Sunday, July 03, 2005

Short takes for a long weekend, and maybe then some.

This blog may be offline until about the 10th or later, due to an office relocation and backed-up work and family obligations (no summer respite for the self-employed). Until then....

A Milton Friedman interview is always worth reading.

A Mark Steyn interview can't avoid being interesting and entertaining too.

"Vengeance is always important", says a Swede who's hired bounty hunters to track down those who kidnapped him and held him captive for 67 days in Iraq.

How badly has German economic policy been mismanaged? Schröder leads a vote of no confidence against his own government.

Speaking of which, Tino from the U. of Chicago econ department details the modes of denial the Europeans use to avoid dealing with their economic malaise.

Novel thought of the week year within the journalistic community...

Norman Pearlstine, Time Inc.'s editor in chief, said that he concluded after much reflection that, "We are not above the law." [NY Times]
Married life isn't all joy and sunshine, but going back to dating in today's world might have its drawbacks too.

Movie review snippet of the week:

...The only other noteworthy piece of acting comes from Tim Robbins as a possibly deranged survivor hiding from the invaders in an abandoned barn. After a few minutes in his company, you can only wish that the Martians - or maybe the bloodthirsty puppets from "Team America" - would hurry up and do their job... [NY Times]
Great moments in online advertising.

Democrats scare themselves.

On the New York Times Op-Ed pages, Tom Friedman writes on international economic issues as we once supposed Paul Krugman might. While Krugman writes ... what the heck is this?

Diane Ravitch on how even math is being politicized in the public schools.

What a difference a channel makes. On the British side they're reporting...
...research that shows that men and women are being increasingly turned off by media images of well-groomed, feminine-looking men.

More than three-quarters of men questioned as part of the Leo Burnett Man Study believed that images of men in advertising are out of touch with reality...

Sixty per cent ... said that their masculinity was defined by their status within the home and workplace, not by the way they looked.

The Maxim campaign, which began as a light-hearted swipe at so-called "metrosexuality", has received huge support from men. It has become so popular that there are even souvenir T-shirts and screensavers carrying slogans such as "don't manicure the man" and "walk like a man"...
... while on the French side the news is...

PARIS (AFP) - Macho man is an endangered species, with today's male more likely to opt for a pink flowered shirt and swingers' clubs than the traditional role as family super-hero, fashion industry insiders say.

A study along these lines led by French marketing and style consultants Nelly Rodi was unveiled to Fashion Group International during a seminar Tuesday on future strategy for the fashion industry in Europe.

"The masculine ideal is being completely modified. All the traditional male values of authority, infallibility, virility and strength are being completely overturned," said Pierre Francois Le Louet, the agency's managing director...

"We are watching the birth of a hybrid man ... Why not put on a pink-flowered shirt and try out a partner-swapping club?" asked Le Louet
OK, who do you want as your ally in the 21st Century?

Thomas Sowell notes his 75th birthday and the perspective it brings...

I have lived through nearly one-third of the entire history of the United States... Most Americans did not own a telephone or a refrigerator when I was born ... Franklin D. Roosevelt was Governor of New York .... Winston Churchill was just an ignored backbencher in the British Parliament. In the German elections of 1930, a fringe group called National Socialists received more votes than ever before ... No black man had ever played major league baseball ... and none was allowed to enlist in the U.S. Navy ... our family had no such frills as electricity, central heating, or hot running water ... I can remember at the age of nine seeing a public library for the first time and having to have a young friend explain to me patiently what a public library was...
... maybe things aren't so bad in our time after all.

It's Gumby's 50th Anniversary. And the museum retrospectives have started.

My own Senator, Chuck Schumer, while introducing trade sanctions against China, informs us...

Remember, a major tenet of free trade is that currencies need to be free to float in value against other currencies.
That's right Chuck, there was no free trade among nations during the gold standard era, and there's none between New York and New Jersey today. (How do people who are too dim to be allowed to vote get elected like this?)

Tim Worstall puts his finger on a fallacy that has caused humans incalculable grief over the last couple centuries, but which gets repeated in the press and politics all the time.

Finally, the German army apparently isn't what it used to be. Considering what it used to be, that might be a good thing, admittedly. But still...

German soldiers will be allowed to sport mullets and ponytails after a court ruled army hair regulations were unconstitutional.

The ruling came after an 18-year-old soldier was locked up in a cell and fined £100 when he refused to chop off his 10-inch ponytail...

The military court in Munich ruled in favour of the soldier and argued the varying rules for male and female recruits were "unconstitutional" and "incomprehensible".

It said forcing male soldiers to cut their long hair went against their rights as individuals.
... do we really want these guys as our military allies in the 21st Century? Hey, maybe we should encourage them to go off and join up with the French Rambettes to form the countervailing power to the U.S. that Chirac dreams of, and make Jacques happy.

If all this isn't enough to last you for a week, check out the new (to me at least) blogs Knowing Humans and The Chief Brief.

And don't forget the current issue of the New Libertarian...

... for a slant on health care we can all endorse!

Catch y'all later. Happy Fourth!