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Playing Tourist in Beijing: Communing with the Greatest Mass Murderer in History

Doug Bandow It isn’t often that I get to spend time with mass murderers, let alone the greatest mass murderer in history. But in playing tourist in Beijing I had a chance to hang out with the Great Helmsman himself, Mao Zedong. His mausoleum sits at the center of Tiananmen Square, facing the Gate of Heavenly Peace with its famous Mao portrait. Show More Summary

Raising Big Money to Fight Big Money?

David Boaz In the latest of many enthusiastic National Public Radio reports on Professor Lawrence Lessig and his efforts to remove money from politics, Lessig outlines big plans: In 2016, we want to raise a substantially larger amount...Show More Summary

Ukraine fact of the day

The Ukrainian economy shrank 4.7 per cent annually in the second quarter, far deeper than expected and casting a cloud over the assumptions that underpin the International Monetary Fund’s $17bn bailout. That follows a 1.1 per cent year-on-year contraction in the first quarter. Given the ongoing unrest in eastern Ukraine, where much of the industrial […]

Second Verse, Same as the First

Jim Harper Twitter fight! Yesterday morning, a line in a New York Times article by Nick Confessore offered me the opportunity for mirthful needling that turned into a full-blown, impossibly brief exchange of views on Twitter. The article...Show More Summary

Are Public Schools Safer Than Private Schools?

Jason Bedrick There is no clearer sign that foes of educational choice have lost the battle of ideas than the Daytona Beach News-Journal’s desperate attempt to smear Florida’s choice law. Annie Martin’s front-page story in the Sunday...Show More Summary

Tonight, "Penn & Teller: Fool Us"

David Boaz Cato Mencken Fellows Penn Jillette and Teller launch a new hour-long show, “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” tonight at 8 p.m. on the CW television network. Here’s an enthusiastic review from Slashfilm: Magician duo Penn & TellerShow More Summary

Eduardo Porter on me on inequality

He has a very good column on this topic today, here is one excerpt: “The returns to growth are going to people in other countries, most notably China, and generally to people with high I.Q., no matter where they live,” said Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University and a contributor to […]

What is the strategy of Hamas?

David Brooks writes: But when the Muslim Brotherhood government fell, the military leaders cracked down. They sentenced hundreds of the Brotherhood’s leadership class to death. They also closed roughly 95 percent of the tunnels that connected Egypt to Gaza, where the Brotherhood’s offshoot, Hamas, had gained power. Show More Summary

Al Qaeda kidnapping markets in everything

While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have earned at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just in the past year. In various news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department […]

Blog holiday for August

The blog will be off for the majority of August. I will probably still tweet a little, since I’m browsing what’s out there for pleasure and the extra effort of hitting the RT button is not so great. I’ll have … Continue reading ? The post Blog holiday for August appeared first on Chris Blattman.

DACA Did Not Cause the Surge in Unaccompanied Children

Alex Nowrasteh In June, 2012 the Obama Administration announced that it had authored a memo deferring the deportation of unauthorized immigrant childhood arrivals in the United States, a program known as deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA). Show More Summary

Budget Smackdown: Krugman vs. Portman and Epstein

Chris Edwards In a recent column, Paul Krugman dismissed concerns about the federal debt as a “false alarm,” a “disaster that wasn’t,” and an “imaginary budget and debt crisis.” Krugman thinks that new CBO projections don’t look too bad. Show More Summary

Assorted links

1. Anti-surveillance make-up. 2. Textiles and the emergence of gender equality in China. 3. Excerpt from the new Murakami book.  Knausgaard Bingo.  A gentle introduction to “the Dark Enlightenment.” 4. Principals see poverty. 5. Turning billboards into tiny houses for the homeless. 6. The Achilles Heel of Dodd-Frank.  And the new trend of tattoo removal.

Core Supporters: We’ve Just Been Too Darned Principled!

Neal McCluskey According to Politico, supporters of the Common Core have come to a realization: they are losing the public relations war. And what do they think the problem has been? They’ve just been too darned factual: “The Common Core message so far has been a head message. Show More Summary

When OKCupid abolished photos for one day

These were the results: 1. People responded to first messages 44% more often. 2. “conversations went deeper” 3. Contact details were exchanged more quickly. Furthermore: When the photos were restored at 4PM, 2,200 people were in the middle of conversations that had started “blind”. Those conversations melted away. That said, the people who actually used […]

Iraq: No Military Redo a Decade Later

Doug Bandow Little more than a decade ago the U.S. invaded Iraq. The promised cakewalk turned out far different than expected. Today the government—and entire state—created by Washington are in crisis. Yet the same voices again are being raised calling for military intervention. Show More Summary

Biden: "I Should Have Had One Republican Kid To Go Out And Make Money"

Walter Olson The Washington Free Beacon reports that Vice President Joseph Biden made his audience “burst into laughter” at the Urban League gathering in Cincinnati when he cracked “I should have had one Republican kid to go out andShow More Summary

Catalonia travel bleg

We’ll be in Catalonia for the next three weeks, mostly in a small village just west of Figueres, and a little in Barcelona. Recommendations for food or sightseeing around Figueres or Barcelona are welcome. Caveat: True New Yorkers that they are, the … Continue reading ? The post Catalonia travel bleg appeared first on Chris Blattman.

Stratfor on Israel and Gaza

Israel’s major problem is that circumstances always change. Predicting the military capabilities of the Arab and Islamic worlds in 50 years is difficult. Most likely, they will not be weaker than they are today, and a strong argument can be made that at least several of their constituents will be stronger. If in 50 years some […]

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