The Flag

Independence day is a great time to (re)start a blog on independent thinking, and what better subject than the flag. If you see an American flag outside a house, odds are the owners are Republican. In Britain, the ultra-right National Front incorporates the flag into its logo. In France, the far-right Front National uses the […]

Selective reporting

Intersting Salon article on the absence of media reports of public opinion polls on Terry Schiavo: When public opinion doesn’t matter “in the past week, an overwhelming majority — 87 percent — of Americans polled by ABC News and the Washington Post said that if they were in the same state as Terri Schiavo, they […]

When Socialism works

In Slate, The Triumph of Socialized Medicine comments on a Washington Monthly report that VA hospitals provided better quality of care than fee-for-service Medicare. Such news must be anathema to free-market ideologues, but the reasons given make sense; for instance, that long-term strategies pay off for the VA but not for private organisations whose patients […]

How true is the news?

Media everywhere ran the story about Harvard rejecting 119 aplicants because they tried to learn their admissions status early by “hacking into a Web site“, but the initial stories gave no details of the “hack”. Now we learn that it consisted of modifying a URL. Sheesh! It’s not exactly rocket science. Now here’s my point: […]

Drug costs and medical research

The pharmaceutical industry claims that the high cost of drugs in America is necessary to support the costs of research, but a more likely cause of those costs is in the NYTimes article which says “[t]he drug industry has long spent billions of dollars annually – far more than it spends on research – trying […]

The Gannon affair

MediaBistro is not finding it as easy to get a press pass as James Guckert, the amateur correspondent who covered White House press conferences for several years.

Liberal bias in the press again?

Slate says “Over the course of four hours of continuous inauguration coverage from 8 a.m. to noon (collectively, that’s 24 hours among the six outlets), the topic of the president’s (historically poor) approval ratings came up exactly four times, according to, the continuous television monitoring service” whereas “the phrase “history” came up 229 times […]

Who makes investment choices?

Intersting column by Michael Kinsley claiming to prove that privatising Social Security won’t work. He makes a similar point to one that I have claimed several times, only to get blank stares: that whether a dollar of earnings is spent directly in the economy (beer, refridgerators, chip factories, …) or flows to the government and […]

Reasons to break the law

Mr. Gonzales said to the Senate (NYT transcript, Friday Jan 7) “I think the decision not to apply Geneva in our conflict with al Qaeda was absolutely the right decision for a variety of reasons…. It would actually make it more difficult, in my judgment, for our troops to win in our conflict against al […]

Crime and Punishment

The NYTimes magazine has an interesting article Sentencing by the Numbers on how Virginia is adjusting jail sentences according to the probability of recidivism by classifying the offender according to a 71-point scale of risk assessment: “Of the felons who scored at or below the 35-point cutoff, 12 percent committed new crimes, compared with more […]