Gongol.com Archives: February 2007
Brian Gongol

February 13, 2007

Broadcasting Today's radio show notes

Computers and the Internet It's Patch Tuesday

Graphics Graphic of the day: Public Transit
Related: Subway logos of the world

Health New drug reduces breast-cancer death rates by 17%
Outstanding news -- truly outstanding

News North Korea may shut down its main nuclear reactor
That would be good, since it's the one behind all the fury over their nuclear-weapons program. Meanwhile, President Bush swears he doesn't have it in for Iran.

Weather and Disasters Tornado hits New Orleans overnight
Noteworthy because a woman was killed in a FEMA trailer. Trailers and mobile homes are notoriously hazardous in tornado-prone areas. It's just one more reason why it would have been much better for everyone if the government had moved quickly on the Katrina Cottage idea for getting New Orleans residents back on their feet rather than going with the deeply-flawed trailer approach to relief instead.

Socialism Doesn't Work What good is a chamber of commerce that campaigns for higher taxes?
The Greater Des Moines Partnership, which functions as a metro chamber of commerce, is pushing hard for Project Destiny, which would raise taxes on Des Moines-area residents. Project Destiny is a bad idea.

Iowa Should West Des Moines have more tree-lined streets?

Humor and Good News "Return to the Moon, and don't forget the chicks this time!"

Iowa Special tax treatment for energy-efficient appliances
Iowa SF 122 would exempt Energy Star-labeled appliances from state sales tax. Whomever came up with this proposal certainly has never had to deal with Iowa's already over-complicated sales-tax structure, which creates a huge uncounted deadweight loss. A related nonsensical item of legislation: HSB 168, which would create a special tax credit for insurance companies. The insurance industry is already very healthy here -- why does it merit special treatment? What about any other business? Related: Full documentation of what the Iowa Legislature is up to this year.

Iowa Refunding the state EITC would've made more sense than raising the minimum wage
Iowa HF 293 effectively creates a negative income tax on the state level, which is a vastly more efficient way of helping poor families than raising the minimum wage, which was a prominent mistake undertaken early in this legislative session. Unfortunately, they're also considering funding a big "living wage" study, which isn't really necessary. "Living wage" laws create unemployment. It makes much more sense to invest in improving workers' skills and educational levels than to try to enforce artificially high wages.

Socialism Doesn't Work A greenhouse-gas registry? Why?
The Iowa Senate is looking at SF 133, which would create a registry of all "stationary and nonstationary" sources of "water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone." Creating more regulations isn't the answer to reducing air pollution or wasteful energy consumption.

Iowa The quixotic task of keeping politicians from over-spending
Iowa HF 297 would require that any money raised from a tobacco-tax increase be used to fund the state's health-care fund. While it's probably a better plan than letting that tobacco money go into the general fund (which just means politicians become addicted to smokers' bad habits), the bigger issue is that big increases in tobacco taxes have the unintended consequence of subsidizing crime.

Broadcasting Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise to do grown-up "Hardy Boys" movie

Humor and Good News Song for a bad day at work
A delightful little ditty for those days when you've had just about enough of everyone else, plus a whole slew of remixes ("Goose Extended" is the best). It's not the kind of song you ought to pump out loud on the desktop at work, but it's well worth a few minutes of laughter when no one's watching (or listening) over your shoulder.

Computers and the Internet How to wrap a headphone cord without tangles

Computers and the Internet Forget Vista: Windows Vienna is coming in two years

Water News Iowa DNR could split in half

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