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Yes I'm Still Here

I know I haven't written in a while. I've been too busy to blog for a few days. Regular blogging will resume "soon", in the meanwhile, some more-or-less random comments.

I missed the window to write about Ayn Rand's centenary, but other people did. Bryan Caplan's literary analysis was the most interesting of what I've read recently.

Speaking of Ayn Rand, the Ayn Rand Institute put out another op-ed I have to complain about. It's critical of the idea that the Iraqi elections will help American security and puts forward absolutely valid concerns that "some assortment of collectivists and Islamists" might be elected.

Of course that's a possibility, but I'm not so pessimistic, and I think it's unwise to proclaim failure before the composition of the new government is even known. There are a lot of factors indicating success: the celebratory atmosphere, the chanting of "vote for Allawi, not Zarqawi", the clear failure of terrorists' attempts to disrupt the elections, the proud display of inked fingers, the memories of the former totalitarian ruler… these didn't deserve to be ignored.

The op-ed does not argue that a free Iraq won't strengthen American security. It only argues that we won't get a free Iraq. I remain to be convinced of that.

This was, without doubt, the worst paragraph:

Perhaps the most alarming outcome for U.S. security would be a popularly elected theocracy aligned with or highly sympathetic to Iran's totalitarian regime. Iran is reported to have smuggled nearly one million people into Iraq to vote and has donated millions of dollars to sway the election in favor of a Shi'ite-led government. Already, Iranian intelligence officials are said to roam the hallways of Iraqi party offices, on whose walls hang pictures of Iran's supreme leader.

A million people sumggled into Iraq? Are you nuts? What's your source for this alleged intelligence? I think if you smuggled a million people into a country with a population of only 25 million (and only 14 million of voting age) that would be rather easily noticed. A sudden 4% population surge would cause interesting effects, like a shortage of housing. And wouldn't people notice such a mass migration? How long were these people there? Did they get jobs? How much money did they bring with them?

I heard a few days ago that roughly 8 million ballots were cast. (Anyone have an authoritative figure?) If 1 million of those were cast by foreigners, don't'cha think the poll workers would've noticed?

It's totally ridiculous. I wish I could read an ARI op-ed without rolling my eyes.

Via EconoPundit I learned that socialized medicine keeps getting worse in Britain. Once more, with feeling: medical care is economically scarce, just like everything else. If you don't want to allocate by price, you have to ration.

More than 70% of cancer patients are having to wait beyond the recommended maximum of four weeks for radiotherapy, compared with 32% five years previously.

Socialism kills people, people! And this is even the softer, gentler, kinder socialism that at least can claim it's not slaughtering people intentionally.

Thank you, Secretary Rice. I'm glad someone in this administration will stand up to Putin.

I just wish it was the President.

A longish post on the State of the Union speech is in the works, before I return to regular topics.

Tiny Island