Gongol.com Archives: March 2007
Brian Gongol

March 14, 2007

Graphics Graphic of the day: Battle Group

The American Way "Five good reasons to support a US-New Zealand free trade agreement"
Or, how about just one: Two freedom-loving countries with free-market economies ought to be able to trade with one another freely. Especially when the two countries have gotten along well for over half a century. If the only reason we don't have a free-trade agreement between us is because of a dispute over nuclear-powered naval vessels, then that's just stupid.

Socialism Doesn't Work Cigarettes and organized crime: It's not a coincidence
High cigarette taxes lead to smuggling and crime. Moreover, the taxes don't have to be absolutely high -- just relatively so compared to taxes in neighboring places. Hence, high taxes in Canada lead to smuggling from the US. Pigovian taxes (or sin taxes) have serious limitations that their boosters too often ignore. That's not to say that they don't have a place -- in fact, Pigovian taxes are often better than regulations -- but they're no panacea.

Business and Finance More stock-market instability
But anyone who follows the sort of value-investing rules laid down by Benjamin Graham shouldn't be worried: If you always buy at a discount to what a security ought to be worth, then day-to-day vagaries don't mean anything.

Humor and Good News German brothel offers senior citizens' discount
50% off for customers over age 65. The makers of Viagra must be overjoyed.

Iowa Iowa state senator busted for extortion
State Senator Matt McCoy (currently vice chair of the appropriations committee) has been indicted on charges of extortion for demanding money to help a friend get a state Medicaid contract

Water News Wildfire season already underway

Humor and Good News "What do you call someone who doesn't just read 'Auto Trader' for the articles?"

The American Way Greatest social benefit of photo-sharing: Seeing "foreigners" as individuals
Photo-sharing sites like Flickr, Smugmug, Zoto, Photobucket, Fotolog, and Pbase are obviously intended to produce a profit for their owners and a convenient method of exchanging images among their users. But socially, there's a huge amount of value in seeing people from other parts of the world not as "India" but as people in India, or not just as "Cambodians," but as individuals in Cambodia. It's helpful to reinforce the notion of people as individuals, each with unique needs and hopes. It's the fundamental foundation of liberty. Thus, when Iranian officials accuse the US of cultural warfare, Americans need to keep cool heads and remember that we need to peacefully persuade the people of Iran that we're concerned about their dignity, too.

Broadcasting "American Idol" contestants don't have to win to get airplay

@briangongolbot on Twitter