Gongol.com Archives: January 2007
Brian Gongol


January 3, 2007

Socialism Doesn't Work China says foreign journalists may roam freely until the Beijing Olympics in October 2008
It's extremely hard to forecast what the quasi-glasnost will mean, but it's certain that some technological change between now and then will make it more significant than we know right now. 18 months ago, no one was visiting YouTube yet, and then it scooped the major news media with video of Saddam Hussein's execution.

Iowa Iowa judge says red-light cameras are illegal
The ruling says Davenport's red-light and speed cameras violate state code, which means this fight is headed to the Iowa Supreme Court

Humor and Good News When ads were beautiful

News Sen. Hagel hasn't decided about a Presidential run yet
There was widespread speculation on Friday that Hagel was about to announce that he would not run for President in 2008. While some Nebraskans are naturally opposed to any such idea, some others are very much in favor. Hagel, for the record, has one of the best records for free markets among the '08 pack.

Business and Finance $40 million man
The University of Alabama is going to spend about $4 million a year to try to win football games through an 8- to 10-year contract with an outgoing NFL coach. The University of Iowa already spends $2.7 million a year trying to win games, though the Alabama deal will probably have an inflationary effect throughout the market for college coaches. Some people will say that multi-million-dollar coaches' salaries are justified by the revenues they bring to their universities. But it's the same logic that justifies preposterous CEO compensation (like the $10 million severance package that JC Penney gave to a COO who was fired after just six months on the job). Yes, there are bidding wars for talent in some labor markets -- like college football coaches, or business executives -- but those bidding wars are highly inefficient for at least two reasons: First, the marginal differences in pay between performers hardly reflect marginal differences in their performance (is one coach really worth $2 million a year more than another?); and, second, the price-war cost of that labor is absurdly out of line with the actual social benefit. The governor of Iowa makes $129,000 a year, while the four top-paid state employees are four college coaches, who pulled a combined $5.9 million out of the state's till in 2006. John C. Bogle is disgusted with high CEO pay that, in essence, starves the owners (shareholders) of companies in order to feed the managers. That disgust should probably transfer over to college coaches, too.

Socialism Doesn't Work The $1,193 letter
Lawyer charges a state agency almost $1200 to write a letter to the editor.

Business and Finance Christmas over-spending will put 30,000 Britons into insolvency

News Iran through a different lens
Some beautiful photos that are useful for shattering the mental image that conflicts with Ahmadinejad put into our minds. The world is more than political conflicts on a grand scale, it's also lots of individual lives. That's not to say that the major conflicts aren't important, but that we can't forget the vitality of the ordinary lives of the six and half billion people on this planet, be they Iranian, Israeli, or anything else.

News Why don't people use compact fluorescent bulbs? Because they hurt.
Anyone who's either a committed environmentalist or a committed saver has tried them. And, in almost every known case, rejected them as well. The flicker hurts the eyes.

Computers and the Internet A month of Apple bugs

Computers and the Internet How an earthquake might've been a spam-killer
An earthquake around Christmas that knocked out important Internet connections passing through Taiwan and Hong Kong may have coincidentally cut off lots of spam that's ordinarily generated in eastern Asia. The whole region was affected, including the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea.

Water News Ethanol demand could increase corn acres by 10% or more

Graphics Phoenix on Wings

News Half an island burns down thanks to faulty stove

Humor and Good News Unlikely but amusing predictions for 200...8

Feedback link