Patterico's Pontifications


John Edwards’ Platform

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:21 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

John Edwards has an ambitious domestic platform. Here are three especially interesting provisions:

* He will lead a national effort to “end poverty within 30 years, lifting 37 million Americans out of poverty by 2036.”

* He will “create a million [housing] vouchers over five years to help low-income families move to better neighborhoods.”

* He will “subsidize bank accounts for working families.”


Soros Funded Half of the Lancet Study

Filed under: Politics,War — DRJ @ 5:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to the UK Sunday Times Online, George Soros funded half of the questionable Lancet study of Iraqi war deaths:

“A study that claimed 650,000 people were killed as a result of the invasion of Iraq was partly funded by the antiwar billionaire George Soros. Soros, 77, provided almost half the £50,000 cost of the research, which appeared in The Lancet, the medical journal. Its claim was 10 times higher than consensus estimates of the number of war dead.

The study, published in 2006, was hailed by antiwar campaigners as evidence of the scale of the disaster caused by the invasion, but Downing Street and President George Bush challenged its methodology. New research published by The New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 151,000 people – less than a quarter of The Lancet estimate – have died since the invasion in 2003.

“The authors should have disclosed the [Soros] donation and for many people that would have been a disqualifying factor in terms of publishing the research,” said Michael Spagat, economics professor at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The Lancet study was commissioned by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and led by Les Roberts, an associate professor and epidemiologist at Columbia University. He reportedly opposed the war from the outset. His team surveyed 1,849 homes at 47 sites across Iraq, asking people about births, deaths and migration in their households.

Professor John Tirman of MIT said this weekend that $46,000 (£23,000) of the approximate £50,000 cost of the study had come from Soros’s Open Society Institute.

Roberts said this weekend: “In retrospect, it was probably unwise to have taken money that could have looked like it would result in a political slant. I am adamant this could not have affected the outcome of the research.”

The Lancet did not break any rules by failing to disclose Soros’s sponsorship.”

This doesn’t reflect well on the Lancet, where they apparently need new rules about disclosing sponsorship. This doesn’t reflect well on MIT, either.


How Could Thermostat Madness Have Happened? Don’t Forget to Blame the Feds

Filed under: General,Immigration — Patterico @ 2:32 pm

Who is ultimately to blame for the fact that California tried to take control of homeowners’ thermostats?

Nanny-state Democrats? Power-hungry bureaucrats?

Well, sure. I’m happy to reserve plenty of blame for them.

But don’t forget to blame the federal government.

Why? Because the federal government has not done enough about illegal immigration.

Why do we have power shortages? Because demand exceeds supply. Now, there are all sorts of arguments about the reasons. Joe Somsel argues that we need more plants — particularly nuclear power plants. My argument is that we also need to fully deregulate pricing so that supply matches demand.

But there’s an elephant in the room: there are just too damn many people in the state.

Our infrastructure can’t take it. Supply/demand imbalances in energy are just one manifestation of a more general problem: overpopulation.

Every major problem we have in California is exacerbated by illegal immigration. When we hear about how the jails are overcrowded, don’t forget about the illegals. When we hear about how we must release state prisoners because the prisons are overcrowded, don’t forget about the illegals. When you read that emergency rooms are overcrowded and people with serious conditions wait hours for treatment, don’t forget about the illegals. When you sit in traffic on an overcrowded freeway, don’t forget about the illegals.

I don’t mean to make illegals the bogeyman for every problem we face — but I don’t want citizens to forget that they contribute significantly to every problem that is worsened by overcrowding.

But hey — at least your lettuce is cheap.

I Hate Microsoft Word

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:07 am

Howard Bashman wryly notes:

Word processing programs that think they know best: Has section 3553 of Title 18, United States Code, been copyrighted, or is the Second Circuit in this opinion issued today attempting to cite to subsection “c” of that provision, and some word processing program has turned the cite into a copyright symbol, “©”?

Update: Of course, the Second Circuit has corrected this issue in the copy of the opinion now available from that court’s web site. The opinion as originally posted can instead be accessed here.

(Go to Howard’s post for the relevant links.)

I had this problem recently while writing a sentencing memo, and attempting to cite to subdivision (c) of a statute providing an extra penalty for discharge of a firearm. I confess that I ended up just citing to it without the parentheses, because I needed to get the document out the door and I had a million other things on my desk. At my civil law firm, this never would have been acceptable — but here, I knew it wouldn’t change the sentence imposed.

So: do any of you know how to get around this problem in the infuriating Microsoft Word program that so many of us are stuck with nowadays?

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