Gongol.com Archives: December 2006
Brian Gongol

December 4, 2006

Socialism Doesn't Work Chavez wins re-election
He calls it a firm mandate for socialism, which is profoundly unfortunate: A free, prosperous Latin America would be good for the US and for the world. But even more importantly, Venezuelan socialism is bound to hurt many of the people it professes to help.

Weather and Disasters Tokyo is at even greater risk than New Orleans

News Prudent self-censorship is wise
Someone probably should've noticed the moderately off-putting similarities between the Tom Vilsack for President campaign logo and several less-desirable "V" logos, including the "1984" Ingsoc emblem, the slashed "V for Vendetta", and the cover of "Slaughterhouse-Five". It's decidedly different from most campaign logos, to be sure, but perhaps not in the right way.

Water News Inadequate clean water is the #2 killer of children

Graphics Christmas, Don't Be Late

Computers and the Internet Free riders (and some ungrateful louts) abound
Greg Mankiw, a Harvard professor and former chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, keeps a public website in which he comments daily on on news and economics. The consumer surplus from a person like this sharing his thoughts with the public at large -- at no cost -- are certainly huge. But, even though everyone visiting his site is a free rider, at least three different doofuses have taken the time to complain -- in the comments section of Mankiw's own site -- about what he chooses to write about and how he doesn't respond sufficiently to their demands. That's why public comment sections are rarely worth their salt -- even if they don't attract Communist Party hacks.

The United States of America Katrina recovery much too slow
FEMA says 30,000 families are still in trailers, with 250 families vacating trailers (presumably to move into rebuilt or new homes) each week. But if that's the pace, it'll take 120 weeks (or more than two years) to get everyone back into permanent housing. That's ridiculous. Narratives of life in FEMA trailers suggest that they're uncomfortable, cramped, and unsecure. There's absolutely no reason for this -- an elegant and brilliant alternative to the trailers was invented in the Katrina Cottage, which costs less than a FEMA trailer and can be built quickly using fabricated parts. There's nothing dehumanizing about prefab homes (thousands of Sears catalog homes are still standing today), but there's something distinctly wrong with a "temporary" housing situation like the FEMA trailers that forces hundreds of families to live practically as nomads, being forced out of trailer parks but simultaneously being unable to return to their properties. The longer people remain displaced, the longer it will take to rebuild communities. That means human suffering and a loss of social capital. If safe, permanent housing can be quickly built at lower cost than that of housing evacuees in "temporary" trailers for years, then what's the obstacle? The enormous Katrina diaspora can't be reversed if no one's rebuilding.

Aviation News Big worldwide shortage of wide-body planes
Travel demand continues to rise and Airbus can't get its act together delivering its new super-ridiculous A380, so there's a serious shortage in effect

News NCAA Division III team scores 201 points in a single basketball game

The American Way December 4, 2006 Carnival of the Capitalists