It’s one of the great economic questions of our time. Does dumping money into a giant hole create jobs and stimulate the economy, or is it simply a waste? Paul Krugman has suggested that even faking an alien invasion would be good for the economy, the idea being that any activity, with or without production of value, is beneficial. Likewise, other experts have noted the alleged beneficial effects of natural disasters, which boost activity in the hospital and construction sectors. Forbes published an article on the stimulative effects of Hurricane Sandy. Some say tornadoes may also boost growth. Libertarians have argued, however, that these are simply examples of economist Frederic Bastiat’s “Broken Windows Fallacy.” The staff at The Onion consider both sides of the debate.
This powerful Reason investigation of the death of a young college student — who had been blackmailed by police into being an undercover drug war informant — won the Southern California Journalism Award and led to a 60-minutes report.
“On June 27, 2014, the body of 20-year-old Andrew Sadek, a promising electrical student at the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) in Wahpeton, North Dakota, was pulled from the Red River bordering North Dakota and Minnesota. Missing for two months, the young man was found shot in the head, wearing a backpack filled with rocks. The grisly death of a college student in one of the safest towns in the state, where violent crime is extremely rare, did not lead to a sweeping investigation. In fact, police immediately said they did not suspect foul play. Such a supposition strains credulity as it is, but what would be slowly revealed over the following months is that Andrew had been working as a confidential informant for the police, and that his school knew that authorities were busting its students and using them as bait to catch drug dealers”
In this now classic clip from 2013, Mark Dice asks ordinary people to sign petition to repeal the First Amendment in order to silence the president’s critics—and they readily sign. [4 min/ Freedom of speech]
Links about the First Amendment
Films About Freedom of Speech
Wikipedia: First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Bill of Rights Institute: First Amendment
Amazon Book: Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, Expanded Edition
Amazon Book: Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment
In this clip from the hit British TV series Yes Minister, one official explains to another how to evade blame for failure through the use of five standard excuses. The running theme of the series is that government bureaucracy operates in its own interest.
Yes Minister was cited in the academic journal Economic Affairs as useful in teaching public choice economics, which emphasizes the self-interested character of government. “Conveying the logical consequences of modelling the individual as self-interested in the public sector bureaucracy is not an easy task…This paper argues that Yes Minister provides ideal material for the task.”
Per Reason, high school English teachers in the Burbank Unified School District were just told that they can no longer teach To Kill A Mockingbird; several other books were also banned. Why? It seems the books are offensive to some minority parents. Ironic, given that the book is all about it social tolerance. “It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” as we learn in the book, because mockingbirds do no harm to others. By the end of the story, the little girl narrating it has generalized that concept to human relations: doing harm to harmless others, no matter how different they might be, is likewise wrong, which is pretty much the nonaggression principle. As it happens, the book was made into an even better film.
h/t Instapundit, Battleswarm