Thursday, February 10, 2005

I'm going to the opera!

New tactics from PETA:
They've spent years burning fur coats and tossing paint at people wearing them. But today, the Norfolk-based animal-rights group PETA tried something completely different -— handing out dozens of furs to homeless people at a Washington, D.C., shelter.
This makes a lot of sense to me. Fur is great for warmth, that's why animals wear it. And who needs a warm coat more than the homeless? If fur coats were to become part of the standard homeless uniform, that would probably be more effective than any advertising campaign PETA could dream up. Here's a quote from another story:
"I'm going to the opera!" joked Marie Ravix, snatching up a dramatic, long brown fur coat with delight as animal rights group PETA handed the symbols of sartorial luxury to the homeless poor.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Price Indexing

Tyler Cowen has a good post on proposals to freeze social security benefits (in real terms).

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Notes from someone who didn't watch the speech

I only caught the very end of the state of the union address, and I only read part of the transcript. Nevertheless I have a couple of comments.

  • Bush's stated intentions with regard to Social Security sounded a lot more reasonable than I expected. His descriptions of the problems in the system were pretty fair. He put the issue of limiting the growth in benefits in the forefront, and only later talked about private accounts. And he labeled those accounts as a way of making the system a better deal for younger workers in tandem with the necessary benefit reductions. I still think it's a bit misleading to use words like "bankrupt" to describe the Social Security problem, but overall I thought this was responsible rhetoric and better than some of what I've heard before from the administration on the topic. Now if he could just get this worked up about the current deficit...

  • The Democratic response from Sen. Harry Reid was such a pile of claptrap that it was difficult to watch. Here's an excerpt:
    Ding, dong. The sound of the Liberty Bell. Ding. Freedom. Dong. Opportunity. Ding. Excellent schools. Dong. Quality hospitals.
    Oh, wait, sorry...that's actually an entry in an essay contest for children under twelve from an episode of The Simpsons. But it's remarkably close both spirit and content to the remarks offered by Reid.
  • Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    Civics teachers needed

    I was surprised to read this morning about a study showing that American high school students are ignorant and ambivalent about the rights guaranteed in the first amendment.
    [W]hen told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes "too far" in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.
    That last sentence is especially surprising. I'm concerned, but skeptical. If the study is accurate, it's interesting that this all takes place against a backdrop of a society that has adopted an increasingly expansive view of "rights" over the past decades. Perhaps this can lead to the erosion of support for more basic constitutional rights.