Gongol.com Archives: January 2007
Brian Gongol


January 10, 2007

News Indianapolis finds that city-county consolidation doesn't really save money
Merging the police department with the sheriff's office isn't going to save them any money. More evidence that city-county mergers don't really save money.

The American Way New York Times story on high-profile young economists
Unfortunately, none of them actively publish anything but their academic papers on the Internet, so the world of economics weblogs remains short by at least a few candidates

Socialism Doesn't Work The "Godless Communists"
How the Soviet Union used propaganda to convince the people to abandon religion

Threats and Hazards Singing the national anthem can get a person beaten up in San Francisco
The local paper calls it "an only-in-San Francisco story"; a bunch of a capella singers from Yale got beaten up for singing the "Star-Spangled Banner" at a New Year's Party

Iowa Cigarette-tax increase would probably increase crime, too
Some of Iowa's lawmakers want to raise the cigarette tax; Minnesota's done it already, and they're feeling the pinch from increased cigarette-related crime. Really. Not that the basic principles of economics would have suggested it or anything. Oh wait; they did. Canada's high cigarette taxes have created a black market so big that one of every ten Canadian smokers buys black-market cancer sticks. That means that the Canadian government has created an opening for crime; after all, who has the means and the incentive to sell black-market cigarettes? Organized crime. As disgusting as smoking is, and as big a public-health nuisance as it might be, criminal gangs with guns are an even bigger public-health risk. Pigouvian taxes have their limits.

Humor and Good News Is a four-story burger big enough?

Humor and Good News "The llama nation denounces your cultural insensitivity"

Socialism Doesn't Work Iowa Democrats literally make minimum-wage hike job #1
Very first bill through the door pushes the wage to $6.20 in April and $7.25 by April 2008. There are much more efficient ways of helping the poor than raising the minimum wage.

Business and Finance Indocrinate the young so they will buy your stuff later
Airlines and industrial conglomerates like GE alike sponsored some big attractions at Disney theme parks, most of which (one would assume) were intended to impress favorable brand associations into young consumers' minds. Which companies still think about impressing their brands on people who won't really buy their products for ten or twenty years? Sounds like the kind of thing that a business with a 100-year business plan would do. There aren't many of those. But while it sounds like a foreign idea, it actually makes sense to formulate a 100-year plan for a family, so a family with a successful business ought to have the same sort of foresight for the business, too.

News It may take a beauty queen to save an Iranian girl's life
Former Miss Canada is pushing a campaign to obtain the release of a 19-year-old girl who stabbed a rapist in self-defense. The girl was sentenced to death under Sharia law, and is now facing a retrial. Naturally, the campaign won't be sufficiently useful unless it also brings attention to the nature of the justice system which brought about the sentence.

The United States of America Color photos of the Great Depression
Most of the era's photos are in black and white, which makes the human suffering too easy to compartmentalize -- life isn't in black and white, so monochrome photos make it seem almost a touch fictional. But there was real suffering, and it was needlessly prolonged by bad policy. It was a huge mistake to tighten the money supply in the build-up to the stock market crash, and there's at least some reason to belive that the New Deal prolonged the Depression.

Water News Will Chicago recycle 100% of its water in 100 years?

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