Gongol.com Archives: December 2006
Brian Gongol

December 18, 2006

Agriculture Group wants $150,000 to fund a "Borlaug Learning Center"
To honor the nation's latest Congressional Gold Medal winner. Certainly more worthy than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though it should (like all such projects) get its money from the public through voluntary contributions, not Congressional pork.

The American Way December 18, 2006 Carnival of the Capitalists
Some of the best: What the latest Nobel prize-winner thinks, who's out to get Google in China, and how North Korea is scamming the insurance business.

Socialism Doesn't Work Chinese goats ruining America's air quality
Huge consumer demand for cashmere (which is raised more in China than anywhere else) has contributed to over-grazing by the goats, which in turn has led to measurable desertification and air pollution which has reached measurable levels in the United States. What's missing from the news article is whether the herdsmen who keep the goats have any legal title to the land they graze. It certainly sounds as though they don't, since the desertification process sounds like a classic (in fact, textbook) example of the tragedy of the commons. If no one owns the land, no one has any incentive to protect it for the long term and everyone has every incentive to exploit it in the short term. That's how these things tend to happen. Rural Scotland (where other cashmere goats are raised) hasn't suffered desertification, and that's certainly (at least in part) due to the fact that land there is privately owned.

The American Way When governments compete, you win
Competition among governments to provide the right sets of benefits at the right costs is an important reason why city-county mergers and consolidations are rarely good ideas. Bigger government units tend to become less efficient in part because they seek to win the votes of many special-interest groups, each of which takes more out of the system than it puts back in. Diffuse costs and concentrated benefits, if you will. Compound that upon the effect government consolidations have on making contract competition less effective, and it's possible to see why smaller governments -- both in size and in geographic scope -- tend to be better for the public as a whole.

News Transparency as a means to better security

Graphics Morning Rising

Water News Ag looking at Conservation Reserve acres to ease corn shortage

Humor and Good News Why do lawyers get a bad rap?

The United States of America Senator Obama: A nice guy, maybe, but "a deep innocence of history, or a slippery approach to the facts"
His economic attitudes as a Presidential candidate are just about as awful as they could be

Humor and Good News "Kos has won again in the North American Champion Bore Awards"
"Insta, Kos, Poweline, Malkin etc. set the tone because hundreds of thousands of cretins link to and imitate this solemn rubbish." Ha and amen.

Broadcasting CBC gets more funding from advertising than Canadian taxpayers
Naturally, the question arises: Then why do they need public funding at all? Governments shouldn't pay for domestic broadcasting: It's just as bad for taxpayer dollars to be paid for some things to be broadcast and not others as it is for governments to tell people what they can and can't say. Governments have every reason to broadcast internationally.

Aviation News US flight patterns as a music video
Creating art from data