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Modern Cuba - NOT READY

Last year Catallarchy presented a look at Che Guevara, one of the heroes of communist Cuba and a source of endless woe for what remained of Cuban liberalism after the revolution. We covered the ruthlessness by which the country was turned into a large experiment in poverty, degradation, and terror. This year we'll examine modern Cuba.

Fidel Castro’s communist regime blames the U.S. embargo for all of Cuba’s problem. No liberal could deny the injustice of the embargo, but Cuba’s problems go much deeper than that. Read more »


\"the menace of people carrying 5 grams of pot\"

Over at LRC, Ryan McMaken says what I'd want to say about the U.S. reaction to Mexico's new law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of some drugs. Preview:


I shouldn\'t have to mention that the times, they are a-changin\'

Via Rad Geek, angry alternative paper guy Tim Redmond shows what a cozy part of Old Media alternative weeklies are. The target of his ire? craigslist. Read more »


How he learned to stop worrying and love the <i>Volk</i>

When people think of the anti-immigration movement today, we think of conservatives. Sure, Cesar Chavez and his union brethren were and are just as opposed to immigration as the next guy, but the movement is dominated by scared old white people. The types who get indignant when they see Spanish written anywhere. The types whose Arizona branches think that the best use of their time is to sit on lawn chairs in the desert waiting for 21st century Pilgrims to nab. The types who don't want to speak with a tech support Indian even if he's perfectly intelligible.

Perhaps I'm being a little harsh, but this faction of the anti-immigration movement is enormous, organized, and the slightly more academically acceptable faction knows better than to leave it by the wayside. They know which side their bread is buttered on.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me to know that the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies—real closed-door types—were founded or cofounded by "a self-described progressive, ex-Sierra Club member, Planned Parenthood supporter and harsh critic of neoclassical economists."

Dr. John Tanton was a devoted conservationist who got swept up by the bad science and worse economics of the Population Bomb scare. He eventually determined that the best way to keep the population under control was to curb immigration. He tried for several years to get environmental groups behind the effort, but with no success. Read more »


A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy

While we're questioning the frequency of bad things, what makes us think that gibberish masquerading as science doesn't get accepted all the time, as it did in the case of three MIT students who wrote a paper full of nonsense with a computer program that was accepted by the submission reviewers for the 2005 World Multi-Conference of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics?


Criminals with badges do time!

Finally a Drug War horror story with a happy ending: a bunch of thugs with badges invade a guy's house, beat him up, and threaten him with torture. But because his wife had the foresight to hide an audio recorder, these criminals go to jail!

Not-so-happy conclusion: what makes us think that this kind of thing doesn't happen all the time, all across the country? Read more »


The green movement turns over a new leaf

I can't vouch for the science behind this article, but at least the author takes a dynamist perspective about bettering the environment.


The War to End All Wars to End All Wars

While I'm glad that somebody somewhere in the CIA thinks it's his job to find and prosecute foreign terrorists, I think I've heard of an effort like this before:

The guilty deserve to be swept up, but we're fooling ourselves if we think that finding the right number of individuals to blame will stop terrorism. We can't eliminate it entirely, but there are much better ways to diminish it.


The Passion of the Code

It finally hit me as I was talking to my roommate: the reason why there's so much fuss about the upcoming Da Vinci Code movie.

Certain religious groups got really, really into The Passion of the Christ. I'm talking soundtracks, books, necklaces, all kinds of secondary stuff. Most people didn't get into it, and considered it basically just another controversial movie. Read more »


Most of the news that\'s fit to print

The news in brief, straight from my aggregator:

Militant left-wing radicals are a threat to culture everywhere. This time they've stolen Böögg, a sacrificial Swiss snowman.

The Hamas-Israel row is threatening Palestinian archaeology. (Or is Hamdan Taha, director of the Palestinian Authority's Department of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage, the real problem?) Read more »


Stats and more stats

I can't offer enough thanks to Alex Tabarrok for bringing to my attention the fantastic statistics database that is NationMaster and its new companion site StateMaster. If I ever get any work done again I'll be surprised.

Examples:

  • Iceland has the highest number of films produced per capita.

...the weller they fall.

News that makes me doubly happy: the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by some blowhard alleging infringement of his trademarked name by a website opposed to some of his bad ideas, and that particular blowhard was anti-gay Jerry Falwell. Read more »


The Boulder Elephant

A trip over to Walter in Denver's blog paid off immediately, with this post about the nature of government at all levels, even the usually weaker local one.

Megan Forbes cooled her heels in jail for a few hours Sunday, long enough for her to rue installing the wrong kind of garage door behind her historic home and then failing to answer a summons on the municipal violation.

New Lifers in the Philippines

Good news from the Philippines: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is commuting the sentences of all death row inmates in the Philippines. They're not all exactly official yet, because she can only commute death sentences that have been stamped by the Supreme Court, but "[h]er justice minister said the government would commute all future death sentences as well." Even though she appears to be motivated only by politics, the result is the same.

Related but different point from the same story: Read more »


On Wednesday I had the pleasure of hearing Richard Ebeling speak at a luncheon held by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.