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Photo of the Day

By Julian Harris
June 11th, 2010 at 10:51 am | 3 Comments | Posted in International Politics, US Politics

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Petition to save man condemned to death for “sorcery”

By Julian Harris
May 17th, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Comments Off on Petition to save man condemned to death for “sorcery” | Posted in International Politics, Personal Freedom

“Re-Tweet”, or whatever the kids are saying these days, from the blog of Tom Palmer:

Click here for Tom’s explanation of the case.

Click here to sign the petition.

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GUEST POST: The Era of Laissez-Faire?

By admin
February 1st, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Comments Off on GUEST POST: The Era of Laissez-Faire? | Posted in Economics, International Politics

klein_06_smallOne of the established memes about the financial crisis is that it demonstrates the failure of unfettered capitalism, the dog-eat-dog, laissez-faire environment that prevailed in the West over the last few decades, all driven by the ideology of “free-market fundamentalism.” This seems to be a truism among most of the Commentariat. Of course, as pointed out repeatedly on this blog, the truth is virtually the opposite: there was never any “deregulation,” the Bush Administration spent public money like a drunken sailor, and government continued to expand as it always does. But a picture is worth a thousand words, so try these on for size. (US data; click charts for sources.)

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One response I sometimes hear is “Sure, there are more regulations and more government spending, but the set of things that should be regulated and the amount of government spending the economy needs are growing even faster!” This is essentially the Krugman-DeLong view about the stimulus: it just wasn’t big enough. Or they say that financial markets were “deregulated,” de facto, because the number of regulations and regulators increased more slowly than the number of new financial instruments and new markets. I wonder, though: are these falsifiable propositions? No matter how big the government is, if there are any problems, it’s always because the government isn’t big enough!

This post is authored by Peter G. Klein, an Associate Professor at the University of Missouri and Adjunct Professor at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration. He usually blogs at Organizations and Markets, where this post first appeared.

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Chavez: all that fun stuff is “hell”

By Julian Harris
January 20th, 2010 at 9:58 am | 4 Comments | Posted in Culture, International Politics

cigsandboozeFresh from his latest efforts to ruin everything, Hugo Rafael Chavez has launched a scathing tirade on lots of fun stuff.

The Venezuelan despotic nut-job said in his Weekly Address to the Proletariat:

“[Capitalist countries] promote the need for cigarettes, drugs and alcohol so they can sell them.”

Having displayed this unparalleled ability to unravel the evils of ‘the West’, the Dear Leader concluded:

“That’s capitalism, the road to hell.”

Which is funny, because usually when I peer lovingly at a seemingly-perspiring chilled glass of gin & tonic I think: “Bejesus, this is the road from hell. Deliver me to happiness, my sparkling transparent friend!”

It turns out, strangely enough, that the real source of Mr Chavez’s ire is a piss-take of himself–in the form of a video game. So he explained, to gasps (or giggles) of his people:

“Those games they call ‘PlayStation’ are poison. Some games teach you to kill. They once put my face on a game; ‘you’ve got to find Chávez to kill him.'”

Find Chavez? Kill him?

It’s poison, readers, poison.  Vive la revolution.

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Civil servants imprison Permanent Sec. over unpaid Christmas bonuses

By Julian Harris
January 6th, 2010 at 12:35 pm | 2 Comments | Posted in International Politics

permsecIn Nigeria, that is.

AllAfrica.com has the whole story.

My favourite parts:

“The demonstrating staff locked all entrances leading into the Ministry … and switched off all the lights, thereby preventing the use of the lift”

“The Permanent Secretary was sighted moving about in his office, fanning himself with old copies of newspapers and making frantic phone calls.”

“Some of the demonstrating workers … said they were demanding Sallah, Christmas and New Year gifts from the management.”

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