– Alternatives to selling plasma.
– Mark Thompson is the Energizer Bunny of the Liberaltarian movement.
– I always make fun of my Polish girlfriend for her country’s near-monopoly on goofy names. After this, she may have the last laugh.
I’m coaching/judging a debate tournament for the next few days, so blogging will be light. Enjoy your weekend.
This full-throated attack on everyone’s favorite Piano Man is pretty brutal.
I think I agree with the substance of Ben Affleck’s complaint, but Newsweek’s rebuttal – complete with Gigli reference – is a total burn.
There’s an art to highlighting an interesting link while blogging. Incestuous referrals are probably one of the blogosphere’s worst tendencies – and undoubtedly the subject of much derision among the dread Mainstream Media – but a good tip is worth a lot more than another boring long-form entry. Which is basically a long way of saying that the articles Ross Douthat dredges up on military coups are well worth your time.
– Good stuff from Ethan Nadelmann in the Wall Street Journal:
Consider the consequences of drug prohibition today: 500,000 people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails for nonviolent drug-law violations; 1.8 million drug arrests last year; tens of billions of taxpayer dollars expended annually to fund a drug war that 76% of Americans say has failed; millions now marked for life as former drug felons; many thousands dying each year from drug overdoses that have more to do with prohibitionist policies than the drugs themselves, and tens of thousands more needlessly infected with AIDS and Hepatitis C because those same policies undermine and block responsible public-health policies.
I’d recommend Cato Unbound’s discussion on drug policy as a worthy companion piece.
– I’m late to this, but Professor Deneen remembers Mark Twain’s birthday with a great post. Here’s my favorite bit:
I grew up next to a family named Clemens. The two sisters who lived there – slightly older than my immediately younger brother and I – regularly tormented us in the way that only older girls can do (at least that’s how I remember it; I’m sure they’d have a different take). One day they were taunting us that “Deneen” wasn’t a famous name at all, and that they were related to Mark Twain. I taunted back, informing them that their last name was CLEMENS, not TWAIN, so they couldn’t be related, to which they shot back some cockamamie story about Twain being originally named Clemens. I shot inside our kitchen to ask my all-knowing Mother, who informed me that indeed Twain WAS born Sam Clemens, much to my chagrin. I asked her if WE were related to anyone famous, and she told me that we were, and gave me the lineage. I marched proudly out to those uppity Clemens sisters and told them that we WERE related to someone famous. “Yea, who,” they asked. “Adam and Eve,” I informed them, repeating my mother’s information. It’s a wonder I still talk to that woman.
I’ve belatedly realized that discussing the Latvian free speech crisis in the context of a post on democracy promotion misses the forest for the trees. And while I don’t want to inflate the severity of the issue, throwing an economic pessimist in jail for speaking truth to power fundamentally undermines the principle of free, unfettered discourse. Even if you think certain communal restrictions on individual speech are warranted, economic forecasting is one issue that demands vigorous public debate.
As I wrote earlier, I was lucky enough to visit Riga several times as an undergraduate. It was a lovely experience, and the country’s recent history – from de facto Soviet colony to a vibrant, independent nation – is absolutely inspiring, which makes this recent turn of events all the more disheartening. Here’s the original WSJ article on the crisis, as well as Clay Risen’s commentary for TNR. Apparently, a Latvian pop star was also detained for making disparaging remarks about the country’s financial woes.
For more English-language commentary, here’s an excellent blog on the Latvian economy whose author also posts at a Fistful of Euros. Juris Kaža, a Latvian journalist, recently started an indispensable blog that follows the government’s free speech crackdown. Pēteris Cedriņš’ excellent site also features a good round-up of English-language commentary. These two posts from All About Latvia were particularly informative.
In most cases, drawing attention to free speech restrictions in a foreign country is a futile effort, but my own experience suggests that Latvians value their nascent democratic institutions and aspire to full acceptance within the Western community of nations. Given these sensitivities, an uproar among American and European media outlets might actually deter the Latvian Government from pursuing its absurd restrictions on freedom of speech. If you’re so inclined, I heartily encourage you to make some noise.
- Truehoop’s Henry Abbott has a great post on Allen Iverson’s legendary crossover. He also includes a link to this forgotten gem from ’97 (watch until the end – MJ makes a cameo appearance):
- David Friedman continues to chronicle the NBA’s woefully inconsistent approach to scoring assists. I’m not sure if there’s a solution for stat-padding, though, because the definition of an assist – a pass that plays an important role in creating a scoring opportunity – seems fairly subjective.
- The Obama White House – Team of Ballers?