Friday, August 01, 2014

7 THINGS TO CONSIDER Before Choosing Sides in the Middle East Conflict.

AMAZING: How one man's lies almost destroyed the comics industry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BRENDAN O'NEILL: Is the Left anti-Semitic? Sadly, it is heading that way.

Monday, July 28, 2014

CONFUSED? Then this is for you: The Middle East Friendship Chart.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

BEHIND THE SCENES IN PUTIN'S COURT: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator.

BRENDAN O'NEILL: Your pity for Palestinians is making things worse in Gaza: Western thirst for images of the dead could be contributing to the bloodshed.

TODAY, the English edition of Barcepundit turns 10. They grow up so fast, don't they?

Monday, July 21, 2014

UGLY INDEED: The 7 Ugliest Government Buildings In Washington, D.C..

Friday, July 18, 2014

NOT BAD: 5 NYC Apartments That Rent For More Than $100,000. A month.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES CRASH: World demands answers from Russia after plane's destruction.

UPDATE. Jane's: MH017 mostly likely downed by Russian-backed separatists.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

WELL ARGUMENTED: We Don't Need a Corporate Income Tax, by Megan McArdle. Keynesians and social-Democrats, read it thoroughly before you jump to criticising the piece, you'll see how you can understand it even if you don't agree with it.

ALLISON KAPLAN SOMMER: The only way Israelis can win the PR battle: Die more.

UPDATE. It seems the've now put it behind the paywall, sorry…

BRENDAN O'NEILL: The line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism gets thinner every day.

hy are Western liberals always more offended by Israeli militarism than by any other kind of militarism? It’s extraordinary. France can invade Mali and there won’t be loud, rowdy protests by peaceniks in Paris. David Cameron, backed by a whopping 557 members of parliament, can order airstrikes on Libya and British leftists won’t give over their Twitterfeeds to publishing gruesome pics of the Libyan civilians killed as a consequence. President Obama can resume his drone attacks in Pakistan, killing 13 people in one strike last month, and Washington won’t be besieged by angry anti-war folk demanding ‘Hands off Pakistan’. But the minute Israel fires a rocket into Gaza, the second Israeli politicians say they’re at war again with Hamas, radicals in all these Western nations will take to the streets, wave hyperbolic placards, fulminate on Twitter, publish pictures of dead Palestinian children, publish the names and ages of everyone ‘MURDERED BY ISRAEL’, and generally scream about Israeli ‘bloodletting’. (When the West bombs another country, it’s ‘war’; when Israel does it, it’s ‘bloodletting’.)

Anyone possessed of a critical faculty must at some point have wondered why there’s such a double standard in relation to Israeli militarism, why missiles fired by the Jewish State are apparently more worthy of condemnation than missiles fired by Washington, London, Paris, the Turks, Assad, or just about anyone else on Earth.

Keep reading.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NO, IT'S NOT a metaphore of the economic future: Scientists develop a material so dark that you can't see it.

HYPOCRISY DEFINED: “People who say they are concerned about climate change use more electricity than those who say the issue is 'too far away to worry about', government-commissioned study finds”.

While it's true that

That is in part due to age, as people over 65 are more frugal with electricity but much less concerned about global warming.

However, even when pensioners are discounted, there is only a “weak trend” to show that people who profess to care about climate change do much to cut their energy use.

this is no excuse. If 65-year-olds prove that you can be frugal with your electricity, why do people who precisely advocate for a more frugal lifestyle aren't? It's as if they didn't really believe what they're saying.

Monday, July 14, 2014

AT POPULAR SCIENCE: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked.

Friday, July 11, 2014

FASCINATING READ: “Inside President Obama’s secret schedule: There’s what the White House announces to the world he’s doing. And then there’s what he really does.”

The headline is a little sensationalistic —it's more about how all presidents manage their daily schedule— but it's a great read anyway,

Thursday, July 10, 2014

LETHAL JACK SHAFER: What’s more rare — a unicorn or an Al Jazeera America viewer?

ON SLATE, THE GAZA RULES: Israel, unlike Hamas, isn’t trying to kill civilians. It’s taking pains to spare them. A must-read.

Monday, July 07, 2014

THE CENSORSHIP IS NOW OFFICIAL: BBC staff ordered to stop giving equal air time to climate deniers; The network will stop airing "debates" featuring members of the anti-science fringe.

While it's true that some skeptics can be faily classified as fringe, a blanket dismissal is just as anti-scientific. There's legitimate points to be made against alarmism, and science has always advanced by the skeptics questioning the scientific consensus. “Case closed” is the most anti-scientific thing that can be said. It doesn't mean that skeptics are always right, but closing them out altogether means a/ you're a bully, b/ you don't trust your own position enough and believe it may survive an open confrontation.

Then again, it's the same BBC who refused to listen to anyone who warned them of what Jammy Savile was doing…

Friday, July 04, 2014

DEAR VEGETARIANS, you're not innocent either: Plants can ‘hear’ themselves being eaten.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY, AMERICA!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

I DON'T BUY IT EITHER: A Typo in the Declaration of Independence?

OBAMA THE NEOCON:

Obama may be non-interventionist in the Middle East, but he’s acting increasingly like a neo-con in Africa.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that he is against “boots on the ground” in Iraq, robustly ruled out airstrikes, and reluctantly dispatched some 300 advisers into that war-torn land. As Iraq crisis worsens, the president demands a primarily political solution—even as Islamist forces surge to the Baghdad suburbs.

In Africa, that same president is, fortunately, far more active. Elite U.S. Army units are killing and capturing terrorists in North Africa (including the so-called Butcher of Benghazi). Hundreds of other counter-terrorism trainers are helping African nations (Libya, Niger, Mauritania, and Mali) to field commando teams to combat Islamist forces in Africa, which have Islamist ideologies nearly indistinguishable from the predators devouring Iraq. These new native units are vital for beating back the Islamist threat to the region. Hundreds of U.S. Special Forces have been sent to hunt the Lord’s Resistance Army, a murderous band of militants, in the wilds of Uganda. Djibouti, on Africa’s Red Sea coast, remains an active U.S. military base and America’s spies and soldiers help fight Islamists in Somalia and Kenya. Drones are roaming Nigeria, searching for missing schoolgirls. And, of course, the Obama administration’s longest war was fought in North Africa, in the skies and streets of Libya.

When military might matters, Obama seems to have one rule for Africa and another for Asia (especially Iraq).

YOU DON'T SAY:

A country's tax regime has a clear impact on where international companies choose to locate; and not just the main corporation tax rate. Simple inducements, such as enterprise zones and low taxes for top earners can swing the decision in favour of one country over another.

Destination Maternity, the US baby clothes business seeking to swallow Mothercare[3], wants to escape the US's 40% corporation tax rate. The UK is attractive because Mothercare is not only a struggling business and therefore cheap to buy, but also because Britain has worked hard to become one of the lowest tax jurisdictions in the G20.

George Osborne has argued that all the Treasury's tax incentives are concerned with creating jobs and "genuine business investment", but he has been unable to escape accusations that Britain is now increasingly attractive to foreign companies after becoming one of the world's largest and most sophisticated tax havens.

Am I the only one who finds the phrase “unable to escape accusations that Britain is now increasingly attractive” is totally stupid?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

MARKET LIBERALIZATION, CUBAN-STYLE: Cuba sells 50 cars (yes, 50) in first 6 months of year: “Cuban dealers sold 50 cars and four motorcycles nationwide in the first six months of the year under a new law that removed limits on auto purchases for the first time in half a century but came with prices so high few people could afford them.”

Monday, June 30, 2014

BRILIANT — AND AND DAMN RIGHT: The 15 Most Annoying Expressions in Politics.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

GOOD THING THAT, unlike Europe's austerity, Obama's expansive policies has left the financial crisis behind, eh?

The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter by the most since the depths of the last recession as consumer spending cooled.

Gross domestic product fell at a 2.9 percent annualized rate, more than forecast and the worst reading since the same three months in 2009, after a previously reported 1 percent drop, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. It marked the biggest downward revision from the agency’s second GDP estimate since records began in 1976.

THE PROBLEM with collective action:

Government, we are sometimes told, is just another word for things we choose to do together.

Like a lot of things politicians say, this sounds good. And, also like a lot of things politicians say, it isn't the least bit true.

Many of the things government does, we don't choose. Many of the things we choose, government doesn't do. And whatever gets done, we're not the ones doing it. And those who are doing it often interpret their mandates selfishly.

Take, for example, the Veterans Administration. The American people -- most of us, anyway -- did "choose" to provide first-class medical care for our veterans. But we didn't do it. We set up the Veterans Administration to do it. And the Veterans Administration -- or, more accurately, some of the people who work for and run the Veterans Administration -- had a stronger interest in other things. Things like fat bonuses, and low workloads in comfy offices.

Thus we find that, even though veterans were dying, and books were being cooked, every single VA senior executive received an evaluation of "fully successful" or better over a 4-year period. That's right. Every single one. Over four years. At least 65% of them received bonuses ("performance awards"). All while veterans around the country were suffering and dying because of delayed care. The executives got these bonuses, in part, because they cooked the books, because the bonuses were more important to them than the veterans' care.

It would be nice to believe that this sort of problem is limited to the VA, but there's no particular reason to think that it is. The problem with the VA is that, like every other government agency -- and every other human institution -- it's not a machine that runs itself. It's a collection of people. And people tend to act in their own self interest.

Keep reading.

HYPOCRISY PART TWO: Democratic Candidate for Governor Sued for Paying Women Less than Men.