Gongol.com Archives: August 2019

Brian Gongol


August 13, 2019

Agriculture Irrigation-vs.-non-irrigation gap grows

Irrigation is making an increasing difference in the amount of food farmers can grow.

News Should Britain extend citizenship to nationals living in Hong Kong?

The chair of the Parliamentary foreign-affairs committee suggests the move, which is a bold proposal well worth a careful look.

News Government needs governors who are skeptical of their own power

Margaret Thatcher: "I believe implicitly that you can never make people good by law, but only from something inside them."

News Journalism, not stenography

When reporters use Twitter as their substitute notepads, they may unintentionally amplify messages that they shouldn't. For example, some of the President's more outrageous quotes are reported in good faith, and probably with the intention of conveying a sense of "Can you believe he's saying this nonsense?". But the unintended consequence is that the insults, slurs, and unfounded claims end up getting more eyeballs.

Humor and Good News Why Chicago has a U-boat

Chicago has always possessed a self-determination about it that really has no peer. It is not infrequently manifested in schemes to do things that would otherwise seem quite mad. See: Reversing the Chicago River and raising the entire city.

News Protests in Hong Kong shut down the airport

What a display. It's hard not to be inspired by the people of Hong Kong right now.

News Sen. Bernie Sanders goes after the Washington Post

The Senator suggests that his criticisms of Amazon have led to bad coverage of him in the Washington Post. Wasn't it Harry Truman who said "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog"?

Weather and Disasters Have the tornadoes shifted north?

Curiously, with the normal peak of tornado season now in the rear-view mirror, it's notable that the Twin Cities office of the National Weather Service has issued twice as many tornado warnings as the Des Moines office.

Broadcasting This is what a role model looks like

When racist viewers attack the people who make the local news

The United States of America The net economic benefits of immigration

On the most basic level, it's wise to subscribe to a fundamental preference for maximum freedom of movement for people, money, goods, and ideas. Unrestricted movement? Probably impossible. But seek to maximize their free movement within the prevailing constraints. ■ People don't lose their skill sets when they move. And as Ryan Avent has argued, moving to a place with abundant social capital (like the United States) often makes the very same person radically more productive, overnight. Immigrants and refugees included. ■ Anyone with historical literacy should recognize that the Homestead and Land-Grant Acts were major government efforts to increase the economic potential of unskilled populations (including immigrants and freed slaves) -- almost 160 years ago. Many of us today are descendants. ■ So we ought to be much more concerned with projects to maximize people's access to self-improvement, no matter where they came from, than we should ever be interested in closing the door on immigrants. Our economy has never been a zero-sum game; it's a lot more loaves-and-fishes. ■ In the end, the moral case for immigration -- for America as a destination for free people and as a shining city on a hill -- is by far the most important and persuasive case. Even if it cost us extra to welcome immigrants, on net, it would probably be a price worth paying.


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