Thursday, October 01, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up 1

Sometimes one comes across interesting, intriguing, or -- let's be honest -- silly items in the news media or around Web 2.0 that deserve being pointed out, but don't require extended commentary.

With that in mind, I have decided to start a weekly (perhaps less frequent) series of posts that simply list a few of those items and let readers look at them, if they wish, or skip them, if they prefer.

Here, in no particular order, is the weekly wrap-up for Thursday, October 1, 2009.

The Cato Institute's Gene Healy, author of The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power, extends his thesis to include the Obama administration's strategy to impose green values on U.S. economic policy, in an article earlier this week in the Washington Examiner. names its "Nanny of the Month" for September 2009.

Legendary risks/benefits analyst Sam Kazman notes that living without cars is a luxury only the urban rich can afford, in an op-ed piece in the Washington Examiner.

Speaking of cars, the Wall Street Journal reports that former Vice President Al Gore is one of the investors in an automobile manufacturing firm that is being subsidized by American taxpayers. The company is making high-end sports cars that run on electric engines -- playthings for the green-oriented wealthy car owner.

Speaking of Al Gore, former Virginia state climatologist Patrick Michaels reveals in National Review Online that the historical tempurature data purporting to prove global warming -- oops, global climate change -- has been destroyed or lost. At least it is not being made available to researchers.

Educational administrator Steve Foerster asks why two University of California-Berkeley executives engage in special pleading, in their Washington Post op-ed that argues for expanding federal taxpayer subsidies to state universities.

Radley Balko documents another ridiculous result of the multiplying tentacles of the government's War on Drugs: a grandmother arrested in Indiana for buying too much cold medication for her family. The original article he found, from the Tribune-Star in Indiana, is here.

Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia (the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee) looks at how the idea of a "summit meeting" has been dumbed down. He also points out that common sense can solve more problems than two-day government-sponsored conferences, and do so more efficiently.

Speaking of the LP, Libertarian candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates Matt Cholko is profiled in the Springfield Connection. Matt is running in the 39th House of Delegates District.

An alternative newspaper in Colorado is looking for potential pot reviewers. (I don't mean cooking utensils; I mean marijuana.) Will they double up as fast-food restaurant reviewers?

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are in Copenhagen to persuade the International Olympic Committee to grant Chicago the rights to host the Olympic Games in 2016. If they are successful, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. A story on NPR's Morning Edition noted that Olympic Games-hosting is a money-losing proposition, despite all the hype. Here's the money quote:
"There has never been an Olympic Games that has made a profit," says Robert Barney, director of the International Centre for Olympic Studies at the University of Western Ontario. Barney is also co-author of Selling The Five Rings: The International Olympic Committee and the Rise of Olympic Commercialism.

Fold in all the costs and revenues, he says, "including federal allotments, municipal allotments, provincial or state allotments, it's always been that a debt has to be paid somewhere."
Benoit Denizet-Lewis has a cover story in this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine on a neglected topic: coming out in middle school. Anyone who used to be a gay teenager should read this article. So should anyone who is or will be the parent of teenagers.

Ryan Sager points to a widely-commented-upon study about "gaydar." Those really, really interested can see the original study (or at least the abstract) by Nicholas O. Rule here. Those slightly less interested can see a newspaper report in the Tufts Daily and a report on a different, but thematically related, study in the Boston Globe. Blogger Jena Pincott also comments.

Finally, I found a very funny video on YouTube, a parody of the famous "David After Dentist" video that now has had over 30 million views. (When I first saw it several months ago, it only had about 600,000.) Be sure to watch the whole thing.

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