Catching up on events

I’ve been busy over the last week or so, which meant that I didn’t have enough time to give blogging enough mental energy. That’s over, so it’s time to catch up on a few interesting stories before moving to new stuff. Without further delay:

Kudos to Sen. John Sununu for challenging the unhealthy, anti-consumer partnership between content owners and the FCC known as the Broadcast Flag. (Source)

Senator John Sununu (R-NH) has just announced that his office is working on legislation that would prevent the FCC from creating specific technology mandates that have to be followed by consumer electronics manufacturers. What’s his target? The broadcast flag.

Television and movie studios have wanted a broadcast flag for years. The flag is a short analog or digital signal embedded into broadcasts that specifies what users can do with the content. It would most often be used to prevent any copying of broadcast material, but there’s an obvious problem with the plan: it requires recording devices to pay attention to the flag. Because no consumers wander the aisles at Best Buy thinking, “You know, I would definitely buy this DVD recorder, but only if it supported broadcast flag technology,” the industry has asked the federal government to step in and simply require manufacturers to respect the flag.

Exactly the right analysis. The FCC should not be restricting innovation before any potentially illegal action can even occur. The onus should be on the businesses to engineer solutions that meet their needs, not regulation. That’s dinosaur thinking and should not be reward.

Next, just ponder this photograph’s implications. It’s posted in London, so there’s no concern for the United States, except there is concern. We move closer to this mentality with every newly brushed aside civil liberty. (Source)

Next, sometimes a cheap shot is easier than analysis. From Glenn Reynolds:

A CITIZEN’S ARREST BY PAUL HACKETT: A pro-gun anti-crime Democrat — I’m surprised the party didn’t get behind him.

Just like claiming that there’s a war on crime, this requires little thinking and says more about the writer than the facts. Who honestly believes that Democrats are not “anti-crime”? Not tough enough crime, we could argue. But it’s posts like these that prove Glenn Reynolds is little more than a Republican with some libertarian leanings. That’s not surprising, but this is an unflattering proof.

Next, North Korea has a hunger problem. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of economics understands that this has as much to do with the country’s political structure as anything. Socialism doesn’t work, and can never provide for everyone’s needs. When the failure extends to famine, this moves from oppression to murder. But the North Koreans have a solution, courtesy of a German breeder (Source):

An east German pensioner who breeds rabbits the size of dogs has been asked by North Korea to help set up a big bunny farm to alleviate food shortages in the communist country. Now journalists and rabbit gourmets from around the world are thumping at his door.

It all started when Karl Szmolinsky won a prize for breeding Germany’s largest rabbit, a friendly-looking 10.5 kilogram “German Gray Giant” called Robert, in February 2006.

Images of the chubby monster went around the world and reached the reclusive communist state of North Korea, a country of 23 million which according to the United Nations Food Programme suffers widespread food shortages and where many people “struggle to feed themselves on a diet critically deficient in protein, fats and micronutrients.”

Any reasonable analysis would point out an obvious point of why this will fail to alleviate suffering.

“I’m not increasing production and I’m not taking any more orders after this. They cost a lot to feed,” he said.

The rabbits apparently feed eight. How much food will be used to feed the rabbits until they’re ready to become that one-time meal that feeds eight? How much land that could be better used to grow crops for North Koreans will be used to grow feed for these rabbits, as well as house them while they grow? This is a central-planning solution at its ugliest.

Next, religion will continue getting a free pass for unnecessary medical procedures under a socialist health system.

The NHS should provide more faith-based care for Muslims, an expert says.

Muslims are about twice as likely to report poor health and disability than the general population, says Edinburgh University’s Professor Aziz Sheikh.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, he called for male circumcision on the NHS and more details over alcohol derived drugs.

Leaving aside the obvious questions of whether or not routine/ritual circumcision of children should be allowed, it’s an unnecessary medical procedure that drains resources. As an ethically-questionable procedure, it’s also unacceptable to force taxpayers to fund such surgeries. This is why current U.S. funding under our relatively free market system is objectionable. This call from Britain just seeks to double the mistake. It’s absurd.

Because the system isn’t bureaucratic and dysfunctional enough already, Democrats want to allow unionization by TSA employees. That won’t end well.