Socialism has caused a shortage of toilet paper in Venezuela, and the Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann says it like it is:
While the government prefers to blame shadowy political enemies for the shortages -- according to the AP, Commerce Secretary Alejandro Fleming said the toilet paper crisis was the result of "excessive demand" sparked by "a media campaign that has been generated to disrupt the country -- the explanation is much more straightforward.
In 2003, then President Hugo Chavez slammed currency controls into place to prevent money from fleeing the country while government seized land and corporate assets. Those rules have made it harder to buy imports. Meanwhile, price caps meant to make basic staples affordable to the poor are so low that, for many products, they don't pay for the cost of production.
Nobody's going to make toilet paper if they'll lose money selling it.
The comments section is once again open. Apologies on the downtime.
Noah Millman with a very interesting liberal perspective on immigration and wages over at The American Conservative. Best passage:
[I]f we’re going to argue that mass immigration isn’t going to create a fiscal problem so long as we don’t allow class divisions to deepen and fester, then shouldn’t we be doing something to make sure class divisions don’t deepen and fester? Like, make sure wages, even for relatively low-skill manual labor, are high enough to allow a semblance of a middle class existence? If you believe that low IQs are partly caused by growing up poor, then isn’t a low-wage policy even more pernicious than it would otherwise appear, as it hobbles a substantial portion of the next generation as well? Wouldn’t a low-wage policy wind up making it seem like Richwine was right after all?
The Census Bureau is projecting that international migration will soon be the primary driver of U.S. population growth, which hasn't been the case since 1850.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
I'll confess that my arguments against this immigration reform bill run into a wall when dealing with America's natalism problem. Absent a (very unlikely) change in our homegrown demographics, America is set to become a dramatically older society, an outcome we ought to avoid if possible. Immigration can help alleviate the costs of this change, and done properly - say, dramatically favoring high skilled workers - we ought to include immigration as a tool to keep America dynamic and growing. Those are positive things.
Here's part of the Census Bureau report:
The Wall Street Journal recounts the history of the federal government's war on the apostrophe:
The no-apostrophe rule has been reaffirmed five times, yet punctuationists fight on. At a 2009 meeting with place namers from the states, the names committee was flayed for its "isolationist stance" toward "the perpetually punished apostrophe."
"The apostrophe has a function," says Thomas Gasque, an English professor who spent years on South Dakota's Geographic Names Authority. "It can imply things other than possession," he says. "We talk about a winter's day. The day doesn't belong to winter."
As Prof. Gasque sees it, map makers should prize locally used apostrophes as mainstays of history. "Place names are the autobiography of a nation," he says.
This should be fairly obvious, but can we not spend the next year so filled with rage that we forget to offer the public an agenda of our own? Kudos to National Review for urging caution among the conservative ranks:
[T]hough the AP story has angered some progressives, and the IRS story some vulnerable Democrats, it will fall on the Republicans to lead the way.
We urge them to do so with vigor, but also with a keen sense of the limits of political scandal. Republicans must guard against the temptation to count on scandal to deliver election victories in 2014 and 2016.
It is a lesson they should have learned in 1998.
Republicans expected to make large gains in Congress that year but ended up losing five House seats and standing pat in the Senate. The problem was not so much that Republicans “overreached” in pursuing the impeachment of President Clinton, as the conventional wisdom has it. The Republicans that year did not really run on a promise to remove Clinton from office — or on any other agenda. Their strategy was to assume that the scandal would redound to their benefit, and that they merely had to sit back and let victory rain o’er them. It didn’t.
I'm not sure I'd pay this much for KFC's subpar fried chicken, but ok:
The French fries arrive soggy, the chicken having long since lost its crunch. A 12-piece bucket goes for about $27 here — more than twice the $11.50 it costs just across the border in Egypt.
And for fast-food delivery, it is anything but fast: it took more than four hours for the KFC meals to arrive here on a recent afternoon from the franchise where they were cooked in El Arish, Egypt, a journey that involved two taxis, an international border, a smuggling tunnel and a young entrepreneur coordinating it all from a small shop here called Yamama — Arabic for pigeon.
I wish everyone reacted to impolite cell phone usage like Kevin Williamson.
The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: “So don’t look.” I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business.
So I minded my own business by utilizing my famously feline agility to deftly snatch the phone out of her hand and toss it across the room, where it would do no more damage. She slapped me and stormed away to seek managerial succor. Eventually, I was visited by a black-suited agent of order, who asked whether he might have a word.
In a civilized world, I would have received a commendation of some sort. To the theater-going public of New York — nay, the the world – I say: “You’re welcome.”
I think Jennifer Rubin missed the context on this Steve King remark:
Yesterday, he was shooting his mouth off again, claiming proponents of reform aren’t “true conservatives.” And — get this — he said, “I would take Obamacare” over the Gang of Eight plan. This is, quite simply, nuts from a conservative perspective and entirely at odds with the wishes of conservative voters. ...
As for Obamacare, there is no objective among elected Republicans and GOP voters more dearly held than repealing Obamacare. But that enormous expansion of government, its intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, its expansion of the corruption-ridden and inefficient Medicaid and all those taxes are fine with King, so long as he keeps Hispanics here from becoming citizens. That is many things, but it does not reflect conservative values.
Here's the fuller context of the quote:
The bluer the country, the fewer the percentage of people who answered "people of another race" for people they wouldn't want as neighbors. Thanks to Max Fischer of the Washington Post for bringing this to light.
Note: the "Most" in the headline is due to the outlier here, the shockingly high results from India.
Read Newsweek's Daniel Klaidman on President Obama's Gitmo problem:
For anyone who has followed the saga of Guantánamo Bay over the past few years, Obama’s words were nothing short of shocking. It had been a long time since his efforts to close Gitmo had collapsed—done in by congressional obstruction, by political realities, and even, to an extent, by Obama himself. During the intervening period, there had been little evidence that Obama cared to return to the issue. He hadn’t uttered the word Guantánamo in a State of the Union address since 2009. Nor was there even anybody in charge of quarterbacking the initiative. The prevailing attitude toward Gitmo within the administration seemed to be “out of sight, out of mind.” Like the 166 prisoners languishing in the facility, the president’s policy seemed entirely stuck in limbo.
Now Obama, with no public warning, had suddenly committed himself to making another run at what had thus far proved to be the most Sisyphean of all his policy goals. Could he possibly have meant what he said? Was he really ready to restart this particular political fight?
If there's one group of people who should understand what it takes to achieve political goals, I hope it's the political scientists. POLITICO reports:
Political scientists are about to test some of their research in the field. The American Political Science Association has hired Barbara Kennelly Associates and Maria Freese. The association will lobby on “appropriations for State, Justice, Commerce — to eliminate restrictions on political science funding through the National Science Foundation.”
Apologies for this, but the tech people here at the Daily Beast are up to something:
Relax guys, it’ll be back. We have had to turn off comments for the time being while we try to roll out a new user management system. The length of this outage is not yet determined, but we hope it will be at most until tomorrow morning. Thanks for your patience.