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March 04, 2011


The poor leader of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya ( ‏الجماهيرية العربية الليبية الشعبية الاشتراكية العظمى‎). It's no wonder he's unstable. Not only did he fail to win promotion above the rank of colonel, but he also suffers from the disorienting experience of having his name spelled every which way. Putting aside the whole "al-" or "el-" controversy, consider the spellings of his first and last name:

  • New York Times, Fox News, CBS News, Encyclopedia Britannica, The Economist, the White House, the Arab League, Brendan Nyhan: Muammar Qaddafi
  • Wall Street Journal, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, AP: Moammar Gadhafi
  • Washington Post: Moammar Gaddafi
  • Los Angeles Times: Moammar Kadafi
  • Wikipedia, Time Magazine, BBC: Muammar Gaddafi
  • United Nations, State Department, Congressional Research Service, CIA World Factbook: Muammar Qadhafi

Note that even the White House and the State Department can't agree on how to spell the man's name. Or are they simply engaged in PsyOps?

Meanwhile, after recent events in Egypt I couldn't help thinking wistfully about King Farouk, who was deposed at the instigation of the CIA pursuant to its delightfully named Project FF.

If we take those Medicaid studies at face value, we should be very upset. One expert says Medicaid patients do worse than if they were uninsured. The other expert says that there is no credible evidence that Medicaid is worse for health than being uninsured. So, it seems that, at best, Medicaid is useless.

Obamacare will add millions of people to Medicaid. Given the inevitable government cash squeeze, chances are Medicaid will perform worse in the future than it does now. State budgets are already being devastated by the cost of Medicaid. Their cost will rise substantally when Obamacare's millions are added to the program. So, it appears that we are bankrupting our state governments for a program that doesn't do any good.

Matt Yglesias assures us that "Nothing about political upheaval in Libya implies that America’s on the verge of a wage-price spiral with unemployment over 9 percent." But, how credible is Yglesias's opinion is on economic matters? He graduated from Harvard, so he must be smart, but his degree was in philosphy.

Yglesias thinks high unemployment will prevent high inflation. He's too young to remember the Jimmy Carter stagflation. Unfortunately, I think a repeat is quite possible.

T-Paw will get my vote if his future ads are less like Armageddon trailer and more like the Green Lantern trailer.

Kudos to Media Matters for their critique of Fox News' presentation of a quack autism cure.

Au contraire, David, boos to Media Matters for its headline: "Fox & Friends Unethically Pushes Dubious 'Autism Cure'". Giving airtime to this promoter may have shown poor judgment, and it may not have been good journalism, but there's nothing in the Media Matters article to suggest that anything Fox & Friends did was unethical. If Fox was profiting from the sale of the snake oil, that would have been unethical. If it was paid to let the quack appear and didn't disclose it, that would have been unethical. But simply doing a story about something isn't unethical--and it's unlikely Media Matters would have thought so unless the object of its scorn was Fox. (Note that failure to disclose his financial interest may have been unethical on the part of the quack, but that's different from Fox acting unethically.)

Similarly, we are obliged to conclude that Media Matters' headline may have been meretricious and biased, but it wasn't unethical.

For some reason, autism leads many parents to believe in invalid theories. Millions of infants aren't being vaccinated today because of a sham study supposedly relating vaccines to autism. Until fairly recently, many parents of autistic children and even many therapists were taken in by Facilitated Communication. So, I fear that a sham autism cure will find a willing audience. I regret that FNC gave air time to this quack.

However, Rob has a point. "Unethical" is probably the wrong word. Just as FNC disseminated Dr. Bock's quack medicine, Brendan disseminated Matt Yglesias's quack economics in his tweet above. The word "unethical" wouldn't be used to to describe Brendan's tweet, so I suppose that word is equally inapproprate for the FNC broadcast.

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