Roy Orbison & Johnny Cash- ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ Live on The Johnny Cash Show 1969


Men On A Mission Film Theater: Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

Technicolor Dreams


Bringing our Men On A Mission films full circle, KELLY’S HEROES is a comedic counterpoint to WHERE EAGLES DARE, as both feature Clint Eastwood and were directed by Brian G. Hutton. Two more stars of THE DIRTY DOZEN also appear here, Telly Savalas as a barking Sergeant instead of a mad rapist, and Donald Sutherland as the infamous first hippie of World War Deuce. To round out the jaunty action-adventure, throw in Don Rickles, Carrol O’Connor, with able guest support from Stuart Margolin, Gavin MacLeod, Harry Dean Stanton (even John Landis is in there as a nun and doing stunts — this Euro-trip led to him writing AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON). All this in 70mm Panavision Stereophonic Sound. The simple story deals with military rebel Private Kelly (Eastwood) discovering a 16 million dollar cache of German gold heavily guarded in an occupied French town. He convinces a platoon of…

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Hacking and the Politics of Moral Outrage


The_ScreamWith the chorus of calls for an “independent counsel” or “special prosecutor” to investigate the Russian hacking scandal, there has been one element that remains rather ambiguous: what is the specific crime to be investigated?  Clearly there is the hacking but that crime is well-known and was committed by Russians who are unlikely to be subject to any real investigation.  A special counsel, as opposed to a bipartisan commission, would require the articulation of a crime and the basis for the investigation.  I am all in favor of independent investigations of this and other issues. However, if we are going to move beyond a special commission to special counsel we need to have more evidence and a notion of what we are investigating. That may come but we are not there yet.  Below is my column in The Hill Newspaper on the subject — and the moral outrage over hacking.

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Living wages

The Sand Pit

Jim Rose from the Taxpayers’ Union has a rather nice report up on problems with living wage policies. Here’s their summary:

The report’s key findings are:

  • Seventeen Wellington City Council employees lost their jobs after being under the skill level required for the living wage.
  • Councils hire on merit, so candidates under the skill level commensurate with the living wage will be crowded out by higher-skilled candidates.
  • There is no consensus or scientific basis for the calculation of a living wage. Any calculations are politically subjective.
  • Any living wage in New Zealand will be abated by up to 40% by decreases in government transfers and increased income tax obligations.
  • Living wages shift the burden from means-tested taxpayers to ratepayers and business owners.
  • Below-living-wage employment allows for in-work training, where employees tradeoff lower wages for the opportunity to learn skills that increase their future earning potential.

Living wage policies do less to improve…

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The Perils of Science Speak


What would you say if you were worried about chemical X in your environment, and to reassure you, someone told you:

Scientists finished their devious plot called project ABC, which looks at chemicals in our homes to see if they are drastically toxic. After careful tampering of the data, they present their hunch about what they think is mostly responsible for making things toxic. […]

They end by saying that if they made no mistakes, X and Y should not have important visible toxic effects, and these chemicals are probably not harmful to us.

Does that sound very encouraging? Well, that ‘information’ is my tongue-in-cheek translation to laymen-terms of a hypothetical sample of ‘science speak’ which I wrote based on bits and pieces which you well might find in scientific papers, and with the help of this little ‘conversion table’ from the feature article Communicating the science of climate change, in Physics Today in 2011:


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Supervisory and monitoring costs and occupational segregation by sex



Published: Goldin, Claudia. “Monitoring Costs and Occupational Segregation by Sex: An Historical Analysis,” Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 4, (January 1986), pp. 1-27.

How to Solve Racial Disparity

The Modern Libertarian

Socioeconomic racial disparity has been making lots of headlines recently. Protests in New York and Ferguson have brought a new light to the discussion of race. I have pointed out in previous posts what caused disparity, but never offered a solution. I believe the current state of disparity is a storm of multiple policy failures, so there is no single pen swipe or new law that could do anything worth mentioning.

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