Archive for May, 2010

A lession from the fashion industry: Less IP means more money and greater creativity

Posted on May 29, 2010 at 11.32 am

The Obligatory Rand Paul Post

Posted on May 26, 2010 at 1.20 am

Q. So, if Rand Paul said, “I do see Iran as a threat to the stability of the Middle East… Recently, President Obama took nuclear weapons off the table in certain circumstances, and I think that’s a mistake.  I think it’s reckless to take them out of the equation” …

…and Ron Paul said, “Clearly, language threatening to wipe a nation or a group of people off the map is to be condemned by all civilized people. And I do condemn any such language. But why does threatening Iran with a pre-emptive nuclear strike, as many here have done, not also deserve the same kind of condemnation? Does anyone believe that dropping nuclear weapons on Iran will not wipe a people off the map? When it is said that nothing, including a nuclear strike, is off the table on Iran, are those who say it not also threatening genocide?”

Is Rand Paul threatening Iran with genocide? — Steven, from Warrenton, VA.

A. As much as I’d like to give a neat, yes or no answer, I’m not sure that at this point in time, I can.  Let me explain why and then return to the emphasis on timing.

On the face of it, yes, Rand Paul’s statement is a threat of genocide to Iran — a threat which in the present state of US-Iran relations is totally unjustified and wrong.  Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons at this time, the Iranian people are uninterested in developing nuclear weapons, and the Iranian government seems to want to accept a deal which will get Iran nuclear power but not weapons  (It’s also worth noting that, given the United States’ over-the-top military spending, we could ably defend ourselves even if — and this is a big if — Iran 1. did get nukes; 2. did try to use them; and 3. tried to use them against us.  The latter two in particular are highly unlikely).  Without question, such a threat should be condemned.

However, I don’t wish to be too quick to dismiss Rand for two main reasons:

1.  “[A]fter months of a grueling primary, it is not yet clear where the younger Paul’s savvy campaigning ends and his true ideological impulses begin, particularly on national security and foreign policy.”  I’ve heard similar reports from people who have spent time with the Paul campaign in Kentucky — people whose noninterventionist credentials I trust.

Is it wrong to lie about one’s support for war to get into a position where one might be able to stop war?  I’m not sure, and don’t wish to drift into utilitarianism.To break out Godwin’s Law, if the question were “Is it wrong to lie about being a Nazi to get into a position to kill Hitler?” the answer surely seems to be “no.”  But it’s a moral gray area at best, especially if one considers that getting into the same room as Hitler gives one a much better chance of killing him than getting into the Senate gives one a chance of stopping war.

2.  It’s also possible to argue that Rand’s threats to Iran are canceled out by other statements he has repeatedly made.


Happy Graduation! Now..uh…good luck?

Posted on May 24, 2010 at 1.10 pm

Mish Shedlock reports that job prospects for last year’s grads are about to get worse as 2010 graduates join the growing pool of unemployed young people:

The 2009 college graduates still without a job are in deep trouble as a wave of 2010 grads is on the way….“More so in the last year to 18 months than at any time, we have seen applicants from prior graduating classes looking for the kind of entry-level jobs we’re recruiting for,” said Dan Black, director of campus recruiting for Ernst & Young LLP, a professional-services firm headquartered in New York. “There are a lot more cohorts competing with each other: ‘09 with ‘10, probably ‘10 with ‘11.”

Unemployment among people under 25 years old was 19.6 percent in April, the highest level since the Labor Department began tracking the data in 1948.

I’ve been fortunate enough to remain employed since I graduated last May, but a number of people I know from college are still working part time jobs and/or living at home.  19.6% is a scary figure, especially as the unemployment rate seems to show little sign of improvement.  Not surprisingly, the administration’s proposals to fix the situation don’t sound promising:  The president “wants to fight this with more college grants as if sending more people to college is a cure for a glut of grads without job prospects.”  Yeah, that totally makes sense…