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Monthly Archive: August 2010

Aug 17 2010

Is the US a police state?

Some of this blog’s readers may be old enough to recall what used to happen in brutal Latin American dictatorships in the second half of the 20th century, when opponents of the government were picked up by the secret police and never heard from again, except when their mutilated dead bodies occasionally turned up. A …

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Aug 16 2010

Book review: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

This is an extraordinary book about one family’s experience with Hurricane Katrina. As long time readers of this blog may recall, I was furious at the way that the poor people of New Orleans were treated like scum during and after Katrina (see my earlier posts here, here, here, here, here, and here), so much …

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Aug 13 2010

Be nice to hospitality workers

By now everyone in the US must have heard about the JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater who got so fed up by the way he was treated by a passenger that he used the intercom to curse her out and left the plane. Grabbing a beer and using the emergency chute to make his dramatic …

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Aug 12 2010

More on red light and speed cameras

The previous post on this topic resulted in such interesting discussions that I want to expand on this topic in a new post. I actually agree with some of the criticisms that were made about a camera-based system to enforce traffic laws on speeding and running red lights. But my point is that while the …

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Aug 11 2010

The same sex marriage verdict

Needless to say, I was very pleased with the ruling last week by US District Court judge Vaughn Walker in California overturning the ban on same sex marriage. The case arose because of a challenge to Proposition 8 that was passed by referendum in November 2008 and required the state constitution to add a clause …

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Aug 10 2010

The puzzling opposition to red light and speed cameras

I am often taken by surprise at the kinds of things that people get really upset about. For example, many cities and states have recently taken to placing cameras strategically at various points to catch speeders and people who run red lights. The camera takes a photo of an offender and you get the citation …

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Aug 09 2010

Film review: No Country for Old Men and the Coen brothers’ oeuvre

You have to grant writers-directors-producers Joel and Ethan Coen one thing: they make interesting films. Not for them the formulaic, genre-tailored approach to filmmaking. Not for them endless sequels to hits or even to follow up a hit film with one similar in style. Each film seems to go off in a different direction from …

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Aug 06 2010

Greedy old people

I recently turned 60. I don’t pay much attention to my birthdays but this one is a little special because it signifies that by almost any measure I am now officially an old person, a member of a group a subset of whom has been annoying the hell out of me for a long time: …

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Aug 05 2010

What is gained by cooking the books?

In the previous two posts (here and here) I discussed how the government cooks the books, particularly with regard to unemployment, inflation, economic growth, and budget deficits, to give people a much rosier picture of the state of the economy than is the case. What is to be gained by this and who benefits? In …

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Aug 04 2010

Yet more fiddling of economic numbers

While the unemployment and CPI figures have been fiddled with to make them appear smaller (as I discussed in yesterday’s post), the number that measures the size of the economy called the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has also been fiddled with to make it appear larger than it is and thus appearing to show robust …

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