Gongol.com Archives: November 2006
Brian Gongol

November 2, 2006

Gongol.com original content
The American Way Rankings for business and economics websites - 4th edition
Marginal Revolution is still by far the most-read, but Greg Mankiw's site is now #2

The American Way If you criminalize candy, only the criminals will have candy
Schools that make the idiotic decision to ban junk food shouldn't be surprised to find that some enterprising souls will probably find good ways to supply the contraband anyway, like the Candyman of Seattle. Banning junk food in schools is a dumb idea.

Socialism Doesn't Work China isn't shy about making foreign friends
The Communist country's press organ is abundant in its praise of African countries and doesn't hide the fact it's to China's strategic advantage to have friendly relations with countries that have votes in the UN and oil to sell. That's why Tony Blair's plan to engage Africa was a good idea (though there's been little said about follow-up since), and why the United States should actively seek better relations with Latin America. Just like the balance of power in the Cold War rested with the non-aligned nations, long-run security depends upon aligning countries with the agenda of economic freedom and individual liberty.

Socialism Doesn't Work If you have to mandate it, it's probably not a money-saver
EPA headline reads: "EPA proposes gasoline- and money-saving rules for gas distributors". But that's probably misleading; without knowing anything too detailed about the issue at hand, it's probably still a safe guess that if the EPA has to mandate the behavior to get the private sector to do it, it really isn't money-saving. So let the subject rise or fall on its own merits, but don't mislead people about how the government can "save you money." The profit motive does that quite well on its own.

Humor and Good News "Halp us Jon Carry"
Hilarious retort to Sen. Kerry's very ill-advised joke

Iowa Alternative certifications for teachers
Iowa is thinking about resolving the apparent teacher shortage by allowing non-teaching professionals to obtain teaching licenses in high-demand areas like math and science. It's a case where both sides are doing something wrong: School districts, like any kind of organization, can end shortages easily by paying more...but many of them are too busy padding administrators' salaries and ignoring basic economics to understand that basic matter. The teachers' unions, on the other hand, say they oppose alternative certifications but only do so because government licensure is a classic means of restricting others' entry into a market...they're trying to artificially inflate teaching wages by keeping other people out of the market. It's all nonsense, really.

Water News Nebraska governor signs Platte River Cooperative Agreement

News NATO to focus on reconstruction in Afghanistan over the winter
Probably a very smart move -- especially given the troop shortage. Improving the quality of life may help attract the support of locals.

News Pennsylvania town wants to block illegal immigrants through zoning
But the secondary consequence of that very likely is to create a sense of fear and distance between the majority and the Latino minority -- which includes many legal residents. Not every problem requires a new law: The rule of unintended consequences is at play all the time, as when the tobacco settlement led to "anti-smoking" TV ads funded by the tobacco companies that appear to actually encourage smoking.

Broadcasting Is the Fairness Doctrine destined to come back?
The combined influence of online writers and (mostly conservative) talk radio may be sufficient incentive for a prospective Democratic majority in Congress to think about trying to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine. That would run contrary to the First Amendment.

Graphics Dissonance