Gongol.com Archives: February 2007
Brian Gongol

February 5, 2007

Graphics Graphic of the day: Wispy

Weather and Disasters Tornadoes kill 19 in Florida: Nation shocked
Floods kill same number in Indonesia and leave 340,000 people homeless: World doesn't notice. All other things being equal, natural disasters are always worse for the poor. Poverty kills; economic growth (not socialism) is a lifesaver.

Iowa A proposal for a mini-Medicare prescription drug plan
Iowa HF 204 would instruct the state's human services agency to go after pharmaceutical companies for discount pricing and create a prescription card program for Iowa residents. When, pray tell, will the vilification of pharmaceutical manufacturers end? If the state can single them out for strong-arm tactics, what industries are next? Petroleum? Insurance? Cable TV? Water treatment equipment?

Iowa Useless mandates on "parent participation" in schools
Iowa HF 195 would require every school district to come up with a policy on "parent involvement" in schools. What's the point, really? Parents who value their children's futures will participate, and bad parents won't, regardless of whatever policies their school districts write up. The bill reads as nothing more than an empty mandate; never mistake motion for action".

Health British farmers kill 160,000 turkeys over bird flu

Business and Finance Steve Jobs and the Beatles decide to get along
Apple, Inc. has apparently been in a long-running trademark dispute with "Apple Corps," the record company founded by the band in 1968. Who knew they'd been fighting? Related: "Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults".

Threats and Hazards Kids show disturbing effects of war
The question remains: Are they better off than they were under a murderous dictator? In the long run, will they grow up to be good or bad?

Iowa Why should taxpayers subsidize political campaigns?
Iowa HSB 105 would establish a state fund for "clean elections." What for? The apparent obsession with campaign finances and regulations that's infecting the Iowa Legislature is both baffling and troubling. The real problem with elections is not that there's too much money involved, but that there's too little educated participation by regular voters. Voter disengagement can't be remedied by changing the finance laws.

The United States of America What if the mothers at Beslan had been armed?
The school siege may not have been averted by well-armed parents, but there's a reason for the Second Amendment. Part of a rather large gallery of pro-gun images, like "Celebrate Eastern European History Month".

Computers and the Internet Text-messaging websites for mobile phones
Links to the sites for sending text messages through the Internet to Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Verizon Wireless subscribers

The American Way What oil executives should say when dragged to testify before Congress
Ben Stein thoughtfully points out the contrary to most prevailing attitudes about oil companies, including some level-headed observations on the environmental effects of petroleum consumption. There are certainly some negative side-effects caused by oil consumption (obviously, or else it wouldn't be dangerous to suck on a tailpipe). But neither the President's regulatory proposals nor the notion of higher energy taxes seems like a satisfactory and efficient way to reduce consumption. What's wrong with offering innovation prizes instead?

Socialism Doesn't Work Right-to-work laws under fire in both Iowa and Nebraska
In Nebraska, it's LB 57. In Iowa, it's taking form as SSB 1120. In both cases, the law would allow unions to extract payments from non-union members for their "fair share" of union representation. That's patently absurd: In Britain, political parties require their members to pay dues; should those parties be able to extract dues from non-party members for their "fair share" of legislation passed on their behalf? The notion is ridiculous to the notion of freedom of association. Should websites and newspapers start sending bills to non-subscribers for their "fair share" of news coverage? Related: The Iowa Legislative Scorecard.

Iowa Selling pirated DVDs on eBay does not make you a "budding Internet entrepreneur"

Water News Nebraska Unicam considers expanding grant program to small communities

News Vladimir Putin travels in style
The Russian equivalent of Air Force One is opulent to say the least -- silk-lined walls and gold-plated fixtures everywhere. Perhaps not quite the same as a cruise ship, but over-done nonetheless.

Aviation News Snowplow and 737 have close call in Denver
The plane nearly hit the plow on Friday. They missed each other by 200 feet, which isn't much for a plane traveling at 150 mph. Related: A list of every 737 that's been scrapped and why it had to be done away with.

Humor and Good News What could have come of Grossman
That is, if the Bears had actually won the Super Bowl, like they would have in a just universe

Weather and Disasters The revised wind-chill index
Especially relevant given today's cold snap in Iowa

Health H5N1 bird flu confirmed in UK

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