Thursday, November 26, 2009

SPAIN is the new sick man of Europe, says The Economist.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

BE CAREFUL because the story about the man who supposedly was 23 years in coma but conscious could be a fake: read this and especially this. Certainly I'm not qualified to judge this. Any doctor around?

UPDATE (Nov 26): Michael Shermer comments too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

WEB SITE STORY: cleverly funny.

THIS IS almost like Johnny Got His Gun:
A car crash victim diagnosed as being in a coma for the past 23 years has been conscious the whole time.

Rom Houben was paralysed but had no way of letting doctors know that he could hear every word they were saying.

'I dreamed myself away,' said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent vegatative state.

He added: 'I screamed, but there was nothing to hear.'

It must have been a real nightmare.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

WHAT A GREAT IDEA to raise the EU's stature: put two virtual unknowns in charge!

A TOAST FOR THAT! "Drinking alcohol every day cuts the risk of heart disease in men by more than a third, a major study suggests."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Obama's Home Teleprompter Malfunctions During Family Dinner

I CAN'T BELIEVE someone like Bruce Bartlett could manage to write such a stupid thing:
In 1944, the Austrian economist F.A. Hayek published an extraordinarily influential book, The Road to Serfdom. In it, he argued that liberalism eventually leads to totalitarianism; that is, once a nation has embarked on the creation of a welfare state, there is no natural limit to the size of government until it controls everything, socialism becomes pervasive and political freedom evaporates.

It is an argument that made sense at the time Hayek made it. Liberals were indeed soft on communism in those days and engaged in a massive expansion of government throughout Europe. In England, where Hayek was living when he wrote his book, much private industry was being nationalized, cradle-to-grave welfare programs were being instituted and many of those advocating such measures were not shy about pointing to the Soviet Union as a model to follow.

Since Hayek's book appeared, it has been an article of faith among American conservatives and libertarians that every expansion of government is a step on the slippery slope to totalitarianism. National health insurance today, the gulag tomorrow, many of those on the right genuinely believe, often citing Hayek in support.

Consequently, it is axiomatic that Europe, which is much further along the road to a welfare state than the U.S., is also further along the road to socialism and totalitarianism. Thus it is a grave insult among conservatives for one to be accused of wanting to Europeanize the American economy. It is only a small step removed from being called a communist or Marxist. The difference is only one of degree.

I am often accused of wanting to Europeanize America these days--my friend Larry Kudlow always says so--because I think the magnitude of our fiscal problem is so large that a significant tax increase is inevitable, and that the magnitude of that tax increase is so great that we will eventually need a value-added tax because it will be impossible to get enough revenue through the income tax. Raising income tax rates enough to plug our fiscal hole would be much too debilitating, economically.

In the conservative mind, the VAT, which is embedded in the prices of goods, is the foundation upon which the European welfare state rests. Without its enormous revenue-raising capacity the Europeans never could have financed their welfare states. In short, without the VAT there would be no welfare state in Europe, government would be smaller and the threat of totalitarianism would be much less, conservatives reckon.

By advocating a VAT, I am, in effect, advocating totalitarianism, many of my friends believe. If we institute a VAT it will be like pouring gasoline on the fire of big government. It will get bigger overnight. The only thing holding this country back from having a welfare state as large as Europe's, conservatives argue, is the low level of taxation that most Americans are loath to abandon. Thus in their own minds, conservatives believe that holding the line on taxes, no matter how large the deficit, is the essential prerequisite for the preservation of liberty.

The only problem with this analysis is that it has no factual basis whatsoever. If Hayek were even remotely correct, all of Europe would be one huge gulag by this time. At the very least, Europe would be mired in poverty, growth nonexistent and freedom hanging on by the thinnest of threads.

Well, if you turn someone else's argument into a cartoon it's very easy to say it's wrong, isn't it. Or if you see the world in black and white with no shades of grey then you can't see there's the possibility that Europe is further down the road, although not so much that it's already there. Yet.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

YOANI SANCHEZ, the heroic Cuban blogger, was arrested and beaten with a friend by Castro thugs yesterday. They finally let her go and she's reasonably OK now, fortunately.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

LOL: "Congress Approves $500 Billion For Monument To Human Folly" (The Onion)

THESE VIDEOS are creepy-ish.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

THE PAIN IN SPAIN falls everywhere:
Spain’s unemployment figures are truly shocking. Almost one in every five workers is out of a job. Only Latvia faces a worse problem. The Spanish employment minister, struggling to put on a brave face, points out the rate of increase is slowing, but that is cold comfort to the millions on the dole. Spain faces a long, hard battle to get back the jobs it has lost.

At 19.3 percent in September, the jobless figure is more than double the EU average of 9.2 percent.

[...] The European Commission sees no improvement in employment for the next two years, while some economists forecast further deterioration. The government is preparing another stimulus package, this disease will be around for years to come.
Plus this:
The new jobless numbers come as the European Commission projected Tuesday that the Spanish economy won’t return to growth until 2011 and the government’s budget deficit will likely reach double digits this year and next.
Meanwhile, in a mental journey to Mars:
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has said that Spain’s economy would begin emerging from recession “at the end of this year or the beginning of 2010″, though he acknowledged that unemployment - now nearly 18 percent - would remain high for some time.
He doesn't even realize you can't really have one without the other.

CAN YOU TRUST IRAN? In a word, no:
Satellite photos indicate that Iran has increased production at a uranium mine, underscoring the need for wider UN inspections to determine whether the country is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

Evidence of stepped-up activity at the Gchine mine, near the Persian Gulf coast city of Bandar Abbas, is seen in pictures obtained by Bloomberg News and the Washington-based New America Foundation, according to four nuclear analysts who examined the images. The mine could produce enough uranium to craft at least two atomic bombs a year, experts said.

Monday, November 02, 2009

WHEN A GEEK has twins...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

THIS WILL GIVE YOU the best idea of the sorry state of education nowadays; it's from the UK, but give and take it should be the same mostly anywhere....