October 6, 2013

Reason.tv – Why More People Identify as Libertarian

Filed under: Liberty, Politics, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 10:10

“We’ve noticed in the last fifteen months an uptick in the number of people who are actually self identifying as libertarian,” says Freedomworks’ David Kirby.

Kirby sat down with Reason magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Matt Welch to talk about why more people describe themselves as libertarian, how politicians like Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Justin Amash have come to think of themselves as libertarian and whether Glenn Beck calling himself libertarian is a good thing.

Nostalgic Doctor Who fans rejoice

Filed under: Africa, Britain, Media — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 10:01

According to a report in the Mirror, over 100 lost Doctor Who episodes have turned up in the most unlikely spot:

A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans tracked down at least 100 long-lost episodes of the show gathering dust more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.

It was feared the BBC ­programmes from the 1960s — featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton — had vanished for all time after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage.

But after months of ­detective work the tapes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.

A television insider said: “It is a triumph and fans ­everywhere will be thrilled.

“This is a really big deal for the BBC and is set to make them millions from the sale of the DVDs.”

H/T to Tabatha Southey for the link.

Any GMO-labelling compromise is a win for big business and a loss for everyone else

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Business, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 00:06

Baylen Linnekin explains why compromise in the battle over genetically modified food ingredients is likely to be heartily supported by big business — because they can easily cover costs that their smaller competitors will not be able to afford:

Like it or not — and I’m in the not camp — a mandatory, uniform national GMO labeling scheme appears increasingly likely.


Major players on the business side, including Walmart, America’s leading grocer, and General Mills, which bills itself as “one of the world’s largest food companies,” have publicly tipped their hands that they’d support some sort of mandatory labeling.

As I noted this summer, Walmart held a meeting with FDA officials and others from the food industry earlier this year where, it was alleged, the grocer and other food sellers that have opposed state labeling requirements would push for the federal government to adopt a national GMO labeling standard.

And just last week, Ken Powell, the CEO of General Mills, announced at the company’s annual stockholders’ meeting that the company “strongly support[s] a national, federal labeling solution.”

Powell’s comments are a game changer.

But do they mean that anti-GMO activists and food companies are on the same page? Not by a longshot. Powell made clear in his remarks that the company supports “a national standard that would label foods that don’t have genetically engineered ingredients in them, rather than foods that do.” (emphasis mine)

I suspect that anti-GMO activists would hate that solution because it wouldn’t provide the “information” they want and because all of the significant testing and labeling costs of the mandatory scheme Powell suggests — along with any liability for not testing GMO-free foods or for mislabeling — would be borne by the GMO-free farmers and food producers they frequent (and by their customers, in the form of higher prices).

QotD: The corrupting influence of the political system

Filed under: Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 00:01

The underlying problem is that people do not yet widely understand that the higher the political office, the more likely it is that the electoral contest is between two sociopathic con men.

Indeed, the US Presidential election is a sort of quadrennial Olympics for con men. The odds of of a randomly selected untrained amateur winning the Olympic 500m race are poor when hundreds or thousands of professionals train for years for the event. The probability of a decent human being winning the White House when competing against hordes of amoral grifters whose skills are honed to a razor’s edge by years of competition are even lower.

Worse, people do not understand that even if a decent human being by some astounding accident wins high political office, they are almost inevitably both thwarted and corrupted. The system is built to derail reform, not to enable it, and it holds temptations that few normal people can resist. One is faced with (to name but a few things) the powerful financial interests of the Military-Industrial Complex, blackmail by the intelligence community, lobbyists more numerous than locusts, fellow politicians who do not want their sustenance to end, a press almost as interested in preserving the status quo as the pigs at the trough, Sir Humphrey Appleby‘s spiritual kin, constant luxuries from banquets to private jets to soften one’s moral resistance, and an endless series of instances where one might bend the rules just this once, for the common good.

Perry Metzger, “On Politics”, Samizdata, 2013-08-19

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