January 29, 2007

Column of the Day: George Mason Professor Cuts to the Chase on Income Inequality — in the New York Times

Filed under: Economy,Quotes, Etc. of the Day,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:12 pm

I would be thrilled, and very surprised, if Tyler Cowen, the George Mason University professor who blogs at Marginal Revolution, gets to provide his wisdom to the New York Times on a regular basis as he did in this column on income inequality last Thursday (link probably requires free registration).

Here is how Cowen wrapped it:

The broader philosophical question is why we should worry about inequality — of any kind — much at all. Life is not a race against fellow human beings, and we should discourage people from treating it as such. Many of the rich have made the mistake of viewing their lives as a game of relative status. So why should economists promote this same zero-sum worldview? Yes, there are corporate scandals, but it remains the case that most American wealth today is produced rather than taken from other people.

What matters most is how well people are doing in absolute terms. We should continue to improve opportunities for lower-income people, but inequality as a major and chronic American problem has been overstated.

Times readers need such antidotes to the laughably off-base Paul “Economics of Envy” Krugman like Rosie O’Donnell needs to diet — i.e., badly.

City of Cincinnati and Co-Conspirators Smacked Down on Calhoun Street Eminent-Domain Project

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:59 am

This is a gratifying follow-up to a July BizzyBlog post about a troubled University of Cincinnati-area eminent-domain project that has gone nowhere since the properties involved were taken, and began to show signs of falling apart even before Friday’s adverse court ruling.

The news is a serious rebuke (HT Cincinnati Black Blog via NixGuy) to the City’s eminent-domain tyrants and their Clifton-area accomplices:

Cincinnati land seizure overturned
Calhoun Street properties not blighted, judge rules
Last Updated: 1:53 pm | Saturday, January 27, 2007

Using the Norwood eminent-domain case as a model, a state appeals court Friday nullified Cincinnati’s seizure of two parcels on Calhoun Street in Clifton Heights and declared the city’s eminent-domain ordinance unconstitutional.

The ruling reverses a lower-court decision that upheld the city’s right to take the properties.

The city and a developer used a blight study to take dozens of properties as part of a $270 million redevelopment plan along Calhoun Street.

All of the property owners in the redevelopment district except the owners of a former Hardee’s and Arby’s eventually agreed to sell to the developer, the Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.

The Ohio First District Court of Appeals said in its decision Friday that many factors that Cincinnati used for designating properties “blighted” or “deteriorating” were struck down in the Ohio Supreme Court’s Norwood decision.”

….. Matthew W. Fellerhoff, lawyer for the two property owners, said Cincinnati’s standards for declaring property blighted or deteriorating were even more vague than Norwood’s.

City Solicitor J. Rita McNeil said her office would study the appeals court’s decision before recommending whether the city should appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Give it up, Rita.

Make no mistake — The people with egg on their faces include not only the city, but also the Uptown Consortium led by the University of Cincinnati and its empire-building President Nancy Zimpher, along with her “Pill Hill” hospital compadres and the Cincinnati Zoo. The consortium’s Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. now has its flagship project officially on the rocks.

Left unsaid in the report by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Steve Kemme is that at least two of the other property owners in the affected area (written about here in 2004 in the Cincinnati Business Courier) sold out under tremendous pressure and chose not to litigate. Remember that in Ohio, until the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Norwood case (thankfully, a complete victory for property rights), litigation against the eminent domain tyrants was especially difficult, because the government was allowed to take your property first before you could file a lawsuit protesting the action. This was NOT the case in Connecticut, where the Kelo-New London, Connecticut holdouts were able to stay in their homes and hang on to their properties until the matter was fully negotiated and resolved.

The litany of eminent-domain and other property-management missteps by Cincinnati city fathers in the past two decades is long and ugly. Taken in total, the city is financially and structurally worse off for what the know-it-all urban planners have done and attempted to do. Friday’s ruling may finally stop the bleeding caused by people who think they always know better than the marketplace how development should be done, but who have been proven wrong more often than not.

A Question about This Letter from a US Soldier in Iraq

No, the question isn’t whether it will get published outside of the center-right blogosphere; of course it won’t.

Here are the key grafs from the letter, which you can see in its entirety at Ace’s place:

Know this, our soldiers will not quit. We win every battle, we hold any piece of ground that we want to take.
Do not listen to those in Washington who influence events by dishonesty, manipulation and greed. Listen to your hearts and know that America is a winner. We will not accept defeat.
Don’t be fooled by the news media who so dishonorably portrays one side of the story for gain and sensationalism. We are not losing, we are not running, the enemy is reeling and is scared.

The question is “When we win (the only reason we won’t being that we won’t be allowed to by the political class), will anyone in the formerly Mainstream Media dare to report it?”

* * * * *

I can see it now –

Baghdad, January 2017 (Associated with the remnants of Al Jazeera Press): An IED with the explosive force of a firecracker exploded by the side of a road outside the city today. Several children were seen in the vicinity, but none of the insurgents who planted the explosive were visible.

Though no one was hurt, several children complained of ringing ears.

The explosion showed that the insurgency, now in its 14th year, is gaining strength and is far from defeated.

In Washington, Senator Chelsea Clinton introduced a resolution calling for the withdrawal of the 10,000 remaining US soldiers, saying that “we must acknowledge that Iraq’s 13-year experiment with democracy has failed despite 12 successful elections and an economy that has grown at double-digit annual rates during the past decade. We must recognize our failure and redeploy our troops to, uh, uh, Long Island.”

Couldn’t Help But Notice (012907)

This was inevitable, and will probably happen more:

Microsoft Pays Blogger To ‘Correct’ Wikipedia Entry
Topologi’s Rick Jelliffe will offer Redmond’s spin on public articles pertaining to the ODF/OOXML standard.
By Paul McDougall

Jan 23, 2007 02:00 PM

I don’t see the problem, as long as the relationship is prominently and continually disclosed. That, of course, is a very big “as long as.”


If the AP can’t even use the right name of a source for 62 stories, why would anyone expect them to be able to distinguish between a “lawmaker” and a terrorist? Of course, they either can’t, or won’t.


I’m late to this chorus of reaction to this (HT to Boring Made Dull and many others) but feel I should join it:

Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq
Administration Strategy Stirs Concern Among Some Officials

It’s about time, but they shouldn’t have even had to ask.


A Powerline forum commenter puts the weekend protest and the March for Life into perspective:

3. Tiny crowd. I was surprised by just how small the crowd was. I rode my bike from the Virginia side, up the Mall past the Washington Monument, and it wasn’t until I started to approach the march’s grandstand on the Capitol side of the Mall that I began to see anyone that might be considered a war protester. Having been on the Mall many times before during July 4th celebrations, the “Million Man March”, and the recent March for Life, I can attest that this was a small crowd.

The related Powerline post has comparative pics of the March for Life and weekend war protest crowds. They appear roughly equal, so I think the forum poster, who is for all practical purposes saying that the March for Life crowd was bigger, breaks the tie. “Of course,” because they don’t like their agenda, the March for Life was mostly ignored by the formerly Mainstream Media, and the march’s crowd, which likely hit six figures (two observers claimed that “hundreds of thousands” attended), pegged as “tens of thousands,” was almost definitely underestimated. Tim Graham at NewsBusters has more on the contrasting treatment given the two marches by the Washington Post.

‘Imagine what the moonbats would have said had this been Halliburton.’

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:11 am

Yeah, definitely (HT Return of the Conservatives):

Senator Feinstein’s Iraq Conflict

As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband’s firms

Quote of the Day: Mark Steyn

The One Man Global Content Provider, at the wrap of his far-ranging Chicago Sun-Times column yesterday:

The civilized world faces profound challenges that threaten the global order. But most advanced democracies now run two-party systems in which both parties sell themselves to the electorate on the basis of unaffordable entitlements whose costs can be kicked down the road, even though the road is a short cul-de-sac and the kicked cans are already piled sky-high. That’s the real energy crisis.

Top 10 Myths of Iraq War: Guess What Numero Uno Is?

OK, it’s an “in no particular order” list, but I like which one’s first anyway.

From Strategy Page:

1-No Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Several hundred chemical weapons were found, and Saddam had all his WMD scientists and technicians ready. Just end the sanctions and add money, and the weapons would be back in production within a year. At the time of the invasion, all intelligence agencies, world-wide, believed Saddam still had a functioning WMD program. Saddam had shut them down because of the cost, but created the illusion that the program was still operating in order to fool the Iranians.

Told ya.


UPDATE, Feb. 11: Important piece from GWOT News saved to BizzyBlog hard drive for future ref — essentially, it says that if not enough WMD were found to satisfy you, it isn’t that Bush lied, or that BushCo cooked the intel, it’s that the people who were responsible for oversight of the intelligence agencies blew it — for many, many years.

UPDATE 2, Feb. 11: From Brutally Honest quoting GWOT:

Every single bi-partisan investigation into the question of whether or not the Bush Administration deliberately misled the world to war in Iraq has found that rather than a Bush cabal, failures to find vast stockpiles of WMD described by the UN weapons inspectors were the result of bad intelligence: intelligence provided largely by agencies that had been starved of funding, had their leaders replaced by political appointees, been legally hamstrung by the American Congress, and lacked adequate Congressional oversight for the 10years prior to the invasion of Iraq.

This lack of Congressional oversight that directly led to the decay of the American intelligence community (all 16 agencies) was also found to be the reason that the 911 attacks were able to succeed.

Oh, and guess who keeps calling for these investigations, who continue to claim “Bush Lied,” or “intelligence was pressured, manipulated, cherry-picked, created,” etc.?

It’s the people who were responsible for oversight of the intelligence agencies in the years they were left to rot.

Note that the above does NOT give ANY credibility to the “No WMD” lie, which remains a lie. It only refers to the existence of “stockpiles,” and why “stockpiles” weren’t found.

Previous Posts:

  • Dec, 7, 2006 — The ‘No WMD’ Lie: Yet More Icing on an Already-Baked Cake
  • Nov. 4 — The “No WMD” Lie: NY Times Adds More Icing to Already-Baked Cake
  • Aug. 14 — The “No WMD” Lie (with Linked Proof): The Sequel
  • July 31 — The Iraq “No WMD” Lie: Game, Set, Match
  • June 22 — MORE WMD Findings Revealed (Adding to Richard Miniter’s October 2005 List)
  • June 13 — The “No WMD” Lie: An Addendum
  • March 18 — Weekend Question 1: When Will We Hear the “Never Mind” on the “No WMD” Claim?
  • March 3 — Why Isn’t There a Groundswell of Media and Other Protest about This “Coverup”?
  • Feb. 15 — The Saddam Tapes, If They Prove WMDs, Will Be Icing on an Already-Baked Cake
  • Feb. 8, 2006 — The “No WMD” Lie (Yet Again) at Coretta Scott King’s Funeral — And a Challenge
  • Nov. 2, 2005 — The “No WMD” Lie (with LINKED Proof)
  • Oct. 27 — The “No WMD” Lie

Positivity: Good Samaritan Makes Up for Stolen Bikes

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

I have a soft spot for “little” stories like these (HT Happy News):

When the bikes Dennis and Tamie Leporin bought themselves for Christmas to ride with their young son disappeared from their front lawn, the couple posted a sign to let the thieves know their disappointment. “I hope U crooks enjoy our bikes U stole; Merry X-Mas,” the sign read.

The next evening the couple heard a knock at their door and found an envelop with $200 inside. A pickup truck was driving away.

“Inside was a note that read, ‘For every crook, there are 1,000 good people’,” Dennis Leporin told the Pensacola News Journal.

….. Tamie Leporin said she and her husband were concentrating so much on the theft that they forgot about the true meaning of Christmas, until they were reminded by the kindness of strangers.

“We just wish there was some way we could thank them,” she said.