From November, 2013

Plaintive Plea of the Day

Can the Obama administration please realize that the 2008 presidential election has come to an end? I mean, it’s almost 2014. I never thought I would have to put in such a request, even considering the fact that presidents of one party regularly run down predecessors of another party. It would be nice to have the Obama administration take some responsibility for its actions without shouting “George W. Bush!” at some point during the president’s second term; we were deprived of such luxuries between January 20, 2009-January 20-2013. What precisely does it take for so modest a dream to come…

That Interim Deal with Iran Sure Didn’t Last Long!

Recall the following from my post on the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (excerpted from this site): Even with improvements, the interim agreement fails to bring Iran into compliance with its key international legal obligations as spelled out in United Nations Security Council resolutions. The agreement comes closest on compliance with the resolutions’ requirement that Iran “suspend” work on “all heavy water-related projects” including “construction” of the Arak reactor. While the Geneva agreement commits Iran to refrain from the most significant activities at Arak, it does not preclude Iran from general construction work at the site. Iran will easily…

I’m Supposed to Believe that the Implementation of Obamacare Is Improving . . .

And I’m supposed to believe it based on reports like this one from Ezra Klein, who tells us the following: A spin through HealthCare.Gov this morning went smoothly. The site loaded quickly. The process progressed easily. There were no error messages or endless hangs. I didn’t complete the final step of purchasing insurance but, until then, the site worked — or at least appeared to work — exactly as intended. My experience isn’t rare. There are increasing reports that HealthCare.Gov is working better — perhaps much better — for consumers than it was a few short weeks ago. “Consumer advocates say it…

I’ll Know that We Live In a Small Government World . . .

When the federal government doesn’t arbitrarily move to destroy businesses like 23andMe. Incidentally, I find the following to be a very good question: Is it relevant that governments themselves, through their law enforcement agencies, run elaborate saliva-, blood- and DNA-collection operations that are hedged with few of the protections of voluntariness, privacy and openness that one finds with 23andMe? You can, of course, anticipate my answer. UPDATE: More on this issue from Alex Tabarrok.

In Shocking News, Obamacare Continues to Flounder

Let’s go through the lowlights: Organizing for America has seen fit to send out talking points telling people how to advocate in favor of Obamacare over Thanksgiving dinner. These people are a laugh riot. More cyber security problems we were assured we would never have to put up with. And still more. Scary sentence of the day: “A final ‘pre-flight checklist’ before the Web site’s Oct. 1 opening, compiled a week before by CMS, shows that 41 of 91 separate functions that CGI was responsible for finishing by the launch were still not working.” More here. None of these stories will stop some…

Why the Deal with Iran Is Less than Good

By now, you have likely heard that the United States and five other countries (Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany–also known as “the P5+1 ,” with “P5” standing for the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council), have entered into an interim nuclear deal with Iran. The deal’s provisions are supposed to expire in six months, at which point the P5+1 hope that they will be replaced with a permanent treaty dealing with Iran’s nuclear capability. This report does a good job in detailing the terms of the interim deal, which are as follows: To the extent that Iran…

Justification for My “Art of the Day” Interludes

Exposure to art increases intelligence: FOR many education advocates, the arts are a panacea: They supposedly increase test scores, generate social responsibility and turn around failing schools. Most of the supporting evidence, though, does little more than establish correlations between exposure to the arts and certain outcomes. Research that demonstrates a causal relationship has been virtually nonexistent. A few years ago, however, we had a rare opportunity to explore such relationships when the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened in Bentonville, Ark. Through a large-scale, random-assignment study of school tours to the museum, we were able to determine that strong causal…

A Better News Media, Please

For those who are still wondering why there was a marketplace for the blogosphere to begin with, consider this blog post and this one, which demonstrate quite clearly that good blogs are needed to correct truly bad reporting on the part of the mainstream media.

Revolutionary Thought of the Day

If a presidential event is good enough to be covered by official White House photographers, it should be good enough to be covered by the press corps. Assuming, of course, that all of this talk about being “the most transparent administration in history” is meant to be taken seriously.