11.16.06

R.I.P. Milton Friedman

Posted in Politics, Philosophy, Economics at 9:47 pm by Administrator

Milton Friedman

We lost another good one. Legendary laissez-faire economist Milton Friedman died today at the ripe old age of 94.

Friedman had a tremendous impact on economic policy in this country. He was also responsible for bringing ideas that many of us take for granted now, such as the connection between economic freedom and political freedom, into the mainstream consciousness.

I could stay up all night listing the rest of his accomplishments; but it’s easier to just tell you to read his Wikipedia article and its references yourself. (I’m tired, you see.)

Note that unlike many libertarians, Friedman understood the importance of compromise in pursuing political objectives. One of my favorite quotes from him summarizes it perfectly:

“I am a libertarian with a small l and a Republican with a capital R. And I am a Republican with a capital R on grounds of expediency, not on principle.”

This is probably why he was able to get so much done, unlike many of his capital L contemporaries.

P.S. I’ve added the blog of Milton Friedman’s anarcho-capitalist son, David Friedman, to my blogroll. I don’t agree with anyone David Friedman 100% of the time, but he does have some genuinely interesting insights. 

11.11.06

Saturn in the Balance

Posted in Humor, Politics, Weather, Astronomy at 10:13 am by Administrator

Saturn Storm

Astronomers are puzzling over images of what appears to be a giant hurricane-like storm on Saturn’s south pole. At five thousand miles wide, the storm is much larger than earth hurricanes. It also doesn’t move.

The astrophysicists at NASA may not yet know what caused this storm, but I already have it figured out: Since scientists haven’t seen a storm like this on Saturn before now, it must be something new. Therefore, it must be the result of global warming on Saturn. This proves that there are humans on Saturn, since we know that human activity is the only possible cause of global warming on any planet.

We can’t wait for further scientific study. Action must be taken on this now, before it’s too late. Since humans are obviously causing global warming on Saturn, someone needs to go there to show them the error of their ways. Who could be better than Earth’s foremost expert on global warming? Maybe he could even make a sequel…

Hot Saturn

An Inconvenient Truth II: Saturn in the Balance

11.02.06

Dude…

Posted in Politics at 8:47 pm by Administrator

On November 7th, voters in Nevada will have the opportunity to vote on Question 7, an initiative which would allow the sale and possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by adults 21 and older. The initiative also has provisions for licensing and taxing marijuana growers and sellers. (Those activities would still be illegal under federal law.)

The initiative is sponsored by the cunningly named Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana. That group is (well) funded by the Marijuana Policy Project - sort of the NRA of pot. Apparently the MPP thinks Nevada is a good launching point for other efforts across the country.

Opposing Question 7 is a group called The Committee to Keep Nevada Respectable (I’m not making this up.). Interestingly enough, that group is funded primarily by several casino companies. (I guess being a degenerate gambler is respectable.)

This puzzles me. I would think legalizing cannabis in Nevada would give the state the same sort of competitive edge it had when gambling was illegal almost everywhere else. Doesn’t the “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” campaign emphasize the “Sin City” aspects of the Las Vegas experience? Are they afraid legal pot would be one vice too many? Maybe they’ve seen The Godfather too many times:

“…I believe this drug business — is gonna destroy us in the years to come. I mean, it’s not like gambling or liquor — even women — which is something that most people want nowadays, and is ah forbidden to them…” -Vito Corleone 

Actually, I suspect the casino companies realize that a significant portion of their clientele is composed of people who saw Reefer Madness in its first run and actually believe all the Drug War propaganda they’ve been exposed to throughout their lives. If Nevada became a pot Mecca, the over 70 crowd might decide Atlantic City is a better place to blow their life savings.

Whatever the case, I sincerely hope the measure passes (and they evade the feds somehow). I’m no more a fan of the stoner lifestyle than I am of the alcoholic, gambling-addict, whoremonger, Frank Sinatra lifestyle that the casino companies approve of. However, I don’t believe any of those things should be illegal simply because they are not for me (in excess anyway).

P.S. If the measure passes, remember: “What happens in Vegas can stay in your system for up to two weeks.” Be wary of urine tests.

 UPDATE:

The measure was defeated. (Nevada gets to stay respectable.) However, 44% of the voters were in favor of it. This indicates a definite trend in public opinion toward cannabis legalization. I strongly suspect that something like Question 7 will pass within the next decade if not sooner.