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10 Jul 12:47

53% of Millennials Would Vote for a Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative Candidate

by Emily Ekins

Reason-Rupe has a new survey and report out on millennials—find the report here.

A majority—53 percent—of millennials say they would support a candidate who described him or herself as socially liberal and economically conservative, 16 percent were unsure, and 31 percent would oppose such a candidate.

Interestingly, besides libertarians, liberal millennials are the most supportive of a libertarian-leaning candidate by a margin of 60 to 27 percent. Conservative millennials are most opposed (43% to 48% opposed).

A libertarian-leaning candidate would appeal to both Democratic and Republican voters. For instance, 60 percent of Hillary Clinton voters, 61 percent of Rand Paul voters, 71 percent of Chris Christie voters, and 56 percent of those who approve of President Obama all say they would support a fiscally conservative, socially liberal candidate.

Registered voters are also more likely to favor (58%) this kind of non-traditional candidate than non-voters (48%).

Support for such a candidate also increases with educational attainment. Forty-nine percent of those with a high school degree or less would support a socially liberal, economically conservative candidate, compared to 63 percent of those with post-graduate degrees.

Religious millennials are far less likely to support a libertarian-leaning candidate. Among those who say religion is very important to them, 43 percent would oppose this non-traditional candidate, and 44 percent would support. Among those who say religion is not important to them, 58 percent would support a libertarian-leaning candidate, and 24 percent would oppose.

While partisanship and voting intention often vary by race and ethnicity, this is less so for a libertarian-leaning candidate. Fifty-five percent of both white and Latino millennials would support such a candidate, while 30 percent would oppose. Slightly fewer African-American and Asian American millennials would support the candidate, by a margin of roughly 46 percent in support to 37 percent opposed.

The fact that a socially liberal, fiscally conservative candidate mainly attracts liberals over conservatives indicates that social issues rather than economics largely drive millennials’ political judgments. It also suggests millennials are more socially liberal than they are economically liberal.  

Download the PDFTo learn more about millennials, check out Reason-Rupe's new report.

10 Jul 11:51

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 74 of Richard Stroup’s concise, important, and clear 2003 book, Eco-nomics: What Everyone Should Know About Economics and the Environment (footnote excluded; links added):

Recent studies show that in countries where property rights are better protected, people are healthier and live longer due to better environmental conditions.  For example, using the economic freedom index discussed earlier, Seth Norton found that in countries where property rights are protected, 93 percent of the population have access to safe drinking water, while in nations with weak property rights, only 60 percent of the population have that access.  Similarly, in nations with stronger property rights, 93 percent have access to sewage treatment, while only 48 percent do in countries with weak rights.  Life expectancy is 70 years in a nation with strong protection of property rights, while it is only 50 years in nations without that level of protection.

The article by Seth Norton referred to in Rick’s quotation is “Property Rights, the Environment, and Economic Well-Being,” which is a chapter in the important 1998 collection, Who Owns the Environment? (Peter J. Hill and Roger E. Meiners, eds.).

09 Jul 20:12

Police Misconduct -- The Worst Case in June

by Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Over at Cato’s Police Misconduct web site, we have identified the worst case for the month of June.  Police officer Ronald Harris tried to rob a woman at the Memphis International Airport.  This was an extraordinary theft.  Harris was trying to steal a bag from an employee of St. Jude Children’s Hospital who was, in turn, delivering the bag to a family. The bag was a gift from the Make-A-Wish Foundation—the organization that grants wishes to terminally ill children.  The bag held several St. Jude t-shirts and a $1500 credit card for the family to use for travel.  Harris followed the St. Jude employee into the airport and then struck a member of the family who tried to stop him from stealing their wish away.  Harris has been suspended pending an investigation and faces a long list of charges. Police misconduct is never good, but plotting to steal the wish from a terminally ill child and their family is just really low.

Full story here.

09 Jul 21:24



Just like Al Qaida is on the run...

09 Jul 18:01

Federal Follies 200 Years before Ex-Im

by Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

Anyone who thinks that Washington waste is something new should examine the history of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This essay discusses the mismanagement, corruption, and failures of the BIA since it was created in 1824.

As early as 1828, Indian expert H. R. Schoolcraft concluded: “The derangements in the fiscal affairs of the Indian department are in the extreme. One would think that appropriations had been handled with a pitchfork … there is a screw loose in the public machinery somewhere.”

By the 1860s and 1870s, New York Times editorials were railing against the “dishonesty which pervades the whole Bureau,” and arguing that “the condition of the Indian service is simply shameful.”

In their recent book, Uncle Sam Can’t Count, Burton and Anita Folsom describe the failure of a major Indian policy even before 1824. Here is the basic story:

• Unhappy that British fur traders were out-competing American traders, Congress appropriated $50,000 in 1795 to create frontier posts stocked with American goods to trade with the Indians for furs.

• These government-run fur “factories” were supposed to earn a return, but they “were so poorly run that many Indians held them in contempt and refused to trade there.” Congress had to heavily subsidize the system to keep it operating.

• Rather than respond to the market demands of the Indians, as private traders did, the official running the government system, Thomas McKenney, tried to push products on the Indians that he thought they ought to have.

• The government set up its trading posts at substantial distances from Indians. By contrast, private fur trader John Jacob Astor had his agents build close relationships with Indians, and he made trading easy for the tribes.

• Astor instituted pay for performance, while the government paid its fur bureaucrats fixed salaries.

• Astor watched international fur markets closely and adjusted his operations and marketing accordingly. The government ignored markets, and simply dumped furs in Washington for auction.

• Thomas McKenney was embarrassed by the government’s falling market share and the huge success of Astor. So, in 1818, McKenney began lobbying Congress to ban private fur traders. When that attempt at monopolization failed, McKenney lobbied to impose large fees on private traders and to boost taxpayer subsidies for the government system.

• Despite a new fee on private traders in 1820, the government system was falling apart because of plunging sales. An official report exposed the huge inefficiencies of the government system, and Congress finally voted to end it in 1822.

Long before Solyndra and the Export-Import Bank, politicians should have learned some basic lessons about why Washington ought to stay out of business. Unfortunately, each new generation of politicians are tempted to believe that enlightened federal planners can run the economy better than businesspeople and markets. Rather than wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars as it did two centuries ago, Congress blows billions of dollars today on new versions of its fur-trading folly.

09 Jul 11:41

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

… if from pages 128-129 of Virginia Postrel’s insightful and still-vital 1998 book, The Future and Its Enemies (bracketed remark and link added by me; footnote excluded):

The railroads, writes historian Edward Ayers, “neither wanted to police Southern race relations and then be sued for it nor to run extra cars [to segregate black passengers from white passengers].  It was clear that white Southerners could not count on the railroads to take matters in hand” by blocking or expelling black passengers from their first-class cars.  ”Some whites came to blame the railroads for the problem, says Ayers, “for it seemed to them that the corporations as usual were putting profits ahead of the welfare of the region.”  The critics were mostly right.  The railroads were not civil-rights pioneers but contract-bound, profit-seeking businesses for whom commerce was a “universal solvent.”  Outraged southern legislators, who already resented the railroads’ economic power, passed laws requiring segregated accommodations.  (It was one of these laws, passed by Louisiana in 1892, that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in the famous “separate but equal” case, Plessy v. Ferguson.)  Combining the technocratic lust to regulate business with the reactionary zeal to preserve social stability, Jim Crow laws imposed static definitions on a dynamic commercial culture inclined to treat customers as “colorless, odorless, and timeless.”

Robert Higgs’s remarkable 1976 volume, Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy, 1865-1914, has more on the economics and history of the Jim Crow south.  See also Jennifer Roback, “Southern Labor Law in the Jim Crow Era: Exploitative or Competitive?, “University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 51 (1984); and Jennifer Roback, “The Political Economy of Segregation: The Case of Segregated Streetcars,” 46 Journal of Economic History, Vol. 46 (1986).

08 Jul 14:38

Congressional Committee Thinks It Shouldn't Have To Answer The SEC's Questions About Insider Trading

by Tim Cushing
"Laws are for other people."
- Too many legislators to count
It's common knowledge that insider trading is illegal. In fact, we have an entire government agency in place to regulate trading and to investigate insider trading allegations. Executives have been sentenced to months (sometimes even years) in plush, well-appointed hellholes for participating in insider trading.

Members of Congress, however, were exempt from insider trading rules until 2012. An 2011 expose by 60 Minutes let millions of Americans know that members of Congress had plenty of access to market-changing information and were acting on it.

In a rare (ha!) show of self-preservation, a united House full of Congresspersons facing reelection battles passed the STOCK Act, which basically made Congress and its staffers play by the same trading rules as every other American.

In 2013, with Congressional members safely re-elected, the House decided to roll back its previous legislative effort in order to get back into the insider trading business. It tore out the stipulation demanding disclosure of trading activity -- the one thing citizens could use to verify adherence to the "no insider trading" rule -- stating that these disclosures were a "security risk." This sailed through with unanimous consent late on a Thursday afternoon (the end of the Congressional work week) and was signed by the President the following Monday.

Now, Congress is again claiming it doesn't need to submit to laws that govern US citizens and, again, it's doing this to avoid any transparency or accountability being applied to its trading activities.
The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and a top staff member say the panel and its employees are "absolutely immune" from having to comply with subpoenas from a federal regulator in an insider-trading probe.

The committee yesterday responded to U.S. District Court Judge Paul Gardephe's order to explain why it hadn't complied with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's requests for documents, phone records and testimony of aide Brian Sutter for more than a year.
The SEC is investigating a suspicious spike in health insurer trading volumes and prices ahead of a report that announced government payments to insurers would be increased, rather than decreased. This investigation claims that a Green Taureg LLC lobbyist sent the information to a Height Securities LLC analyst ahead of the official government announcement and that House Ways and Means staff director Brian Sutter may have been the originating source.

The Committee's legal rep has responded by claiming Congress is above the law or, if not above, very definitely adjacent to it, but certainly not within in and subject to federal subpoenas.
Kerry W. Kircher, the top lawyer for the House, said the SEC's request should be dismissed because the information it seeks concerns legislative activities protected by the Constitution, which can't be reviewed by federal judges.
Kircher also stated that his client does not and will not (EVER) have time for the SEC's "apply the insider trading rules to everyone" bullshit.
Sutter's connection to the investigation is "tangential" Kircher said, and would also interfere with his work because his schedule is "heavily, and nearly permanently, booked."
So, if anyone thought an SEC insider trading probe would bring more accountability to the House, those thoughts may now be dismissed to make room for more cynicism. There's a slim possibility the SEC may extract damning evidence, but it will have to fight its way through a House full of people with no conceivable reason to be compliant. Insider trading was a great Congressional job perk and its uncontested run helped pad the wallets of future lobbyists, board members and consultants. No one really wants to completely end it, but they'd certainly like people to stop talking about it.

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08 Jul 20:06

Amazon Offers Authors 100% Of Ebook Sales To Get Them To Recognize Its Fight With Hachette Isn't About Screwing Authors

by Mike Masnick
Last week, we had a post from author Barry Eisler, responding to a bunch of other authors who were attacking Amazon over its current contract dispute with Hachette. As Eisler noted, nearly all of their complaints were either misleading or didn't make sense. There's no doubt that there's a contract dispute going on, but claims of "boycotts" and other attacks seem really directed to people misunderstanding what's going on in the dispute -- and thus, those authors are defending the traditional gatekeeper publishing model in which Hachette gets to keep nearly all of the proceeds of book sales. Of course, the authors' main "complaint" was that they felt like they were being used as pawns in the fight, and that the dispute might impact their sales directly.

To show how bogus that claim is, Amazon today went directly to Hachette authors with a proposal Amazon claims Hachette rejected: offering to give authors 100% of the proceeds on ebook sales.
The letter extends and develops a proposal Amazon made earlier in the dispute, which was dismissed by Hachette. It now offers Hachette authors “100 percent of the sales price of every Hachette e-book we sell.” Amazon also offered to suspend all its shipping delays and price adjustments, which it put in place in an effort to bend Hachette to its will.
Of course, defenders of the publishers insist that this is all a ploy for Amazon in its never-ending mission to take over the world:
Roxana Robinson, president of the Authors Guild, dismissed the proposal.

“If Amazon wants to have a constructive conversation about this, we’re ready to have one at any time,” she said in an email. “But this seems like a short-term solution that encourages authors to take sides against their publishers. It doesn’t get authors out of the middle of this �“ we’re still in the middle. Our books are at the center of this struggle.”
Once again, it's confusing to figure out which side the Authors Guild is really on here. Since we started covering that organization, it appears that it sides 100% with the publishers and rarely sides with what matters for the vast majority of authors.

The whole situation is quite bizarre when you think about it. At the same time you have Hachette and the Authors Guild insisting that they're trying to "protect the book" by keeping book prices artificially high, they're loudly complaining that Amazon won't discount their books. Notice some hypocrisy here? If you want to understand why this is happening, the best explanation I've seen so far comes from Hugh Howey, one of the super successful self-published authors who is firmly in Amazon's camp on this fight. Writing in the Guardian, he notes the perverse incentives of the traditional publishing world on Amazon:
Under the previous wholesale model, publishers might price an ebook at $14.99, and with the 50% discount, an online retailer like Amazon was able to discount to a more reasonable $9.99 to serve customers. Customers who expect digital books to cost less than the paperbacks with which they were familiar. With the new discount rate, Amazon stood to lose money by offering that same price. Publishers, meanwhile, were less than enthusiastic about lowering the offered wholesale discount.

Publishers like Hachette now found themselves in enviable territory. They could price ebooks high �“ protecting their relationship with high-street booksellers �“ and rely on Amazon to cut their own margin to the bone in order to move quantities of ebooks. This new situation created the bizarre scenario where authors who once complained about Amazon's discounting are now complaining that they aren't discounting enough. And during these negotiations, parties from Hachette's side are accusing Amazon of raising prices by offering something close to what the publisher itself is setting.

In a presentation to investors, Hachette has stated as a primary goal the control of ebook pricing. Breaking their habitual silence just last week, a representative from Amazon confirmed that the sticking point in these negotiations is indeed price. So both sides have confirmed what's at stake. History would indicate that Amazon thinks ebooks should cost no more than $9.99. Their agreement with self-published authors supports this, as the royalty rate paid halves if the price exceeds this amount. Hachette, meanwhile, would very much prefer to offer ebooks at $14.99 or more and leave any discounting up to Amazon (or any pain up to their customers).
In other words, everyone really knows that ebooks should be priced lower, but the old publishing world wants to be able to set much higher prices, forcing Amazon to basically make no money at all on pricing the books lower. Given this scenario, it actually makes sense for Amazon to then make this offer to authors directly: it will hand over 100% of ebook revenue, because under Hachette's proposal, Amazon would make no money at all (or even lose money) on ebook sales anyway.

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07 Jul 18:00

CIA Sent FBI Agents After, Ended Career Of 19-Year Employee Over A FOIA Request For Historical Documents

by Tim Cushing
It wasn't even whistleblowing, although that too can destroy careers and lives. It was a FOIA request, made by someone who knew exactly which documents he wanted released.
His CIA career included assignments in Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq, but the most perilous posting for Jeffrey Scudder turned out to be a two-year stint in a sleepy office that looks after the agency’s historical files.

It was there that Scudder discovered a stack of articles, hundreds of histories of long-dormant conflicts and operations that he concluded were still being stored in secret years after they should have been shared with the public.

To get them released, Scudder submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act — a step that any citizen can take, but one that is highly unusual for a CIA employee. Four years later, the CIA has released some of those articles and withheld others. It also has forced Scudder out.
"Historical documents of long-dormant conflicts and operations." Scudder dared to ask for these documents, and the CIA cut him loose. It also sent another federal agency after him -- the FBI.
On Nov. 27, 2012, a stream of black cars pulled up in front of Scudder’s home in Ashburn, Va., at 6 a.m. FBI agents seized every computer in the house, including a laptop his daughter had brought home from college for Thanksgiving. They took cellphones, storage devices, DVDs, a Nintendo Game Boy and a journal kept by his wife, a physical therapist in the Loudoun County Schools.
To date, only his daughter has received her laptop back. Every other computer remains in the hands of the FBI, despite the fact that no charges were ever pressed and despite the fact that many of the documents Scudder asked for have been released by the CIA in the interim. More from his request list are due to be released in the near future.

The CIA avails itself of a wide array of FOIA exemptions, but its reluctance to publish historical documents is just baffling -- and is most likely a result of the agency's long-running adversarial relationship with transparency. It's been noted here before that the CIA has used the often-abused b(5) exemption to withhold documents over five decades old (dealing with the Bay of Pigs invasion), claiming that the release of the "sensitive" documents would "confuse the public."

Despite Scudder's efforts, the flow of historical CIA documents will only decrease in the future. The office charged with declassifying historical documents has been closed, deemed expendable by the agency in the face of budget cuts. This workload will be routed through the agency's FOIA office, creating even more incentive for the CIA to stonewall requests.

Scudder never did anything his superiors thought was wrong until after he attempted to free these historical documents. Everything the agency never took issue with during his previous 18 years of employment -- like personal call infractions and the possession of photos (taken by Scudder in his position as "official CIA photographer") deemed "classified" -- was suddenly yet another reason to force him out. It's been clear for a long time that the government doesn't care much for whistleblowers. It also seems to have something against transparency, even concerning documents of historical interest only.

Scudder did nothing criminal. He just did something the agency didn't like. And for that, he lost his job and clearance. So, it's not just whistleblowing that can get you destroyed. It's also holding the government to its own transparency standards -- something that isn't remotely criminal but is apparently completely unforgivable.

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07 Jul 03:35

Poor Billionaire (Relatively Speaking)

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

Suppose that you are Nicholas Woodman.  You awaken one morning and discover from a news report that Bill Gates is 55 times – 55 times! - financially richer than you are.  How do you feel?  Envious?  Of course.  Relatively deprived?  How could you not suffer such a deflating sentiment?

In an absolute sense, you must admit, you live quite well.  You are one of the richest human beings ever to trod this earth (and, indeed, one of the richest to trod it in the relatively prosperous early 21st century).  Yet you understand from the “Progressive” ethos that what really matters is not one’s absolute standard of living over the course of a lifetime.  Instead, what matters (according to this ethos) is relative financial rankings today – that is, how much $$$ you are currently worth relative to how much $$$ other people are currently worth.  If other people have a great deal more money than you have, you are deprived.  You are entitled to feel envious and to pontificate about the immorality of such financial inequality.

So even though you, Nicholas Woodman, currently have a net worth of $1.3 billion, your financial wealth remains a paltry 1.8 percent of Bill Gates’s financial fortune of $72 billion.  Should you complain?  Should you demand government action to ‘redistribute’ some of Gates’s wealth to you?

Anyone who knows that you, Nicholas Woodman, are on the 2013 Forbes list of 400 richest Americans would think you to be insufferably envious, appallingly ungrateful, pathetically insensitive, unspeakably greedy, and, indeed, likely mentally unbalanced if you complained and moaned about how much more financial wealth Bill Gates currently has relative to the amount of financial wealth that you have.  You, after all, have daily and easy access to an array of goods and services that most people in the world can only dream, with futility, of ever enjoying.  And historically, your consumption possibilities – what you can and do daily consume – is indescribably greater than what any of your ancestors until just a generation or two ago could consume.  So why are you complaining?

You answer: “Because, relative to the richest American, I’m financially poor.”  And indeed, financially you have virtually nothing compared to Mr. Gates.  (What, after all, is a puny $1.3 billion relative to $72 billion?)

And yet I’m quite confident that no one would think your complaints to be justified.  I for sure would not think that your complaints are justified (should you in fact, rather than in my simple hypothetical here, actually issue such complaints).


So why do we in America today think it appropriate for middle-income (or even “poor”) Americans to complain about the financial wealth of rich Americans?  Middle-income, and even “poor,” Americans are among the richest human beings ever to breathe.  The goods and services that ordinary and “poor” Americans today consume on a daily basis are far larger in volume and far grander in variety than what most people on the globe today consume on a daily basis – and unimaginably greater than what ordinary (and even “rich”) people throughout most of history consumed on a daily basis.  Even Louis XIV never spoke in real time with anyone who was not within earshot of Louis’s royal voice.

In 2012 (the latest year for which I can find reliable data), the mean household income of the top 5 percent (income-wise) of American households was only 28 times larger than the mean household income of the bottom 20 percent (income-wise) of American households.  (The mean household income of the top 20 percent of American households was only 16 times larger than the mean household income of the bottom 20 percent of American households.)

And the minimum annual income necessary for a household to be in the top one percent in the U.S. in 2012 – just above $394,000 – means that even some one-percenter households have annual incomes that are ‘only’ 34 times larger than the annual incomes of the typical households in the bottom quintile.

In other words, the difference in the current financial income of a typical bottom-quintile American household in 2012 from that of each of the incomes of even some households in the top one percent is smaller than is the difference in the current financial status of Forbes‘s lowest-ranked American billionaire, Nicholas Woodman, (on its list of the 400 wealthiest Americans for 2013) and that of America’s wealthiest tycoon (Bill Gates).

So riddle me this: if we believe (as I suspect most of us do believe) that Nicholas Woodman would have no business envying or otherwise fretting about the size of Bill Gates’s fortune relative to his own, why do so many of us accept as appropriate the envying and fretting by middle-class and poor Americans about the size of the fortunes of the top ten or top one percent?  I can see no good reason.


I understand that in the above I do not distinguish as carefully as I would in other contexts the differences between household incomes and individual incomes.  Nor do I – again, as carefully as I would in other contexts – either explain the especially great hazards of using data on household incomes (as opposed to individual incomes) or distinguish between income and wealth.  But none of these distinctions is relevant for the point of this post, which is that the difference between the financial well-being (however measured) of the person (Woodman) at the bottom of the Forbes‘s list of 400 richest Americans and that of the person (Gates) at the top of that list is greater than is the difference between the financial well-being of even poor Americans and that of many Americans in the top five percent or even the top one percent.

If billionaire Woodman ought not complain about the wealth (or income) of Bill Gates, then ordinary and even ‘poor’ Americans ought not complain about the wealth (or income) of the typical person or household in the top 20, 10, 5, or 1 percent.

06 Jul 14:30

Raising the EPA Radiation Limit Will Save Thousands of Lives and Billions of Dollars

by Jon Basil Utley

FukushimaThe EPA is raising the radiation threat level by a factor of 350. That may sound unbelievable but it is assuredly a good thing: The previous limits were far lower than science justified and caused hundreds of billions of dollars of economic loss to America and the world.

The trigger for the change was the government recognizing the ramifications of two things. The first is the reality of nuclear terrorism. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has recently insisted that the EPA establish realistic limits in accordance with the latest science. Under the old limits, a tiny “dirty bomb” explosion in an American city would have meant evacuating hundreds of thousands of people.

The second is Fukushima. After the catastrophic meltdown at the Japanese nuclear power plant in 2011, some 130,000 people were forcibly removed from their homes in accordance with strict radiation standards. This resulted in the unnecessary and unfortunate deaths of some 1600 elderly and ill persons. Yet no residents died—or even became ill—from the radiation. Even so, Japan closed down 48 nuclear plants and Germany announced it would close all of its plants. The cost to their citizenry in higher electricity prices—and higher carbon emissions—is staggering.

The cost to U.S. citizens is staggering as well. Ultra-low limits have delayed and prevented the construction of new nuclear power plants, added billions to the cost of refurbishing old reactors and Superfund clean-up sites, scared Nevada residents into opposing the opening of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facilities, and triggered panic whenever there has been a slight increase in radiation almost anywhere for any reason. One remembers the Three Mile Island nuclear leaks, where residents were exposed to less radiation than they got from the granite building blocks at the Senate hearing room when they testified.

Fortunately, the EPA is making changes that acknowledge the shortcomings of ultra-low radiation limits. The EPA has now asked for public comment on changing its standards for nuclear power plants.  The deadline was June 4.

Further, in Florida, the EPA has given up on enforcing a very expensive radiation cleanup under the old rules. This is a tremendous move that has nevertheless come under attack from environmental extremists who promised to resist the new rules even if “health effects prove reliable.” Some 100 watchdog groups have joined the attack.

Much of the reason for the EPA’s prior low exposure fears comes from a theory in computer models that the cancer risk is directly proportional to the dose of radiation. This is untrue below the 10 REM threshold of exposure as is well detailed in a Forbes article. Yet the theory, called LNT (linear no-threshold model), has done untold damage to America. (Further explanation and links are available in my earlier article Terrorism and Radiation.) The EPA change specifically refers to one time events, although its historic 15 millirem limit barely distinguished between short and long term exposure. Nuclear workers with prolonged exposure face a different risk. The first ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) recommended a “tolerance dose” of no more than 70 REM per year (0.2 roentgen per day), but more research needs to be done in this area, e.g. a 40 hour work week of exposure compared to continuous exposure. EPA’s limit was a maximum 5 REM over a full year.

The new nuclear limits should prompt the EPA to modify the extreme 15-25 millirem limits in other areas under its jurisdiction. Specifically, these should include allowing new nuclear electric plants to follow the same rules. Clean-up of past nuclear waste disposal sites would be another area of multi-billion dollar savings. The difference in cost is astronomical. Southern California Edison has now shut down its San Onofre nuclear plant because of the high cost of replacing steam generators. Higher radiation limits might make the repairs economically viable. The Yucca Mountain storage site costs should be recalculated from the past 15 millirem limit using the new risk numbers. However, the EPA has also specifically stated that the new guide “will not affect the agency’s Superfund authorities, existing cleanup regulations or current health and safety standards.” Currently the EPA’s Superfund clean up standards are based upon a risk factor of 1 person in 10,000 possibly developing cancer under LNT models. LNT theory does not distinguish between one-time exposure and continuous exposure.

Then there is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Using the same old EPA limits, it fanned the flames of panic in Japan by urging Americans up to 50 miles away to flee Fukushima. It should also update its risk analyses.

What’s missing now are some reliable analyses of the billions of dollars in savings that will result from using the new limits. In the nuclear weapons programs, the new limits should be analyzed and new safety rules put in place. Canadian nuclear physicist Jerry Cuttler, to whom I am indebted for much of the above information, suggests that the ALARA limits (as low as reasonably achievable) should be changed to AHARS (as high as reasonably safe).

Equally important, the EPA change brings attention to the issue that economic costs can be considered in its rulings. Historically, EPA denies this premise based upon its original mandate, which does not call on the agency to consider economic costs, it claims. The EPA has won in court with this argument. Most recently, Politico reported that “a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld EPA’s rule, known as MATS, denying challenges from states, utilities and industry groups which argued the rules came out of a flawed regulatory process and illegally imposed exorbitant costs on power producers that will force dozens of power plants to close down.” The industry argued that this decision would substantially raise electricity rates for consumers in much of the nation. EPA decisions are based on the same linear no-threshold models that any minimal exposure will cause cancer or asthma among some proportion of the population. But under this theory, even tiny amounts of sunlight are a threat to some human beings. As science advances to allow measuring parts per billion or even per trillion, EPA has proceeded to continuously tighten its limits.

Other skeleton in the EPA’s closet are environmental limits caused by its policy of “chasing the last molecule.” If EPA could be forced to modify its radiations limits, what about its other extremes? Take sulfur, for example. Its prevalence has already been reduced by 90 percent. Still, using its now discredited LNT theory, EPA is has ordered refiners to eliminate the last 10 percent. This will add between 6 and 9 cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline.

There is another major implication. Many if not most of the EPA's other limits on pollutants and carcinogens are also deduced from the faulty LNT theory. Eliminating 90 percent of some chemical or dust is often easily accomplished, however, eliminating the last 10 percent can cost billions more than the first 90 percent. For example, a Wall Street Journal report on ozone explains that new EPA limits reducing ozone from today’s 75 parts per billion to 60 to 70 ppb would cost industry some $90 billion, according to the EPA itself. These are the costs that many industries are howling about and a real reason that Americans’ standard of living has stopped increasing. Much analysis, beyond the scope of this report, needs to be researched for dozens of other excessive limits imposed by Washington, D.C.

The yearly cost of unnecessary EPA regulations is in the many hundreds of billions of dollars, reducing wages and hurting the world's standard of living. And yet these positive modifications are under severe attack from green extremists. Rather than fighting sensible and cost-saving reforms, they should help rescue the legitimate environmental movement from far-left activists whose hysterical opposition to logical standards truly threatens world prosperity.

Mr. Utley is publisher of The American Conservative. He has written widely on energy, radiation, and civil defense. He was a foreign correspondent in Latin America for Knight Ridder newspapers and, for 17 years, a contract commentator for the Voice of America.

03 Jul 19:20

School Board President Ditches Michelle Obama's Lunch Program: She's Been 'Elected By No One'

Local school districts in Wisconsin are opting out of the onerous school lunch guidelines that have been pushed largely by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her campaign to fight obesity, choosing instead to make their own guidelines about proper food nutrition at the local level.

As the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports, Rick Petfalski, school board president of the Muskego-Norway School District, said, “We believe that proper food nutrition and meal portion guidelines are best decided at a local level.”

Petfalski’s school district’s decision to opt out of the National School Lunch Program means it will no longer receive federal money for its meals, but also that the district is free to serve whatever it wants.

“By leaving the program we will not be required to follow these onerous guidelines, pushed by and large by Michelle Obama, who last I checked has been elected by no one,” Petfalski said.

The school district will now cover the cost of free and reduced lunches on its own, though it was already losing money when it was part of Obama’s program because fewer kids were purchasing the meals. According to the Journal-Sentinel report, the school district will spend less on foods that students do not eat and, consequently, increase the number of children who purchase lunches by providing more satisfying meals.

Petfalski said his school district’s food service was projected to have nearly a $54,000 deficit. By opting out of the national program, he expects about a $7,100 surplus due to increased sales of food.

In addition to Muskego-Norway, the Waterford Graded School District, Waterford Union High School, which operates as a separate school district, and the Central High School District of Westosha, have opted out of Michelle Obama’s school lunch program.

“There was a lot of waste,” said Christopher Joch, Waterford Graded’s superintendent. “The food ended up in the garbage instead of the kids’ mouths.”

Joch said the decision to leave the national school lunch program was strongly supported by parents.

03 Jul 13:52

"Hurricane" Arthur Looms - Evacuations Ordered; State Of Emergency Declared

by Tyler Durden

Not so happy 4th of July for residents and visitors of the Outer Banks. As Bloomberg reports, Arthur strengthened off the coast of North Carolina to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, packing maximum winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour. Officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order and a county-wide state of emergency has been declared.



As Bloomberg reports,

Arthur strengthened off the coast of North Carolina to become the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, packing maximum winds of 75 miles (120 kilometers) per hour.


The system was about 190 miles south-southwest of Cape Fear, North Carolina, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said in an advisory at 5 a.m. local time. It was traveling north at 9 miles per hour and is expected to move near to the North Carolina Outer Banks tonight, the advisory said.


“Hurricane Arthur is going to greatly affect the Outer Banks of North Carolina,” Rob Richards, meteorologist at State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather Inc. said by phone today. “They could see winds as high as maybe 90 to 95 miles per hour with flooding rainfall.”


Arthur would be the first hurricane to hit the U.S. since 2012 should it strike North Carolina’s Outer Banks. A hurricane warning is in place from Surf City, North Carolina, to the border with Virginia, Pamlico Sound and Eastern Albemarle Sound, the notice said.


Officials in Dare County, North Carolina, where at least 250,000 vacationers are spending their Fourth of July holiday, issued a mandatory evacuation order for Hatteras Island beginning today. A countywide state of emergency was declared in neighboring Hyde


County, where officials called for a voluntary evacuation of Ocracoke Island. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared states of emergency throughout coastal areas.

On the bright side the Keynesians will be cock-a-hoop - think of all the broken windows and GDP enhancing growth opportunities.

Meet #Arthur, the first hurricane of the 2014 Atlantic season:

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 3, 2014

We wonder how accurate NOAA will be this year.,..

NOAA Forecasted Hurricane Ranges vs. Actual Number of Hurricanes:

— Michael McDonough (@M_McDonough) July 1, 2014

03 Jul 12:12

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from my colleague Walter Williams’s January 2000 essay “Capitalism and the Common Man“:

Henry Ford benefited immensely from mass-producing automobiles, but the benefit for the common man from being able to buy a car dwarfs anything Ford received.  Individuals and companies that produced penicillin and polio and typhoid vaccines may have become very wealthy, but again it was the common man who was the major beneficiary.  In more recent times, computers and software products have benefited our health, safety, and quality of life in ways that far outstrip whatever wealth was received by their creators.

02 Jul 21:51

The Real Money in the Climate Debate

by admin

I have yet to meet a skeptic who reports getting any money from mysterious climate skeptics.  A few years ago Greenpeace had a press release that was picked up everywhere about how Exxon was spending big money on climate denialism, with numbers that turned out to be in the tens of thousands of dollars a year.

The big money has always been in climate alarmism.  Climate skeptics are outspent a thousand to one.  Here is just one example

It sounds like the makings of a political-action thriller. The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) has awarded Arizona State University a five-year, $20 million agreement to research the effects of climate change and its propensity to cause civil and political unrest.

The agreement is known as the Foresight Initiative. The goal is to understand how climate-caused disruptions and the depletion of natural resources including water, land and energy will impact political instability.

The plan is to create visually appealing computer models and simulations using large quantities of real-time data to guide policymakers in their decisions.

To understand the impacts of climate change, ASU is using the latest advances in cloud computing and storage technologies, natural user interfaces and machine learning to create real-time computer models and simulations, said Nadya Bliss, principal investigator for the Foresight Initiative and assistant vice president with ASU's Office of Knowledge and Development.

I can tell you the answer to this study already.  How do I know?  If they say the security risks are minimal, there will be zero follow-up funding.  If they say the security risks are huge, it will almost demand more and larger follow-up studies.  What is your guess of the results, especially since the results will all be based on opaque computer models whose results will be extremely sensitive to small changes in certain inputs?

Postscript:  I can just imagine a practical joke where the researchers give university officials a preview of results.  They say that the dangers are minimal.  It would be hilarious to see the disappointment in the eyes of all the University administrators.  Never in history would such a positive result be received with so much depression.  And then the researchers would say "Just kidding, of course it will be a catastrophe, it will be much worse than predicted, the badness will be accelerating, etc."

02 Jul 19:35

Alabama Crushes Sex Offender Reform Camp for No Good Reason

by Zenon Evans

In rural Clanton, Alabama, a pastor named Ricky Martin has operated a camp on his property to help convicted sex offenders reform themselves. Martin's program has since 2010 provided a refuge for over 50 men as they try to assimilate back into society. Not anymore, though. C.J. Robinson, the chief deputy district attorney of Chilton County, thought the group was icky or dangerous or something, so he went out of his way to put an end it.

The Associated Press reports on this incident:

Martin ... said he met men with no place to go while serving as a volunteer chaplain in a state prison. He came up with the idea of a sex offender refuge in rural Chilton County, far away from any schools or day care centers, and began screening potential prisoners to live there. …

"We try to live Christian," said Kenny Dark, who served time for rape and has lived in one of the campers. "We go to the church Wednesday and two times on Sunday. We help each other."

Robinson … said Monday he doesn't doubt the sincerity of Martin's religious beliefs. He said no one living at the camp has been arrested for additional sex-related crimes. And, he said, sex offenders do need a place to live.

If not behind a tiny church in an agricultural county with about five dozen people per square mile, then where?

Robinson said he doesn't know. But having so many ex-convicts with similar criminal records in one place is a public safety threat, he said, and Martin doesn't have the specialized training and credentials to deal with them. …

So [Robinson] wrote a bill to shut down the camp by prohibiting two convicted sex offenders from living within 300 feet of each other on the same property unless they are married.

The bill passed in March without any dissent and took effect July 1. Property owners can face up to a $5,000 fine if they violate the law. Great! Let's just recap: Martin had a private system that kept sex offenders away from potential victims while also giving them a community and sense of moral purpose, and Robinson crushed it without any idea of what to do next.

No matter the fact that many communities throughout the U.S. implement similar restrictions, which tend to force sex offenders to either become homeless or move into high density enclaves in cities, where locals then get spooked, and the convicts, despite having done their time, are treated as though they're still dangerous and face severe restrictions on basic things like their ability to walk to a park.

"This might be the only chance I ever have as a prosecutor to try to take steps on the front end," insisted Robinson, and by golly, he just had to take that chance. 

02 Jul 20:03

Save the Lion-Hunting Cheerleader, Save the Lions!

by Brittany Ann Morrisey

ROARKendall Jones is a young, blond Texas cheerleader and—if you listen to the Internet outrage machine—a cold-blooded killer.

The 19-year-old Texas Tech University student has been attacked on her Facebook page for posting photos of herself posing with dead exotic animals she killed on African hunting trips. Currently, there are two petitions calling for her hide: the first one asks Facebook to take down the photos and the second asks for her to be barred from Africa

Jones has defended her big game hunting saying that her kills are not only legal but they promote conservation efforts.

And you know what? She's right.

It seems counterintuitive: How can killing animals actually save endangered wildlife?

According to Reason Science Coorespondent Ronald Bailey we should look to the chickens:

"The world is in no danger of running out of chickens. Yet the world has fewer and fewer elephants. lions, tigers, giraffes and so forth. Why? In part it is because no one owns wild animals and consequently they are nuisances rather than resources."

A 2005 paper in the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy provides evidence for this phenomenon:

"The legalization of white rhinoceros hunting in South Africa motivated private landowners to reintroduce the species onto their lands. As a result, the country saw an increase in white rhinos from fewer than one hundred individuals to more than 11,000, even while a limited number were killed as trophies."

A study done by Peter Lindsey, a conservation biologist with the Univeristy of Zimbabwe in Harare, came to the same conclusion:

"Trophy hunting is of key importance to conservation in Africa by creating [financial] incentives to promote and retain wildlife as a land use over vast areas." 

Because contrary to what animal rights activists are posting on Jones' Facebook page, the primary threat to endangered animals is not trophy hunting. It's the destruction of the animals' natural habitats and poaching. And as conservationist Mike Norton-Griffiths points out, private ownership curbs both of these issues:

"The economic driving force behind both these is the fact that for most landowners the returns available from agriculture greatly exceed those from livestock, so it pays them to plough up the rangelands. Everything is loaded against landowners making money from wildlife..."

If Kenya wishes to maintain significant wildlife populations outside its protected areas, then it has to ensure that landowners can gain an income from wildlife that is competitive with what they can earn from agriculture and livestock."

Let the cheerleader hunt. She's saving our wildlife, after all.

02 Jul 18:04

Emails Show Cozy Relationship Between Comcast Execs And DOJ Antitrust Folks; Party Invitation Blocked By 'Rules Folks'

by Mike Masnick
A new FOIA discovery via Todd Feathers at MuckRock has turned up some emails showing a rather cozy relationship between top Comcast execs and Justice Department antitrust officials. In fact, just days before Comcast announced its intent to acquire Time Warner Cable, Comcast Senior VP of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, Kathryn Zachem, had invited Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Renata Hesse, to "attend a celebration of the opening ceremony" of the Sochi Olympics, care of Comcast NBC Universal. Hesse sent an email saying that she really wanted to attend but "the rules folks over here tell me I can't do this." Though, she still says that they need to get dinner sometime soon. When Zachem responds that she had hoped it would still be okay because "we have nothing formally before you all," Hesse notes "our ethics rules are very restrictive." Two weeks later, Zachem was again emailing Hesse to give her "a heads up on an announcement we are making in the early AM." It was, of course, the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. A couple days later, there's another email exchange between Zachem and Hesse, in which Hesse introduces Zachem to David Gelfand at the Justice Department who "will be working on this for the front office with me." She notes "If you don't know him, you will and I know you will like him. He's just terrific." Zachem replies: "Hello David - if Renata says I will like you then I already do!" Gelfand jokingly replies:
In the interest of full disclosure, Renata sent her nice email while still under the influence of my having just bought her a cup of coffee. But hopefully I can live up to the advance billing!
Just the kind of chummy, friendly relationship you want to see from the people tasked with determining whether or not your multi-billion merger should be allowed to go through. And, yes, I recognize that regulators and top execs in charge of regulatory affairs are going to have personal connections and relationships with each other. That happens. But given the situation and the timing, this certainly raises the usual questions of just how objective the DOJ's review of the merger will be.

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01 Jul 07:40

Снайперская работа

01 Jul 13:50

Quotation of the day on the greatest system to promote sustainability ever devised – free market capitalism…

by Mark J. Perry

…. is from Warren Meyer (Coyote Blog):

Environmentalists seem to all feel that capitalism is the enemy of sustainability, but in fact capitalism is the greatest system to promote sustainability that has ever been devised.  Every single resource has a price that reflects its relative scarcity as compared to demand.  Scarcer resources have higher prices that automatically promote conservation and seeking of substitutes.  So an analysis of an investment’s ability to return its cost is in effect a sustainability analysis.  What environmentalists don’t like is that wind does not cover the cost of its resources, in other words it does not produce enough power to justify the scarce resources it uses.  Screwing around with that to only look at some of the resources is just dishonest.

HT: Warren Smith

01 Jul 12:33

Dog coughs up missing wedding ring -- five years after it disappears...

Dog coughs up missing wedding ring -- five years after it disappears...

(First column, 15th story, link)

30 Jun 11:41

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 259 of the 1992 collection of some of William Graham Sumner’s best essays, On Liberty, Society, and Politics (Roger C. Bannister, ed.); specifically, this quotation is from Sumner’s insightful 1894 essay “The Absurd Effort to Make the World Over”:

Can anyone imagine that the masterfulness, the overbearing disposition, the greed of gain, and the ruthlessness in methods, which are the faults of the master of industry at his worst, would cease when he was a functionary of the State, which had relieved him of risk and endowed him with authority?  Can anyone imagine that politicians would no longer be corruptly fond of money, intriguing, and crafty when they were charged, not only with patronage and government contracts, but also with factories, stores, ships, and railroads?  Could we expect anything except that, when the politician and the master of industry were joined in one, we should have the vices of both unchecked by the restraints of either?

Sumner theorized about policy realistically: unlike the typical advocate of more government intervention, he understood that it’s illegitimate to assume that miracles occur.

30 Jun 17:01

U.S. Relies On Law from Governments Which Don’t Even HAVE a Constitution to Justify Assassination of U.S. Citizens By Drone

by George Washington

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says:

No person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law ….

So how did the legal memorandum “justifying” assassination of U.S. citizens by drone try to sidestep the Fifth Amendment?

It relied on reasoning from two countries that don’t have any constitution.

The New York Times reports:

One might have expected a thoughtful memo that carefully weighed the pros and cons and discussed how such a strike accords with international and Constitutional law.


Instead, the memo turns out to be a slapdash pastiche of legal theories — some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law — that was clearly tailored to the desired result. Perhaps the administration held out so long to avoid exposing the thin foundation on which it based such a momentous decision.

Neither England nor Israel have a constitution.

Indeed, as the BBC notes, they are in a very small group of three:

In all but a handful of democracies in the world, the nation’s constitution can be found in a single document. The exceptions are Israel, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Nothing in the memo says that it only applies to U.S. citizens living abroad. Indeed, the government has claimed the right to assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process. And see this.

And – contrary to misleading statements to the contrary – the U.S. has never said that it won’t assassinate Americans living on U.S. soil.

Sadly, even though Americans have a constitution, we have lost virtually all of the rights contained in that document.

Postscript: While this article focuses on U.S. citizens,  assassinating non-citizens by drone has problems as well:

30 Jun 18:42

NOAA Quietly Reinstates July 1936 -- Not July 2012 -- As Hottest Month On Record...

NOAA Quietly Reinstates July 1936 -- Not July 2012 -- As Hottest Month On Record...

(Third column, 17th story, link)

30 Jun 14:41

Quotation of the day on ‘global warming’ ….

by Mark J. Perry

…. is from Matt Ridley’s June 19 Financial Post article “IPCC commissioned models to see if global warming would reach dangerous levels this century. Consensus is ‘no’“:

The answer to climate change is, and always has been, innovation. To worry now in 2014 about a very small, highly implausible set of circumstances in 2100 that just might, if climate sensitivity is much higher than the evidence suggests, produce a marginal damage to the world economy, makes no sense. Think of all the innovation that happened between 1914 and 2000. Do we really think there will be less in this century?

As for how to deal with that small risk, well there are several possible options. You could encourage innovation and trade. You could put a modest but growing tax on carbon to nudge innovators in the right direction. You could offer prizes for low-carbon technologies. All of these might make a little sense. But the one thing you should not do is pour public subsidy into supporting old-fashioned existing technologies that produce more carbon dioxide per unit of energy even than coal (bio-energy), or into ones that produce expensive energy (existing solar), or that have very low energy density and so require huge areas of land (wind).

The IPCC produced two reports last year. One said that the cost of climate change is likely to be less than 2% of GDP by the end of this century. The other said that the cost of decarbonizing the world economy with renewable energy is likely to be 4% of GDP. [See for example, this summary.] Why do something that you know will do more harm than good?

30 Jun 16:36

TOP DEM: President will 'borrow the power'...


Another word for this is "usurp"...

29 Jun 18:27

On the imaginary hobgoblin of ‘income inequality’ and the 80% reduction in world poverty, thanks to freedom, markets

by Mark J. Perry

worldpovertyFrom James Harrigan and Anthony Davies, writing in their article “Pope Francis, Bad Economist“:

It is worth noting that, while it may fuel resentment and envy, especially after politicians have made their demagogic hay, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with inequality. Equality of opportunity will always result in inequality of outcome. Some people work harder than others. Some people are smarter than others. And yes, some people are simply luckier than others.

Poverty, on the other hand, is a real and pernicious evil. In the entire history of the human race, no one has ever died of inequality. But far too many have died of poverty. It would do us well not to lose sight of the real evil in our midst, even as the political elite, Pope Francis included, rail against an imagined one.

Over the past two generations, while the number of people on Earth doubled, the number percentage of people living in extreme poverty declined by 80 percent (see chart above, the number of people living in poverty has fallen by 62.3%), largely as a result of increased economic freedom globally. Today, almost all people in economically free countries can afford cures for diseases that killed the richest people only a century ago. The average person with a cell phone today has better and quicker access to more complete information than the President of the United States enjoyed just a generation ago. A plot of land that a century ago could feed one family today can feed hundreds of families.

These advances came not because of governments but in spite of them. They are the fruits of economic freedom. It would seem that the head of the Catholic Church, an organization that appreciates that free will is a necessary precondition for charity, would be the first to champion free markets. Francis instead sidesteps them completely, preferring instead to view the world’s relatively well-off merely as caretakers for wealth their governments have yet to reappropriate.

Pope Francis recently tweeted that, “Inequality is the root of social evil.” He is wrong. Coercion is the root of social evil. And government is the most effective tool for coercion humans have devised.

It is high time to acknowledge that free markets are the only mechanism at our disposal that will lift the world’s poor out of poverty. Real concern with the plight of the poor requires a sober examination of the data at hand. Until Pope Francis does this, his good intentions will pave the road to continued poverty, poverty that could have been wiped away by the gentle hand of free markets.

27 Jun 21:14

Google to Block Firearm, Ammunition, Gun Accessory Ads


No more car ads either, I guess, if dangerous things must be avoided...

Beginning in September, Google plans to block firearm, ammunition, and gun accessory ads.

According to Google Support's "Dangerous Products or Services" page, the company "[wants] to keep people safe both online and offline, so [they] won't allow the promotion of some products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury."

Included in the dangerous products for which ads will be blocked are "Guns & Parts." This covers "functional devices that appear to discharge a projectile at high velocity, whether for sport, self-defense, or combat."

Also included is a ban on ads for "any part or component that's necessary to the function of a gun or intended for attachment to a gun." This covers "gun scopes, ammunition, ammunition clips or belts."

The ban will also halt ads for "dangerous knives... throwing stars, brass knuckles, [and] crossbows," among other things.

Google Support says the ads that will be banned "are subject to change." 

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at  

27 Jun 20:54

Today's WTF Moment Of The Day At 1550ET

by Tyler Durden

We noted previously the comedic melt-up in stocks in the last few minutes of the day but away from the simple-to-see shenanigans in VIX and the major equity indices, Nanex shows a massive number of stocks experienced a stunning coordinated WTF moment at 1550ET... unrigged?

Not enough riggedness in the major indices...?


Take a look under the covers... (via Nanex)

On Friday, June 27, 2014 at 15:50:00 - 143 stocks suddenly moved at least 2% (with some exceeding 10%) in just a few seconds. There were 678 stocks that moved 1/2 of a percent or more.  This explosion of trading activity dwarfed even the closing seconds of the day, when the annual Russell Reconstitution process occurred (changing of symbols in the Russell Indexes). In the one second at 15:50:00, approximately 400 stocks had NBBOs (National Best Bid/Offer) that were crossed (best bid price greater than best ask price) and more than 1000 stocks had NBBOs that were locked (best bid price equals best ask price).

1. Each line represents one of 678 stocks that moved 0.5% or more.

The noticeable green line is the price track of  the stock of MannKind Corp (symbol MNKD) which had a significant (unrelated) news event.

2. Same chart as above, but color coded by reporting exchange.
Note the many green lines after 16:00 when the market closes. These are dark pool trades which were reported late.

3. Each line represents one of the 143 Stocks that moved 2% or more in a few seconds at 15:50:00. Value scale shows percent change from 15:50:00.

4. Zooming in closer (27 seconds) we can see there were several waves of explosive activity.

5. Chart shows about 5 seconds of time.


*  *  *

Did someone make a dark pool angry?

27 Jun 11:33

The Future Is Now: Cheating In Online Games Leads To Arrests In Japan

by Timothy Geigner


Any video game producer who produces a product for which online play is a large component also has to fight an ongoing arms-race against cheaters and hackers who gain an unfair advantage in the game and threaten the gamer ecosystem. It's annoying, it sucks, and the fight is unending. For online games, that's just kind of the deal. Most companies work with programmers and 3rd party service providers, like Steam, to try to ban players who cheat. Other companies, such as Blizzard, choose to try to twist copyright law into some kind of anti-cheater pretzel. Japan, on the other hand, appears to be done screwing around.

Newspapers in the land of the rising sun are reporting that three teenagers have been arrested for cheating in the online first-person shooter Sudden Attack. Yes, arrested.

Yomiuri Online, one of Japan's largest newspapers, reports that this is the first time gamers have had criminal liability charged against them in Japan for allegedly using cheat programs. One of the gamers is a university freshman, another is a 17 year-old vocational school student, and the last of the trio is a 17-year-old high school student. In Nexon's statement about the legal charges, the company explains that these three players allegedly used the cheat tools repeatedly in the game. IT Media reports that distribution of cheats was also allegedly involved.
Yup, things just got a little more real in the realm of pretending to shoot everyone you see. Yes, cheating is annoying. But criminal? That seems like a massive overreaction and tremendously dangerous. Cheating in online games goes back all the way to the dial-up days and companies have always taken it upon themselves to keep cheaters out of their games. They may not like the arms race, but that hardly means it should reach the level of criminal liability -- especially when the line between cheating and just gaining some kind of advantage may get blurry pretty fast. It's reasonable to argue that if the game maker allows something to happen in the game, then it's on that game maker to set things up to block actions it doesn't like. Opening it up to the criminal justice system seems like a recipe for disaster.
Cheating is wrong, but couldn't Nexon simply ban these players? Maybe the company tried, but was unsuccessful. Or maybe Nexon should've tried harder to combat the cheats. But making them a crime?
It's easy to point at cheaters and say they aren't worth defending, but nobody really wants to open up this can of worms where we can all be charged with crimes for messing around in a game.

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