside" , but it could as easily have been titled, "In Kidney Quest, New Rules Suppress Chances for Whites and Asians; Politically- Motivated Regulations Seeks to Close Gap In Transplant Wait Times; Unnecessary Deaths Will Result".

... [permalink: 04.06.19b.htm]

06.19c. The Roman Catholic Pederast Priest Scandal Goes to All Six Continents; The Dallas Morning News. An NPR interview and a weblog link (Instapundit?) says that the Dallas Morning News has found that shifting pederast priests to new, unwary congregations is Roman Catholic practice worldwide, not just in Massachusetts. Here's more evidence beyond my May 31 post on Cardinal Law's reward for his scandalous behavior that the Vatican is not an institution to be admired. ... [permalink: 04.06.19c.htm ]

06.19d. Newspaper Power Under McCain-Feingold. Here is an early example of one of the biggest loopholes in the McCain- Feingold campaign finance act: newspapers and TV stations can do as much free advertising as they want to for a candidate. ... [permalink: 04.06.19d.htm ]

06.18e. Australian Prison Sentence Preferences for Aborigines. Eugene Volokh quotes an Australian newspaper ... [permalink: 04.06.18e.htm]

06.18a. Newfoundland's Voluntary Return to Undemocratic Colonial Rule. The WSJ article, "Democracy Can Be Perverse," by David Hale, tells us of an example of a democracy that voluntarily, and rightly, gave up its votes in exchange for money and good government: ... [permalink: 04.06.18a.htm]

06.18b. Midkiff, Takings Law, Rent-Seeking, Law Lunch. Our law-and-econ lunch had a good discussion today of Midkiff, 467 US 229 (1984) and a Heller article arguing for private takings. We also discussed soft budget constraints, and the profits of inframarginal firms, the Poletown Case, the Good Shepherd Church Goat Farm situation, takings doctrine, the effects good and bad of town subsidies to businesses, and whether such subsidies are unconstitutional. Quite invigorating. Midkiff is a remarkable case, as extreme in its own way as the 1930's Supreme Court decision that someone who grew wheat for his own consumption was engaging in interstate commerce and hence subject to federal regulation. The holding was that it is okay for a state to require someone to sell his property to someone else at a forced government price so long as the state claims the transfer has a public purpose. ... [permalink: 04.06.18b.htm ]

06.18c. Chunnel Shareholders: "Le Petit Porteur de Trou" The caption, "Le Petit Porteur de Trou", is translated, "The Little Shareholder of the Hole", This is a nice pun, though, because "porteur" means not just shareholder, but porter or carrier, and "hole' refers both to the tunnel and to the financial deficits of the company. [permalink: 04.06.18c.htm]

06.18d. The Birthday Problem. Professor Diaconis came to give a Patten Lecture here this spring, and I've been referring to every since. One of his lectures took the birthday problem as a starting point. Philip J. Erdelsky has a good page on it, and he state its essence:

The probability that at least two of N people have the same birthday rises above 0.5 when N=23. [permalink: 04.06.18d.htm]

06.17a. Public Radio is Dropping Classical Music. From The Weekly Standard ($)

... [permalink: 04.06.17a.htm]

06.17b. Should the Roman Catholic Church Excommunicate All Democrats, Even Anti-Abortion Ones? I was just reading Professor Thomas Smith's sensible remarks on abortion. He made the usual point that if (a) the Roman Catholic church believes that abortion is murder, and (b) a church member promotes abortion, then (c) the church has a moral duty to expel that member. He made the correct analogy to what the church should do if a member promoted the extermination of Jews and Gypsies, ... [permalink: 04.06.17b.htm]

06.16a. Student Evaluations of Professors. .Who would have thought back in the 1960's that by 2000, professors would be denied tenure based on casual evaluations by the students they were grading? Yet that is the case today. At the end of the semester, after midterm grades but before finals, IU policy is for professors to allocate 10 minutes of a class for students to fill in a rather silly 20-question questionnaire to rate them on a scale from 1 to 7. This is really the only way the University keeps track of teaching quality. And it matters, for salary and for keeping one's job if one does not yet have tenure. ... [permalink: 04.06.16a.htm]

06.16b. "Of the 112 Senate votes this year, Kerry has voted just 14 times" Via Best of the Web, ... [permalink: 04.06.16b.htm]

06.16c. General Janis Karpinski, the Woman Commanding Abu Ghraib Prison. . Perhaps the biggest story from Abu Ghraib Prison, and one involving higher-ups, is how the incompetent Jani Karpinski was promoted to General and to command the prison, and to keep command after problems started to be noticed (even before the abuse scandal). The likely answer is feminism, and we now have a clear answer-- if the various problems before were not enough-- to the question of whether women soldiers make the army more effective. I'm still collecting information, but here is enough to make it clear someone in the Pentagon should be fired. ... [permalink: 04.06.16c.htm]

06.16d. Jim Bennett: "Three Pro-War British parties take 67% of vote, push anti-war party to fourth place" versus "British voters punishing Blair over Iraq" . Jim Bennett notes that though the British EU election results are interpreted by the media as voters rejecting the Iraq War, they actually show the exact opposite-- or else, that many voters hate the European Union, another fact that liberals like to conceal. ... [permalink: 04.06.16d.htm]

06.15a. Steyn on CIA Defects as Shown in the August 6, 2001 Presidential Briefing. . Mark Steyn in The Telegraph writes ... [permalink: 04.06.15a.htm]

06.15b. The Tenure Case of Economist James Smith at Smith College. . There are few enough cases of real-world politics affecting tenure cases in economics that I want to record this one. His vita shows not much research, but this is a college, not a university, and he is one of only two professors in the department with a website (the chaired professor, Prof. Zimbalist, is the other), so it seems likely he is ahead of his colleagues. ... [permalink: 04.06.15b.htm]

06.15c. The Smoking of Orthodox Jews and Pre- Written Drug Confessions. . I was just reading " A Model of Dysfunctional Urges and Addiction, " Feb 20, 2004 draft, by Andrew Weiss and Jacob Glazer. They say that:

(1) There are orthodox Jews who smoke heavily except on the Sabbath.

(2) In some treatment programs clients write confession letters to be mailed if they fail drug tests. [permalink:

06.15d. I like this picture of buffalos. .

06.14a. "We Don't Want You to Share Your Missile Defense System. We Want You to Share Your Women." . That's the caption to a good cartoon from the June 26, 2003 Weekly Standard. It captures a crucial idea: conflicts are ultimately not over the means, but over the ends. The barbarian wants the bourgeois women; he is not concerned with being able to defend himself against bourgeois wars of aggression. [permalink: 04.06.14a.htm]

06.14b. What if America Had Not Entered World War I? . A good question. I suppose the part of the German 1918 offensive that hit the French would have gone a bit further (the Americans were not involved in the attack on the British). It still would have failed, even if it conquered twice as much territory as it did. The Allied 1918 offensive would have been slower, and probably the war wouldn't have ended till 1919. But Bulgaria, Turkey, and Russia would still have been knocked out in 1918. And the Allied blockade would still have created a crisis in Germany in 1918. So the Americans were not all that important. Nor were we important in the peace. Wilson held out for the League of Nations and for calling the conquered colonies "mandates", neither of which had any importance. Did he have any other impact? [permalink: 04.06.14b.htm]

06.14c. Charles Graner, Abu Ghraib, and the Folly of Blaming Rumsfeld. . Richard Lowry has this good comment on Abu Ghraib, based on looking at what happened there rather than what documents said about policy in general: ... [permalink: 04.06.14c.htm]

06.14d. John Moore's Spleen and Fiduciary Duty. . John Moore's spleen was removed by his doctor, who then made millions for himself and his university by using the spleen to patent a useful cell line. The doctor did not tell Mr. Moore he was doing this, or get any kind of permission, though he did try to trick Moore into signing away his rights (which Moore did not do, and which made Moore suspicious enough to investigate). ... [permalink: 04.06.14d.htm]

06.13d. A Piece Rate Minimum Wage in British Columbia. . The picture above shows the schedule for piece-rate minimum wage in British Columbia. Click here if you want a bigger version (though how it will look depends on your computer)

06.13c. The African Church, Principle, and Money. . The chairman of The Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) said in April that he will not accept money from apostate American churches. ... [permalink: 04.06.13c.htm]

06.13b. Mark Steyn on "The Day After Tomorrow" movie. . Mark Steyn is typically optimistic about what would happen if the silly scenario in this movie were true and millions died of sudden cold. ... [permalink: 04.06.13b.htm]

06.13a. Don Feder on the Liberal Media: A Definitive Article. . Don Feder has written the best analysis of the liberal near-monopoly on news and publishing that I've seen. It simply notes facts, the most powerful mode of argument when one is speaking to thinking people (admittedly, a very special case): ... [permalink: 04.06.13a.htm]

06.12b. Pope: "Vice is a monster of so frightful mien". . Alexander Pope makes a good argument for not talking too much about vice, even to condemn it, as Pastor Timothy Bayly said to me at lunch yesterday at Noodle Town. From World of Quotes is a good website for quotes because it sometimes gives sources (so few people appreciate the importance of this!), and Pope's, Essay on Man (ep. II, l. 217) (1733): ... [permalink: 04.06.12b.htm ]

06.12a. Mark Steyn on the Multicultural View of the State. . Mark Steyn, in an essay on Canada, captures a big American problem, what he call the "Clintonian view of the state", "as arbiter and distributor of largesse". This, by the way, is the class ethnic city machine view-- the government is a pot of money to be divided amongst one's friends and allies. ... [permalink: 04.06.12a.htm]

06.11a. Fishy Prosecutorial Dropping of Charges in a Monroe County Drunk Driving Case. . This case shows the power of the county prosecutor, and how if he can't get a judge to approve a plea bargain, he can just reduce the charges anyway. It also is an example of a judge so disgusted with this that he refuses to hear any case at all-- probably against the rules. From "Angry judge rejects plea bargain Prosecutor's office agreed to drop felony charge against man who had .22 blood-alcohol content," by Katy Murphy, Bloomngton Herald-Times, May 21, 2004: ... [permalink: 04.06.11a.htm]

06.11b. G8 Protesters at Indiana. . Indiana University had an international economics conference around the time of the G8 government meetings, and protesters showed up. From the Bloomington Herald- Times, June 5, 2004. ... [permalink: 04.06.11b.htm ]

06.10a France Fines Brigitte Bardot for Criticizing Islam. . Via Drudge, we find that France has fined Brigitte Bardot for political speech, as a matter of routine: ... [permalink: 04.06.10a.htm]

06.10b Suicide Bombings: Samson. . Samson's death is an example of a laudable suicide, and something very like a suicide bombing-- though in a regular war, and with considerable provocation. Here is the story, from Judges 16: 21-30. ... [permalink: 04.06.10b.htm]

06.09d Murders as Professors; Manchester's Paul Agutter. . On September 28, 2003 I commented that a professor who was a despicable murderer in the distant past was not thereby disqualified from teaching unrelated subjects. A much harder case is this one, ... [permalink: 04.06.09d.htm]

06.09c Bush's Success in Iraq, and Comparison with Vietnam. . Instapundit on March 4, 2004 quotes two emails he received, one on the astounding success of the Bush Administration's anti-terror policy, so successful that people have forgotten the problem (doesn't it remind you of Bush Senior's astounding success in Gulf War I?), and the other comparing it to the lack of success in Vietnam: ... [permalink: 04.06.09c.htm]

06.09a Just Links, for Lack of Time to Comment. .
Wahabi destruction of quasi-pagan sites, and Saudi destruction of historic mosques in Medina.
Indices of Corruption, via my brother, Andrew.
UN Ambulances Are Routinely Used to Transport Terrorists
"What We Donít Know Can Hurt Us," ,Heather Mac Donald, on hysterical opposition to government use of commercial data for monitoring terrorists.

06.09b "The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna," by Charles Wolfe. . John Derbyshire has good thoughts, plus a good poem, "The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna," by Charles Wolfe: ... [permalink: 04.06.09b.htm]

06.08b Putting a Murdered Corpse in a Rental Storage Unit-- Game Theory. . I think I might have heard about this crime story from the WSJ's Best of the Web. ... [permalink: 04.06.08b.htm]

06.08a The Patriot Act. . Brian Leiter recently reported on two supposed Patriot Act outrages. Even if both are outrages, neither seems to have been caused by the Patriot Act. ... [permalink: 04.06.08a.htm]

06.07d Joke List: How to Lower Gas Prices. . Via Marginal Revolution, here is "How to Lower Gas Prices" a list of joke suggestions. These would be useful for teaching economics. ... [permalink: 04.06.07d.htm ]

06.07c "Point at a Deer and Say It's a Horse"; False Preferences; Asch Experiment. . My student Yan Meng give me this translation (slightly modified by me) of the Zhi Lu Wei Ma ("point at a deer and say it's a horse") story, ... [permalink: 04.06.07c.htm]

06.07b Dignity, Purpose, and Rank-- Remains of the Day. . In Kazuo Ishiguro's 1989 novel, The Remains of the Day, the narrator- butler, Mr. Stevens, tells how in a country village a certain Mr. Harry Smith said that it was important to dignity to voice opinions on the great issues of the day. That made him think of an episode when a guest of his employer, Mr. Spencer, called him in and asked him for his opinions on various questions of economics and international politics, to make the point that someone like a butler was too uneducated to have a right to an opinion. ... [permalink: 04.06.07b.htm ]

06.07a Ronald Reagan. I do think Reagan was a good president, but it's always puzzled me how conservatives adulate him when it wasn't clear that he was any more conservative than George W. Bush and it was clear that his conservatism was less deep. Since I see all kinds of comments on his good points, let me see if I can list some bad points: ... [permalink: 04.06.07a.htm]

06.05a Partisan Democrat Anti-Nader Bias in the Liberal News Media, a Lexis-Nexis Search. It's interesting to find evidence that the media bias is not just liberal, but partisan Democrat. The Weekly Standard tells us, ... [permalink: 04.06.05a.htm]

06.05b A Test for Spiritualists and Purported ESP Adepts. Spiritualists and ESP adepts commonly fail to achieve any supernatural results when in the presence of magicians-- people expert in sleight of hand and tricks generally. Martin Gardner wrote often on this point. The tricksters often respond that the presence of magicians, or skeptics generally, makes them too nervous, disturbs the spirits, and suchlike. The solution to both problems is as follows. ... [permalink: 04.06.05b.htm]

06.04a Cowen on Cheese and Pepper and Bad Regulation; George Mason Chinese Restaurant. Tyler Cowen had a very good February 2004 weblog entry at Marginal Revolution, : ... [permalink: 04.06.04a.htm]

06.03a A May 27 Wall Street Journal article is titled, "Early Years Belie Kerry's Patrician Image" ... [permalink: 04.06.03a.htm]

06.02c Former NYTimes Editor, Libel Bush on National Guard Service, Recommends That Kerry Lie to the Voters, Wrong on History. Via Best of the Web, via Capt ain's Quarters, I found a Howell Raines Manchester Guardian article in which the former editor of the New York Times, Howell Raines, manages to combine libel, historical mistake, and an admission that he thinks liberals should tell the public lies, for the good of society. ... [permalink: 04.06.02c.htm]

06.02a Joseph Wilson Confirms Iraq-Niger Connection. I blogged last year on Iraq, Bush and Uranium from Niger. In John Derbyshire's "Third Way in Iraq", ... [permalink: 04.06.02a.htm ]

06.02b FBI Director's Freeh's Computerphobia and Incompetence on Terrorism in the Clinton Years. I commented last year on FBI Iincompetence in the Sibel Edmonds case of the Turkish spy. Now I learn about two more problems-- poor computer systems and a Clinton FBI that was more worried about abortion protesters than about Islamic terrorists. ... [permalink: 04.06.02b.htm]

06.01a PhD Student Placement in Philosophy and Economics; Rookie Publishing; The MIT Economics Class Entering in 1980; Frank Fisher's Retirement Book. I'll collect various thoughts on PhD Programs in this entry. I've been reading Brian Leiter's May 31 and e arlier posts on placement of Philosophy PhDs, which links to the very complete Michigan data. Quality of placement has been an issue at my own university. A while back, the Dean cut the size of the business school PhD program in half. I'm sure the real reason was to save money and to turn faculty attention away from research and onto teaching MBA students, but the purported reason was that Indiana was not placing its students at comparable institutions. That's a silly argument, ... [permalink: 04.05.01a.htm]

05.31b George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln in 2000 and 1864. The parallels between the political situations of Abraham Lincoln in Summer 1864 and George W. Bush in Summer 2004 are remarkable. ... [permalink: 04.05.31b.htm]

05.31a Cardinal Law's Promotion; The Roman Catholic Church's Toleration of Pedophilia. Cardinal Law, the disgraced former Archbishop of Boston, has just been given a promotion by the Vatican. Pope John Paul has his good points, but he shows by this that he feels early retirement is too harsh a penalty for a bishop guilty of large-scale facilitation of priestly pedophilia. Cardinal Law showed that his first principle was "Look after the clergy," and Pope John Paul apparently shares that principle. ... [permalink: 04.05.31a.htm]

05.30c Updates. The Wall Street Journal has posted an article I mentioned on May 27, John Yoo's "Terrorists Have No Geneva Rights".

A reader referred me to Chuc k Missler on the names in Genesis, as prophetic, in connection with my May 23 post on the subject.

05.30b Questions at Sermons; Normal vs. Abnormal vs. Subnormal; Being Filled with the Spirit. Pastor Don Kouwe preached today at ECC. He has a pleasantly professorial style, using an overhead projector and asking for questions at the end since he had a little extra time. Two good quotes were Mr. Chafer's

It is not a matter of acquiring more of the the Spirit, but of the Spirit acquiring more of us.

and Vance Havner's

Most of are so subnormal that if we ever became normal we could be considered abnormal.


05.30a Homosexuality, Pride, and Crossing Lines; Suicide. There at the same time seems to be too much, and too little, attention to homosexuality and condemnation of it by the Church-- by which I mean true Christians as individuals, congregations, and parachurch organizations. ... [permalink: 04.05.30a.htm]

05.29a Clayton Cramer on Increasing Prison Populations; "Life" Sentences of 29 Years in Prison; African-American Crimes Rates. A recent government report on prison statistics has attracted some comment, and I did a bit of websurfing on it. The table above comes from "State Rates of Incarceration by Race," The Sentencing Project, 2004, and I'll return to it later. Clayton Cramer has useful things to say about why a one- time change to stricter sentencing will cause the prison population to keep rising even if crime rates fall as a result: ... [permalink: 04.05.29a.htm]

05.28a Just Links, for Lack of Time to Comment.
blatant, libellous, Michael Moore lie.

Volokh on Slate magazine's mocking of Bush for shaking the artificial hand of a Saddam victim.

Dunnigan on Iraq

T he Chinese Thirteen Classics

A Rasmusse n Reports survey found that 64% of voters believe that American society is generally fair and decent. Additionally, 62% believe the world would be a better place if other countries became more like the United States.

Clayton Cramer on "the world's first DVD player that can seamlessly skip over violence, swearing, nudity and other potentially offensive movie content..." and objections to the legality of the device.

05.27c Trust and Reputation and Self-Fulfilling Distrust. At the Law Lunch today, Professor Stake was talking about various interesting papers from the Grutter Biology and Law conference he just attended. The subject of Self-Fulfilling Distrust came up. Somebody had a paper on the optimal level of tax enforcement. But here is how I think that it would make sense that greater enforcement could lead to increased bad behavior. ... [permalink: 04.05.27c.htm]

05.27a The Geneva Conventions; Reciprocity; Protests Against John Yoo; Morality vs. Law; Substance vs. Process. How ironic! John Yoo finishes his tour of duty in Washington and returns to Berkeley, no doubt thinking that now he has left the sphere of public glare and rabid partisans who jump on a scholar's every clear and honest word. And when he gets to Berkeley students immediately start protesting his technical legal writings and calling him a war criminal! ... [permalink: 04.05.27a.htm]

05.27b George Bush's Honesty; Al Gore's Sanity. According to Al Gore, George Bush ... [permalink: 04.05.27b.htm ]

05.26a Are Advertisements and Posted Prices Contract Offers? This came up in our law and economics lunch a while back. A grocery store has labelled a can of beans $.59. When I take it to the cash register, can the store refuse to sell it to me at that price? The Curmudgeonly Clerk recently addressed a similar question, ... [permalink: 04.05.26a.htm]

05.26b Gingrich on the Rogue State Department; Multilateralism vs. Unilateralism; Process vs. Substance. Newt Gingrich has a very good article, "Rogue State Department," Foreign Policy, p. 42 (July/August 2003). It's not on the web, but a related, inferior, speech of his is "Transforming the State Department". In the Foreign Policy article ... [permalink: 04.05.26b.htm]

05.26c Business School Objectives. Business schools pay too much attention to keeping MBA students happy. To be sure, that is worthy goal, but it is not important in itself, nor is it important indirectly because it is profitable, unless the means employed are cheap. As The Economist writes, ... [permalink: 04.05.26c.htm]

05.25a The Duties of a President-Judge; Easterbrook, Amelia, and Elizabeth at ALEA; Running Conferences. One morning at the American Law and Economics Association conference I brought my two girls-- Amelia, aged five, and Elizabeth, three-- to Northwestern Law School to see where I'd been spending my time while we were visiting Chicago. As we came in, we passed Frank Easterbrook, ... [permalink: 04.05.25a.htm]

05.25b Just Links, for Lack of Time to Comment.
Sasha Issenberg's destruction of David Brooks's credibility.

The If Microsoft Made Cars joke.

The requirement of various state Democratic Party's requirement that a certain fraction of their delegates be homosexuals-- 10% for California, for example.

Derbyshire on homosexuality

The Curmudgeonly Clerk, very clearly and in great detail, on how liberals criticize Scalia but no other judge for the same kind of conduct.

05.24a The Philosophic Underpinnings of Conservatism and Liberalism. At the Volok h Conspiracy and elsewhere, Jacob Levy, Steve Postrel, Jonah Goldberg, Matt Yglesias and others have been discussing the topic of the philosophic roots of conservatism and of liberalism. It's a bit dismaying to me, because I realize that neither of them have really clear philosophic roots, and I'm not sure whether I do myself. ... [permalink: 04.05.24a.htm]

05.24b Jobs as a Stupid Goal of Government Policy. Something that probably needs a chapter in my Economic Regulation and Social Regulation book is the stupidity of job creation as a social goal. This is one of those things on which all economists are agreed, but nobody else understands. The conventional wisdom is that one of government's most important goals, whether at the local, state, or national levels, is to create jobs. ... [permalink: 04.05.24b.htm]

05.23a The Meaning of Bible Names. The sermon at ECC today, by Pastor Mangrum, was on Genesis 3. He talked about pain and our desire to avoid both its harmful and beneficial effects (note how Cain expressed no regret for Abel's death, only fear that he himself would be murdered), but I happened to think that it would be good to compile a list of the meanings of names. Here is a start, ... [permalink: 04.05.23a.htm]

05.23b Costs versus Prices in Ethics. A basic point in economics is that cost and prices are different. I might pay a price of $50 for a meal that only cost $20 to produce, even though the economic definition of cost-- the value of resources used to produce something-- includes a return to capital. An implication is that although the individual buying the meal will look at the $50 price, the loss in resources to society from the meal is only $30, because the other $20 is merely a transfer, the restaurant gaining what the diner pays, rather than being a social cost. In looking at whether the transaction is efficient or not, the economist asks whether the benefit is greater than the cost, not whether it is greater than the price. Thus, if the diner's benefit from the meal is $40, it was efficient for him to eat it, even though from a personal point of view he has made a mistake. ... [permalink: 04.05.23b.htm]

05.23c Our Nights Out; Music for the Fall of Constantinople. We do lead an odd life. Typical Rasmusen date nights: Last week: eat at one of the two or three Tibetan restaurants in town, go to an art gallery featuring a cake decorating exhibit, and end up looking at the giant new Target buying diapers. This week: go to the Canada House to see how various designers show their stuff in renovating the Japanese garden and hobbit- style underground mansion with castle tower lost by a Lilly heiress who squandered her fortune, have a rushed supper at a Chinese noodle house, and go to the BLEMF opening concert, commemmorating the 551st anniversary of the Fall of Constantinople on May 29, 1453. ... [permalink: 04.05.23c.htm]

05.22a Commas; Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves. "The use of commas cannot be learned by rule," says Sir Ernest Gowers, as quote by Lynne Truss on page 82 of Eats, Shoots & Leaves (where does he say it? She doesn't give a citation! She ought to, on the book website at least, and so I will tell her by email.) I came across one of the controversial situations this past week in reading over the copyedits of my "The Economics of Agency Law and Contract Formation," for the American Law and Economics Review. ... [permalink: 04.05.22a.htm]

05.21a A Sad Story of Palestinian Atrocities: The Murder of the Four Hatuel Girls. This is a sad story worth keeping in mind when we think about the enemies of America and about those who criticize American actions. ... [permalink: 04.05.21a.htm]

My archives are available in two forms. A list of post titles arranged by subject is at http://www.rasmusen.org/w/archive.htm. The older dates of the file you are reading now, arranged by date, is at http://www.rasmusen.org/w/a.htm. You can also use the search engine at the top of this page.

Eric Rasmusen, Bloomington, Indiana. Comments: Erasmusen@Yahoo.com. Address: http://www.rasmusen.org/w/0.htm.