In Defense of Ballot Initiatives

In the two-year political cycle that culminated on Election Day 2000, some 350 initiative petitions were submitted to election officials in the 24 states that permit laws to be passed at the ballot box. Of those 350, only 76 made it onto the ballot. And of those 76, only 36 were adopted. Of all the […]

In Praise of Hard Work

Why don’t they preach what they practice? Non-conservatives dominate the mainstream media. In the media magazine Content, a poll showed that nearly 75 percent of Republicans found a liberal bias in the media, while nearly 50 percent of Democrats found the press “more liberal” than they were! ABC news correspondent, reporter and commentator Sam Donaldson […]

Intended Consequences

Over the years, the phrase “unintended consequences” has come up with increasing frequency, as more and more wonderful-sounding ideas have led to disastrous results. By now, you might think that people with wonderful-sounding ideas would start to question what the consequences would turn out to be — and would devote as much time to discovering […]

The Child Manipulators

On Friday (June 29, 2001), ABC news correspondent John Stossel aired a hard-hitting report challenging the environmentalist movement and suggesting that “tampering with nature” makes human life better — that such “unnatural” phenomena as clean water, heated homes and modern medicine are an advance over living in a mud hut and foraging for berries. The […]

China’s Olympic Sized Victory

Picture this: Beneath a towering portrait of Chairman Mao, brutal Chinese dictators bask in the warm glow of international good will as the world’s top volleyball players romp across imported sand spread over Tiananmen Square — the same bloodied site where government troops massacred peaceful pro-democracy protesters in 1989. That’s the twisted vision of the […]

An Open Letter Regarding China to the International Olympic Committee

Dear International Olympic Committee: On July 13 in Moscow you will meet to determine which of five cities will host the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Beijing is one of those under consideration. Clearly, playing host to such elite athletes is a supreme honor, and any country welcoming them should be worthy of it. As you […]

The National Academy of Dubious Science

Imagine that you have invited a contractor to inspect your home and check for needed repairs. He tells you that, in theory, there might be a disastrous problem with the foundation. He can’t actually prove that there is a problem, he says, and there are a lot of uncertainties. But there is a consensus among […]

Guns, Kids, and Condoms

Let us, for a moment, take the sex-education pushers at their word: If you teach a child how to use a condom, you’re promoting safety — not usage. That’s what a new review of sex-ed curricula claims. “The overwhelming weight of evidence shows that sex education that discusses contraception does not increase sexual activity,” concludes […]

Charting the Market: The Past 25 Years

Charting the Market: The Past 25 Years

Ever since I started trading and investing in the 1970s I have looked at stock charts every day. I am entirely aware of — and respectful of — the empirical and theoretical arguments against the predictive value of charting. And yet, at the same time, I remain to this day a dedicated user of these […]

Are Energy Suppliers Ripping of California?

Whatever happened to the presumption of innocence? California Attorney General Bill Lockyer apparently missed that lesson in law school. As Californians face rolling blackouts in the grip of their so-called energy crisis, the state’s top politicians busy themselves with finger-pointing. For example, Governor Gray Davis blames “price-gougers,” and just filed suit against the Federal Energy […]

Kissing and Coddling China’s Dictators

Our ruined EP-3 surveillance plane is still parked on that Chinese runway, months after it was forced down and its crew taken hostage. At least six Chinese-American scholars have been jailed in China on groundless spying charges; their families have not been allowed to see them and do not know where they are being held. […]

The Rule of Law in America

What should be the characteristics of laws in a free society? Let’s think about baseball rules (laws) as a means to approach this question. Some players, through no fault of their own, hit fewer home runs than others. In order to create baseball justice, how about a rule requiring pitchers to throw easier pitches to […]

July 4th: Love it or Lose It

We have belatedly come to appreciate “the greatest generation” that fought and died in World War II to preserve the freedom that Americans enjoy today. But the disappearance of history from our schools, and its virtual disappearance as a requirement for graduation from many of our leading colleges as well, has left most Americans with […]

Ignorance or Contempt of the U.S. Constitution

Congressmen, presidents and Supreme Court justices take an oath of office swearing to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. As if the Constitution itself isn’t clear about what they must do, in Federalist Paper No. 45, James Madison, the acknowledged father of the Constitution, described the document thusly: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution […]

The Scientist Trap

Ten days ago, we saw the headlines: “Panel Tells Bush Global Warming is Getting Worse.” According to dozens of press accounts, a panel of distinguished climatologists from the National Academy of Sciences had provided new confirmation that “global warming is real, and is getting worse.” Scientists, we were told, are “unanimous” on the issue. Last […]

California’s Philosophical Blackout

With the arrival of summer’s sweltering heat, California’s electricity demand will rise as people engage in the perfectly natural act of manipulating the environment, as through air-conditioning, to make life better. But electricity supply will not be able to rise the meet increased demand. The perfectly human mechanism of free supply and demand will have […]

Housing and Overpopulation: Shocked by the Obvious

The obvious makes headlines in California. Maybe this shows that a sense of reality or common sense is not something that can be taken for granted among Californians. A recent headline stretching across the top of the front page announced that “Population dwarfs housing” in San Mateo County, on the San Francisco peninsula. The same […]