Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
All the world’s a stage,One of Shakespeare's greatest passages. Delightful.
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many, parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the shining school-boy, with his stachel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel...
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
There's never enough money for city government, which needs to go on a diet.
The city of Boston has hired more than a thousand new employees in the last four years, driving up personnel costs by 25 percent and drawing criticism from a fiscal watchdog group that warns that the city needs to keep a lid on hiring.
A report released yesterday by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, a business-funded, nonprofit organization, says that the School Department has added 658 positions since 2004, the Police Department hired 266 employees, and the Fire Department hired 78. The total city workforce is now 17,075.
The additional employees, combined with increases in the cost of health insurance, pensions, raises, and other benefits, meant that the city's personnel spending grew to $1.6 billion, an increase of $312.5 million. Personnel costs now represent 69 percent of the city's total budget.
Boston officials defended the growing payroll as necessary to respond to vital city needs.
Monday, July 21, 2008
"Scientists say they have found a workable way of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater. And they think it has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, reports Cath O'Driscoll in SCI's Chemistry & Industry magazine published today."Would this ever work?
Column after column could be filled with the ways the Massachusetts political class and its hangers-on play taxpayers for suckers - the gold-plated tax breaks for moviemakers, the insanely lucrative sick-time buybacks, the indefensible police details, the public-sector-only paid holidays, the "temporary" tax hikes that last forever, the state budgets that keep growing even as family budgets shrink.Are you angry yet?
It will never end - not until the suckers get riled up enough to fight back. Not until they start throwing incumbents out of office, instead of blindly reelecting them. Not until they stop letting themselves be treated as ATMs for politicians and doormats for public-employee unions. Not until they force their public "servants" to defer to them, instead of the other way around.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Although Conan O'Brien will take over The Tonight Show in 2009, Leno says he isn't ready to permanently trade his sports coat for mechanic's overalls.
"I am definitely done next year — with NBC," he says, sitting in a huge recliner in his poster-strewn shop office. Would he go to another network? Leno just smiles. "I'm not a beach guy, and the last time I was in my pool was to fix a light. Don't worry, I'll find a job somewhere."
In the meantime, he'll keep coming here in between the more than 160 stand-up dates he does each year. For Leno, Hollywood's gifts are fickle, but his automotive family — from his machines to the half-dozen mechanics who work for him — grounds him in a reality that recalls his New England roots.
"In showbiz, your success is totally subjective. 'Oh, the ratings are great, we love you. Oh, they're not, we don't love you,' " he says, waving a hand dismissively. "Here in the shop, if something is broken and you fix it, you know you can be proud."
Friday, July 18, 2008
McCain has deviated from his party’s conservative base on several occasions (McCain-Feingold Bill, Gang of 14, McCain-Kennedy Bill, opposition to torture). Obama has voted the left-wing line every single time, and been designated the most liberal Senator in Congress.When pray tell, has Obama ever shifted from liberal orthodoxy?
Thursday, July 17, 2008
In a homily, the Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, president of Catholic University, told the mourners: 'The measure of this man's life can be found in his character, in his optimism, in his joy and humor, in his courage, in his passion for what was good and right, and in his love for God and family and neighbor and country. Tony snow did not need a long life for us to measure. It was, rather, we who needed his life to be longer.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
The current world food crisis is not the long predicted signal of Malthusian overpopulation. Instead, it is the result of political Malthusianism, that is, a series of government policy failures that are preventing farmers from growing the food demanded by the world's hungry billions.Get that? It's about government failure, not "market failure."
English became the global language because Britain spread its mother tongue through colonization and trade. And the U.S. sailed capitalism, ambition, a tireless work habit, fairness, justice, the rule of law and a rigorous military defense against tyranny to the top of the world. It's not fashionable to say so in the circles that Obama travels in, but the power and universality of the English language confirm — and strengthen — America's way of life.
Monday, July 07, 2008
After being lionized by many as the human face of the U.S. effort to rebuild a troubled Iraq, Dwyer brought the battlefield home with him, often grappling violently with delusions that he was being hunted by Iraqi killers.
His internal terror got so bad that, in 2005, he shot up his El Paso, Texas, apartment and held police at bay for three hours with a 9-mm handgun, believing Iraqis were trying to get in.
Last month, on June 28, police in Pinehurst, N.C., who responded to Dwyer's home, said the 31-year-old collapsed and died after abusing a computer cleaner aerosol. Dwyer had moved to North Carolina after living in Texas.
Dwyer, who joined the Army two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and who was assigned to a unit of the 3rd Infantry Division that one officer called "the tip of the tip of the spear" in the first days of the U.S. invasion, had since then battled depression, sleeplessness and other anxieties that military doctors eventually attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.
The war that made him a hero at 26 haunted him to the last moments of his life.
"He loved the picture, don't get me wrong, but he just couldn't get over the war," his mother, Maureen Dwyer, said by telephone from her home in Sunset Beach, N.C. "He wasn't Joseph anymore. Joseph never came home."
An April report by the Rand Corp. said serious gaps in treatment exist for the 1 in 5 U.S. troops who exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or depression following service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Half of those troops who experience the disorder sought help in the past year, the report said, and those who did often got "minimally adequate treatment."
"He went away to inpatient treatments, none of it worked," his father, Patrick Dennis Dwyer, said. "And the problem is there are not adequate resources for post-traumatic stress syndrome."
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Thursday, July 03, 2008
I've discovered just one problem with my elegant libertarian philosophy after spending two decades in public policy: It's terribly impractical for actually governing society. My whole quibble with libertarians can be boiled down to one banal question: What's the libertarian point of view on stoplights?Read the whole thing.
I like stoplights. More to the point, they're a simple and tangible example of how government can make us better off: They enable complete strangers to interact more safely and efficiently. Given a choice between the freedom to speed through an intersection at any time and the coercive red light, I'll tolerate the red light.
That's kind of silly, so consider a more significant example, like counterterrorism. In a world of libertarians, who finds Osama bin Laden?