URLs du Jour


  • Surely as the light of day must follow even the darkest night, a "Bushism of the Day" article from Jacob Weisberg in Slate is followed by a reality check from Eugene Volokh. What Weisberg thinks he's trying to accomplish here is beyond me. Worse, he's being paid to do this, while Prof Volokh provides his antidote for free. It's a funny world, innit?

    Update: Weisberg does it again. So does Volokh; unfortunately, I think the Prof is too polite to simply point out that Weisberg is reduced to sneaky quote-surgery to keep his tired "Bushisms" schtick going.

  • Also doing impressive fact-checking is David Frum, who noticed the subheadline on a recent Fareed Zakaria column in Newsweek:
    Since the mid-1970s the demand for petroleum in Western Europe and Japan has been flat. In the United States it has doubled.
    This "fact" is repeated further down in the column. The only problem, as David points out: this isn't true at all. He digs out a report from the Department of Energy that says petroleum consumption only went up about 17.5% in the US between 1976 and 2004. He continues:
    And even that modest figure does not quite capture the full story. Petroleum use in the US remained essentially flat for most of the 1980s and 1990s. Petroleum consumption hit a peak of 18.847 million barrels a day in 1978 - and did not return to that level until 1998. It was during the cheap oil years 1998-2001 that oil use spiked again, and it's a good bet that today's high prices will drive oil use back down again.
    David also notes some other impressive statistics. Most notable (to me): "Energy use per dollar of GDP is about half what it was in 1970." Put another way: between then and now, the same amount of energy use produces about double the GDP. That's amazing, but it's the kind of information that sources like Newsweek have no interest in. Wonder why not?

  • Both The Torch and Phi Beta Cons take note of major changes to the speech policies at Penn State to bring them more in line with constitutional free speech protections.

    Not coincidentally, it's also reported that a lawsuit over aforesaid speech code has been settled. Comments the Torch:

    Hopefully, this will serve as a wake up call to the hundreds of other "red light" public universities identified in Spotlight: The Campus Freedom Resource. If college presidents don't want to hear the knock of a federal marshal serving a lawsuit, they would be wise to immediately reassess their unconstitutional policies.
    One of the other "red light" public universities, by the way, is this one right here.

  • Jim Harper of Cato@Liberty has a short but effective post on the "Net Neutrality" issue that I'm just going to steal in full:
    The opponents of broadband regulation have produced an amusing animation that pretty effectively skewers the campaign for “net neutrality.” Why, yes, of course it’s produced by large corporations seeking after their own interests. But the piece effectively points out that the campaign for federal regulation of broadband is also a product of large corporations seeking after their own interests.

    So, if it’s a debate between two large corporate interests, we can drop the ad hominem and just discuss which group of large corporations is trying to protect its property and its investments, and which group of large corporations is trying to win rents through the legislative and regulatory process. Figured it out yet? Good.


Last Modified 2012-10-24 3:54 AM EDT