Monthly Archives: July 2007

Reagan and the Cold War

One of the many annoying things I often hear is “Reagan won the Cold War”. It’s the wrong question. While the Cold Warn certainly wasn’t won by Jimmy Carter, it wasn’t Reagan either. Here is the analogy I use.

Imagine two men in a bar. They’ve just finished fighting other people together. After that fight is done, they start to squabble amongst themselves. Both men pull guns and a tense standoff ensues.

Neither side has a clear edge as both guns are comparable and effective. The standoff continues for quite some time. Both parties upgrade their weaponry periodically. One of the people spends all of his non-weapon money on health food, while the other spends all of his non-weapon money on crystal meth and salty snacks. After a while the first health food person buys a pricey new SA80 rifle. The meth/salt guy complains about a new arms race, then has a heart attack and dies.

That’s the end of the Cold War. The canard “We outspent them” ignores the fact that Communism is not capable of utilizing resources efficiently, and if the Soviets hadn’t been using their resources on weapons they would be wasting the resources some other way. While Reagan did see the evil nature of communism accurately, he wasn’t responsible for the heart attack. Happily, communism is self-limiting that way.

Saturday link roundup

  • A nice how-to on HDR photography
  • Survivorman is blogging again!
  • The greatest living American you’ve never heard of.
  • The world’s stupidest Fatwas, my favorite –

    Many Muslims believe that unmarried men and women should not work alone together—a stricture that can pose problems in today’s global economy. So one Islamic scholar came up with a novel solution: If a woman were to breast-feed her male colleague five times, the two could safely be alone together.

    The injuction against the Polio vaccine is scary though.

  • It seems that tires will outlive us all
  • More on the Kathryn Johnson case
  • A Slate article on the ethanol haters, of which I am one. He leaves out the fact that creating ethanol takes more energy than it produces.

Friday in appreciation, volume II

The In Appreciation for this week goes not to a person, but to the economic force known as Capital Flight. Wikipedia defines it accurately as

when assets and/or money rapidly flow out of a country, due to an economic event that disturbs investors and causes them to lower their valuation of the assets in that country, or otherwise to lose confidence in its economic strength. This leads to a disappearance of wealth and is usually accompanied by a sharp drop in the exchange rate of the affected country (devaluation).

Modern technology makes it easy to move money from one country to another; giving an immediate cost to bone headed economic decisions and plundering. For examples, think of governments defaulting on debts and anything that has happened in Zimbabwe over the past few years.

So Capital Flight, for enforcing some degree of fiscal and monetary responsibility on the governments for the world, you get my second Friday In Appreciation.

The in-laws crack the mainstream media!

Actually it’s my brother’s in-laws, but anyway, they were recently recognized by the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Cobb couple showing soldiers they care

Mary and Ed Ettel spend most weekends in their basement creating care packages for troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Kosovo/Serbia. In 16 months, they have mailed 376 boxes weighing 5,723 pounds and helping 6,365 service members.

The east Cobb couple and about a dozen volunteers packed 16 boxes Saturday with snacks and hygiene items. During summer mailings, they add baby wipes, salty snacks and water bottles. They also put in Beanie Babies, candy and sometimes soccer balls for soldiers to give to the children they meet.

The Ettels get requests for items through a program called AnySoldier.com. Soldiers post items they need on the Web site and volunteers kick into action.

How cool!