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Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, January 13. 2012
Don't swim in it: Raw sewage plagues New York City’s waterways
World's tiniest frogs found in Papua New Guinea
Cowen's Law and Literature reading list
The Global War Against Baby Girls
Bad news: Winegate: Red wine health researcher falsified data. A commenter observes:
Mormons not a favored religious minority
Is their skin too white?
“You know, we could solve a whole lot of problems if you would just treat us like white fellas.”
North Koreans Who Weren’t Sufficiently Hysterical Over Kim Jong-Il’s Death Headed to Labor Camps
That is something to cry about
But businesses are greedy
America the Generous? Not According to the Media
Those USMC reports: Not good - Evil.
Obama: Incompetent or Evil?
Tracked: Jan 13, 07:18
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Obama wants one billion dollars
and a press corps with Republican-seeking laser beams on their heads. whaaaah
But instead, he's got all this ill-tempered carping
re "Don't swim in it: Raw sewage plagues New York City’s waterways'
Some feeble minded thoughts:
1) It would be nice to have some historical perspective on sewage overflows. Was the system adequate in say, 1912? Or did they just dump raw sewage into the waterways on a daily basis?
If raw sewage was discharged for decades, it obviously didn't stop the growth of NYC or damage public health in any meaningful way, or people wouldn't live there.
One merely wonders what the point is in spending money to treat the sewage if it is done only on a part time basis?
Furthermore we don't see Nanny Bloomberg out in front on this issue, so even he must not see a health issue here.
2) A million bucks to install a few new signs? I would have liked to have had that contract.
3) I sincerely doubt that 'greening" NYC is going to hold much water back. Water is heavy and a water absorbing roof sounds like an accident waiting to happen. I don't believe they can plant enough trees and grass to make much of a dent in the runoff, but then again perhaps much less on NYC is paved over than I imagine? Anyway, it sounds like the rate payers money is being wasted in this endeavor.
4) I am struck by the leniency granted by the EPA. What? No fines? No lawsuits? Again tacit admission there is no problem.
Imagine if this were say, an electric utility with a CO2 belching power plant, or an oil refiner neglecting to use an unavailable type of ethanol to blend in fuel? Why the EPA would be on them like stink on poop.
Those USMC reports: Not good - Evil.
I'd like to throw my .02¢ in on this.
Yes, it was despicable. Yes, it violates every moral code you can think of. Yes it was mean spirited, offensive and beyond what are normally called the Western semi-codified "rules" of war.
For civilians that is.
Let's face it - these guys deal in death every day. Not only to they kill people, they see dead people up close and personal - a lot of dead people. At a certain point, they become so numb to it all that bodies are just bodies - dead meat lying on the ground. Nothing other than plain old dead meat - no more, no less. The enemy who they don't have respect for much less care anything about other than the fact that those Marines won the day.
I know it is hard for civilians to understand, but the simple truth is that civilians don't have to confront death and the dead in the same way as combat soldiers do. For some reason, civilians look at war as having a set of rules. There are no rules in war - the concept of "rules of engagement" is strictly a western European concept of chivalry, honor and deportment. Take a look back at conflicts from the American revolution until now and name me one war where anything honor and proper behavior was a trait practiced by both sides. You can't - war is different.
Is that a "big" deal? No. Is it "EVIL" No. The talking head commentary is that they are monsters - EVIL monsters I tell you. No - ain't that either. Nor is it a "moral" question.
What it is is a breakdown of professionalism and ethical standards in treating the dead with respect. That is a direct result of the constant battering and beating of the psyche these guys get on an almost daily basis. But "evil"?
No, not evil.
I like Mankiw, but I think the FF rate is one which is a wee bit misguided.
While the methodology he utilized shows a fine correlation, we all know that correlation is not causation, nor is it even necessarily 'related'.
If we're coming out of a liquidity trap (and I do agree we are), it may not be for any of the reasons he discussed, and it's just pure luck his formula 'works'.
His paper points out that in the long run monetary policy is neutral. Perhaps, if monetary policy is managed such that prices are not manipulated, this is true. But in his paper, he also points out that some inflation is viewed as a positive, because it "greases the wheels" of the labor markets. Many economist endorse this philosophy, and it was the backbone of Greenspan's tenure at the Fed.
But Austrians (and many Keynesians) would point out that in the long run, permitting and even endorsing a little inflation is, over the long run, corrosive. So this policy may 'help' labor markets over the long run (clearly it did while Greenspan was in office) but it is also not "neutral" over the long run. If adding employment is the goal of this policy, then we could say this is a succesful policy.
At some point, Austrians would point out that equilibrium has to be reintroduced. You can't keep adding water to a glass without it overflowing at some point. I can make a better analogy, but it's time consuming. The point is, this policy reached the end of its life span with the aggressively low interest rates from 2001 onward.
Thus, the high unemployment we suffer today is partially related to the monetary policy employed for many years.
Furthermore, while you may be able to use the unemployment rate as the proxy to help determine whether or not we are coming out of a liquidity trap, if you're resting your monetary assumptions on employment, then you're missing the boat. Why? Because you're not looking at the Labor Participation Rate.
I think it's wonderful that unemployment is "falling". But it doesn't mean more people are working. It doesn't even mean the economy is getting healthier.
What it means is that we are nearing what the Austrian economists would have said we need to reach, only that we should have reached faster - very high levels of non-employed people, at a new equilibrium level of employment for the current health of the economy. Where we go from here is more a question of whether we choose to continue to fund ourselves with debt, both public or private, or find a way to focus on productivity again.
In other words, getting out of the liquidity trap is the least of our problems. In fact, it's almost meaningless. All it means is that interest rates will rise. But when interest rates are near zero - what would one suspect could happen?
I'd argue they are rising for a simple reason: We are underestimating inflation. It's really quite rampant. 2 years ago, I could pay all my bills and put money aside on a salary that was considerably less than I'm making now. Today, I'm not doing poorly (so I'm not complaining), but I've noticed that my family can no longer get by on my income alone. If inflation is as low as I've been told it is - then where is all my money going?
"Those USMC reports: Not good - Evil"
Time for a new Rule of Engagement:
Even though a Taliban is not our enemy, and even though the USMC is here to assist in the civilizing of said Taliban, you may continue to petition headquarters for permission to use deadly force against a Taliban in the event said Taliban presents an imminent threat to your mission. However, should that permission be granted, and should you succeed in blowing a Taliban's head off, do not under any circumstances utilize the Taliban's dead body as a latrine, as doing so violates the Taliban's religious beliefs which we are here to respect and which are different from the Taliban's political and militaristic beliefs which we are here to impede and reform, as per our mission statement of 2001. The aforementioned forbidden urination regulation is effective immediately after terminating the Taliban and recovering his remains (including all recoverable body parts) until such time as said remains are transported and assigned to the local Mufti for performance of the proper Islamic burial rites. That is all.
Evil? young men who put their lives at risk everyday who perhaps had been in combat mere moments before...bad taste maybe but the chaps get my thanks and my support.
Don't swim in those New York waters. And don't sleep in the subway, either.
In the comments to the original story on the Marines one person referenced "With the Old Breed", a book on WWII that I also recently read. If you have read the descriptions of what that era's Marines did to the copses of Japanese soldiers and the context of death and living with death that occasioned it, this current story is a joke.
The Marines in Afghanistan today are professionals and fighting a war in the Internet age, so you would hope that they would know better. And act more professionally as has been said.
At worst, this is a minor infraction, not worth the coverage it has already received.
Incidentally, what's the box score on the Haditha trials? Six had charges dropped or dismissed, and one was acquitted. One more to go. If he is also acquitted would it be OK to piss on the grave of John Murtha?
Headlines: Obama wants smaller, more responsive government.
I getting whiplash. Wha-a-a-at? Gimme a break. An Alinskyite at his best.
In the Urination Stakes, the prize goes to the elderly Irishman who asked his best drinking buddy to come to his grave once a year on his birthday, and pour a bottle of Jameson's Irish Whiskey over it. The friend enthusiastically agreed, but requested that he be allowed to pass the Jameson's through his kidneys first.
So much for friendship.
Some WWII vets who cleared the South Pacific islands and later reunited for bridge or poker at my relative's house also told stories of what the Japanese did. Very graphic. War is not politically correct.
Several of my peers are still suffering from PTSD thanks to a war-with-no-identifiable enemy in Viet Nam. My own children have faced a war with no-front -lines in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Urinating on a corpse in not very professional, but at least the body is still intact and identifiable for proper burial. Can we suggest how many closed caskets have come home to America because the contents were not suitable for display?
The U.S.A. is going to be confronted with bad P.R. as long as it presumes the role of "caretaker for the world." I am not in a sufficient position to comment on the value of this role, but will only note that the Clooney's, Penn's and Pitt's of this world only urge more involvement in countries suffering from a lack of humanitarianism while decrying the necessity for soldiers on the ground to support such efforts. None have them have served in the armed forces.
Doctors Without Borders has reported over 100 personnel missing in South Sudan. They are noted for working with military support as they don't want to enrage those who resent the presence of armed guards. So much for being the good guy. So much for the liberal press and a military facing huge cutbacks responding to a stupid act.
Sorry, I meant to say that Doctors Without Borders works WITHOUT military support.
I was wondering if BD meant to drop the 'evil' on the next link down but was in a hurry, etc, and missed it in the edit. Doesn't make sense otherwise.
Pissing on a corpse? Does anyone remember Nick Berg or Daniel Pearl or any of the others, dearly beheaded. Let's see...you can pop the enemy in the squash with a 7.62x51 M24, but urinating on the dead man who would gladly cut your head off with a dull knife is forbidden? I'm a little lost here. Can someone help me out?
yep --where's the rest of the story? What we have is a reaction shot --Marines reacting to something that had happened to them or their unit, courtesy of the Taliban, who started the damn war in the first place.
Obama, incompetent or evil --or KGB?
We're fighting a 21st Century war with 5th Century barbarians who have 20th century weapons.
And we're supposed to play by the rules? We're supposed to play nice?
I know it's uncivil, disrespectful, etc., etc., etc. And yes - yes it is. They deserve a reprimand and at worst an Article 15 judgment - maybe a reduction in rank for 45 days with a corresponding reduction in pay for that time period, but a permanent scar on their military records? No way.
Fully agree with the above posts on this topic. How many of the media (having a field day reporting on this) have served our country?