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Newsweek (Newsweak?) – The just try anything mentality is bad policy…

June 10, 2010

unless we think it’s good policy.

Scientists are such spoilsports, always insisting on gathering data on the likely effects of a strategy before implementing it. Politicians are more inclined to just go for it, especially when they’re desperate. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is desperate: millions of gallons of BP’s crude are launching an amphibious assault on his beaches and wetlands. So let’s do the math: desperation + a pol’s “do something” mentality = a loony decision to build 14-foot sand berms to protect the state’s coastline—a decision that bodes ill for the many others the state will face as BP’s oil gushes at least until August.


When a politician is faced with an economic or social mess, the “just try something” mentality can be justified. Policies on these fronts cannot be accurately predicted for the simple reason that human behavior is involved. No amount of science can reliably forecast the effects of, say, financial or health-care reform, so a reasonable case can be made for “do something.” Not so when we’re talking about the laws of physics and chemistry rather than human behavior. In these cases, ignoring the science makes politicians seem like petulant children.

In other words, it’s only science if we say it is. Reading the article it’s obvious that Begley has an agenda, anti-Jindal, so hopefully too many people wont be taken in by this swill.


The Road to Serfdom in comic form. This pops up every 6 months or so but it’s still worthwhile.

This seems almost too good to be true – Documents reveal organized vote fraud at ACORN.

The documents include handwritten notes from FBI investigators interviewing canvassers working with Project Vote, an ACORN affiliate. Among the highlights from the FBI handwritten notes:

* [ACORN] “Told employees not to talk to the FBI. ‘FBI trying to intimidate you.’”
* Fraudulent cards:
o To cause confusion on election day to keep polls open longer
o To allow people who can’t vote to vote.
o To allow to vote multiple times.
* Project Vote will pay them whether cards fake or not – whatever they had to do to get the cards was attitude.
* Constantly threatened
* Staff restricted on what to say to FBI
* “Poverty pimpin” (sic) ACORN
* ACORN HQ is wkg for the Democratic Party.
* PV [Project Vote] pays ACORN $6.00 per card…Said “You treat the cards like (cash) $”
* Some [names] went right from the phone book and made up the rest.
* Canvassers: homeless, volatile, drug users, drunks…
* Anyone who was against PV (Project Vote) or ACORN’s goals “right wing”
* She thought if she used a completely fake name it would be less like ID Theft…”Yeah, it’s against the law, I know.”



Let’s go back to Sharon Begley’s awful article for a minute. The thing that kills me about it is the rank hypocrisy. When serious doubts were being raised about the Economic Stimulus plan, including the folly of falling into the do something/do anything trap, we were told that sometimes things are so important that you have to just plunge forward and hope, and besides top economists (TOP economists) had looked at this plan and pronounced it sound. They knew it would work and they even predicted precisely what unemployment rates would be with and without the plan. Now we have an actual physical emergency, in which all efforts to contain it have failed to do so, and we are being told, “no big decisions like this require calm deliberative action”. Pure, rank hypocrisy. And what’s worse is they act like Jindal just reached into his butt and pulled this plan out. He didn’t he consulted with experts in shoreline preservation and this is what they came up with.


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