Archive for February, 2010

Crippling Bans

February 27, 2010

A growing list of situations where politics and public furor and it’s following ban prevents people from taking control of their own lives:

New Scientist: Drug laws are painful for cancer patients

Overzealous regulation of opioids is having a painful knock-on effect on eastern Europeans with cancer. …… They found that tens of thousands of cancer patients in several former Soviet bloc countries can’t easily get the drugs because of laws aimed at preventing a black market in opioids. In Ukraine, for example, patients are only allowed a day’s supply of medicine at a time, while in Georgia they must get a stamp from a police station to obtain painkillers.

Krauthammer on Vioxx:

It’s not an easy calculation. Six years ago, Vioxx, a powerful anti-inflammatory, was withdrawn by the manufacturer because it was found to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke from 0.75 percent per year to 1.5 percent. The company was pilloried for not having owned up to this earlier, but some rheumatologists were furious that the drug was forced off the market at all. They had patients with crippling arthritis who had achieved a functioning life with Vioxx, for which they were quite willing to risk a long-shot cardiac complication. The public furor denied them the choice.

Sources:, Toyota and the Price of Modernity, Friday, February 26, 2010, Charles Krauthammer,
Drug laws are painful for cancer patients, New Scientist, 11:46 24 February 2010 by Ewen Callaway

The Brain’s Political Bias

February 27, 2010

Just a growing list of stories where people’s innate wiring determine their political perspective:

/. on individualists, communitarians and nano-tech:Beliefs Conform To Cultural Identities

“This article describes an experiment that demonstrates that people don’t put as much weight on facts as they do their own belief about how the world is supposed to work. From the article: ‘In one experiment, Braman queried subjects about something unfamiliar to them: nanotechnology — new research into tiny, molecule-sized objects that could lead to novel products. “These two groups start to polarize as soon as you start to describe some of the potential benefits and harms,” Braman says. The individualists tended to like nanotechnology. The communitarians generally viewed it as dangerous. Both groups made their decisions based on the same information. “It doesn’t matter whether you show them negative or positive information, they reject the information that is contrary to what they would like to believe, and they glom onto the positive information,” Braman says.'”


Volokh: Avatar and Property Rights in China

Obama’s Promises vs. Reality

February 15, 2010

Another growing list. I’m just keeping track of campaign promises and then comparing them to what actually happens.

Promise:Hannity & Colmes video: No more “Air-raiding villages and killing civilians”.

1 year later:

NYT’s February 14, 2010 : Errant U.S. Rocket Strike Kills Civilians in Afghanistan

Promise:Hannity & Colmes video:”I will not develop new nuclear weapons”:

1 Year Later:
From the AP: Obama Seeks Money for Nuclear Weapons Work

“President Barack Obama is seeking increased funding for nuclear weapons research and security next year, even as his administration has pledged to reduce the world’s stockpile of nuclear arms.

The administration on Monday asked Congress for more than $7 billion for activities related to nuclear weapons in the budget of the National Nuclear Security Administration, an increase of $624 million from the 2010 fiscal year.

NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino said more money is needed because the U.S. needs the best nuclear weapons facilities, scientists and engineers, even as it moves toward eventual disarmament.

Promise:“Pay as you go” (more on this later)
Promise:(more on this later)

AP, Obama Seeks Money for Nuclear Weapons Work, Updated February 01, 2010

NYT, Errant U.S. Rocket Strike Kills Civilians in Afghanistan , By C. J. CHIVERS and ROD NORDLAND
Published: February 14, 2010

What is our National Debt Limit?

February 14, 2010

At what point does the National Debt become too big to handle?

According to Bill O’reilly the interest on our debt in December 09 alone was 100 billion.

According to our yearly tax revenue is:

In 2008 the federal government collected $2.5 trillion, an amount equal to 17.7 percent of GDP. Federal revenue has ranged from 14.4 to 20.9 percent of GDP over the past five decades, averaging 18.2 percent.

So it would seem 1/2 of our taxes go to pay the interest on the debt.

Other reading:
Volokh, How Do California and Greece Compare?, Kenneth Anderson , February 8, 2010 10:25 pm

A few other relevant sites:
Interest payments on national debt set to explode, Julie Mason Examiner White House Correspondent, November 24, 2009

“Obama has his hands on everything”

February 13, 2010

The title of this post is a quote from wzpl’s disc jockey Dave Smiley. Will take some work to reconstruct everything over the last year but here is the start of a soon to be long list.


The Obama administration will accept no more public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.- ESPN

College Football:
Sending the Justice department after the BCS

Reloading Ammunition
(Note for future research: CIFTA treaty)

Retirement Funds of Firefighters
(Note for future research: SCOTUS, UAW vs Indiana Firefighters)

There are exceptions to every rule though:

Obama refuses to ‘meddle’ in Iran

CJustice Dept.: Obama administration may take action on BCS, Posted: Friday January 29, 2010 6:38PM; Updated: Friday January 29, 2010 8:36PM
BBC, Obama refuses to ‘meddle’ in Iran, Page last updated at 08:04 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 09:04 UK
ESPN, Updated: March 9, 2010, 1:59 PM ET, Culled out, Obama administration will accept no more public input for federal fishery strategy