Archived Posts August 2005 - Page 3 of 10 | Acton PowerBlog

Blog author: jballor
Thursday, August 25, 2005
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A commentary from the Tax Foundation looks at government subsidies for the construction of a new stadium for MLB’s Washington Nationals. Analyst Eric A. Miller writes, “Funding a new stadium in the District may be good politics, but it is bad public policy. Major League Baseball will be laughing all the way to the bank while D.C. residents will find that they get much less than they were promised — and paid for.”

HT: Townhall.com

As the new school year begins, Anthony Bradley reflects on the role of the parent in creating educational success. “Overall, children in loving, stable two-parent homes have an academic and social advantage over those who do not,” he writes.

Read the full text here.

Blog author: jballor
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
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I was wondering how long it would take for this to happen. The acceptability of Google’s politics and public persona could only insulate it from the requisite corporate suspicion for only so long.

In today’s New York Times, Gary Rivlin writes of growing distrust of Google: “instead of embracing Google as one of their own, many in Silicon Valley are skittish about its size and power. They fret that the very strengths that made Google a search-engine phenomenon are distancing it from the entrepreneurial culture that produced it – and even transforming it into a threat.”

How much of the “grousing” is merely bad sportsmanship? More than a bit, I think. After all, “Just as Microsoft has been seen over the years as an aggressive, deep-pocketed competitor for talent, Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley complain that virtually every time they try to recruit a well-regarded computer programmer, that person is already contemplating an offer from Google.”

When Google beats you at something, the proper response would be to raise your game. This would spur innovation. But instead, the Google’s competitors seem more interested in complaining rather than competing:

“Google is doing more damage to innovation in the Valley right now than Microsoft ever did,” said Reid Hoffman, the founder of two Internet ventures, including LinkedIn, a business networking Web site popular among Silicon Valley’s digerati. “It’s largely that they’re hiring up so many talented people, and the fact they’re working on so many different things. It’s harder for start-ups to do interesting stuff right now.”

Sour grapes, anyone?

Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
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Food aid destined for Zimbabwe is still stuck in South Africa

Harare (ENI). At least 37 tonnes of food aid sent by the South African Council of Churches (SACC) to benefit victims of Zimbabwe’s internationally condemned “clean-up” operation are still in South Africa due to Zimbabwe government red tape that has held up the shipment for more than two weeks. The aid includes staples such as white maize, sugar beans and cooking oil. “All the paperwork has been submitted. We are waiting,” said Ron Steele, spokesperson for the SACC, which responded to the plight of more than 700 000 Zimbabweans.

Blog author: jballor
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
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Once again, my alma mater, Michigan State University, has been snubbed by the Princeton Review. While the list of the “Top Party Schools” does feature four Big 10 campuses, MSU, which hosted at least 3 major alcohol-induced riots in the past decade, fail to crack the top twenty.

HT: The Daily Eudemon

This feature from yesterday’s Marketplace looks at the “endless variations of designer hybrid dogs.” These new breeds crossing more traditional lines of dogs can command a large pricetag.

The “cute name” attraction, the possibilities of allergen free dogs, and the idea of getting the best of both breeds have put these designer dogs in high demand. My wife and I are currently considering getting a Cockapoo, a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle mix.

A labradoodle.

I’m bringing up these new breeds, though, as an illustration of what morally permissible creation of “genetic” chimeras might look like. I’ve blogged about chimeras on the PowerBlog previously, but very often there is great difficulty in determining what is legitimate and what is not.

I’m proposing that chimeras that can be created without direct genetic manipulation should generally be considered acceptable. So the case of mixed dog breeds that can mate and procreate naturally meets and exemplifies this criteria.

Update: We’ve decided to get the dog.

Not in Michigan, after a recent Court of Appeals decision that overturned a decision of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, which had ruled that Brother Rice Catholic High School outside of Detroit must be allowed to organize. Dr. Samuel Gregg, Director of Acton’s Center for Academic Research, commented on this story on Family News In Focus. You can listen to the program by clicking here (520 KB mp3 file), or read the transcript here.

More: Acton filed an amicus curiae brief with the Court of Appeals in support of Brother Rice, which you can read here (1 MB pdf). The court’s decision is available for review here.

Blog author: abradley
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
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On behalf of all thoughtful Christians, I would like to apologize for the suggestion of Pat Robertson to ‘take out’ Hugo Chavez. Robertson’s comments below do not represent any popular opinion or reasoned argument that would be supported by those evangelicals embracing prudence.

Robertson had this to say on Monday’s 700 Club, "If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. . .We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said. "We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

Blog author: mvandermaas
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
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Last Thursday, Acton research fellow Anthony Bradley appeared on the Kyal2K Show on KTalk in Salt Lake City to discuss his article Productivity and the Ice Man: Understanding Outsourcing. You can listen to the interview by clicking here (5.1 MB mp3 file).

Blog author: jballor
Monday, August 22, 2005
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In an interview on NBC’s Today Show with Matt Lauer, a Newsweek representative discussed the cover story for this week’s issue, “In Search of the Spiritual.” The feature is based on a Newsweek/Beliefnet poll focusing on spirituality and religious practice in America. The Newsweek guy (sorry, I didn’t catch his name) discussed the results of various questions, making passing reference to the importance for most spiritual people of viewing the “central myth” as real.

Since 85% of those polled self-identified as “Christian,” I think it’s fair to guess that the question results overall should reflect a measure of the broadly American “Christian” landscape. Among the promising results, the vast majority of those polled believe God created the universe and in an “afterlife.”

But the inane banter ensued in full force when Lauer and Newsweek guy discussed the results of a question about whether a “good person” of another faith could be saved. Nearly 80% responded affirmatively. Lauer asks if this means that “intolerance” is on a downward trend. While Newsweek guy doesn’t want to go that far, he does say that this is the “good news” of the poll, that “tolerance” is being affirmed. This is essentially the “I’m ok, you’re ok, whatever’s good for you,” po-mo (post-modern) worldview. In the word’s of the Newsweek subhead, “they don’t much care what the neighbors are doing.”

What about those who didn’t answer in the affirmative? “You might want to watch out for that 12%,” says Newsweek guy. After all, I guess they might try to [gasp!] “evangelize” you.

This Newsweek article strikes me as a particularly clear example that the “press…just doesn’t get religion.” Answer the questions here to see the results of the poll.