Archive for January, 2008

The New York Times is not exactly renowned for libertarian views but this particular oped – where the author complains about excessive private philanthropy – is staggeringly regressive even by their standards.

Indeed, the article, after acknowledging that private philanthropy in the US exceeds that of any other country, goes on to state:

Critics of government spending argue that America’s private sector does a better job making socially necessary investments. But it doesn’t. Public spending is allocated democratically among competing demands. Rich benefactors can spend on anything they want, and they tend to spend on projects close to their hearts.

Philanthropic contributions are usually tax-free. They directly reduce the government’s ability to engage in public spending. Perhaps the government should demand a role in charities’ allocation of resources in exchange for the tax deduction. Or maybe the deduction should go altogether. Experts estimate that tax breaks motivate 25 percent to 30 percent of contributions.

In any event, social needs, like those health clinics, are not about charity. They are a necessity. America needs a government that can and will pay for them.

Rajiv Gandhi, the former Indian Prime Minister, once said that for every rupee spent by the government, only fifteen paise reaches the intended recipients. I suspect that the fraction is even lower.

It is precisely because private benefactors care for their projects that the money is likely to reach their destination and be well used.

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Eugene Volokh has a great post about the Hindley affair. Yet another example of political correctness taken too far in America.

Someone once said that the greatest American ideal isn’t democracy or mobility or justice or equality, but freedom. Apropos of nothing, I remember the song –

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone.”

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Federer vs Tipsarevic 6-7 7-6 5-7 6-1 10-8.

I was up till 2 AM watching this epic battle and every moment was worth it.

Here is a great highlights capsule from ESPN. It is merely 1:45 long but includes some of the best points that were played last night.

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Not even as a token of protest…

Ingrid Newkirk and the PETA activists had gone to Gandhi Park, blindfolded the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and hung a board that said ‘reject cruel sport jallikattu.’

Following a complaint lodged by a Congress functionary, police registered cases against Ingrid and others for creating religious ill-feeling, defaming the national leader, trespassing and also under Tamil Nadu Open Places Prevention of Disfigurement Act.

Inspector Cederick Manuel was transferred to the City Police Armed Reserve for failing to stop the protest, police said.

Newkirk told Reuters she did not mean any disrespect to Gandhi but blindfolded his statue to symbolically shield him from the cruelty of the sport.

Going into a public park is trespassing? The token of protest defames Gandhi? Protesting against a sport on purely ethical (and secular) grounds creates religious ill-feeling? There is actually a law called Tamil Nadu Open Places Prevention of Disfigurement Act?!

Also I gladly note how easy it is for an ordinary citizen to get a police inspector transferred.

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Hasbro and Mattel, the makers of the enourmously popular board game called scrabble, want to shut down scrabulous.com, and especially its Facebook avatar.

The article above quotes an angry Scrabulous fan from the United Kingdom : “Do these greedy fools not realize that they should be paying the creators of Scrabulous for all the damn fans of the game they created?”

My sentiments exactly. 

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This nice test measures ‘libertarian purity’, with a high score indicating strong support for anarcho-capitalism.

By the way, I scored 65. The test tells me: You are a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much.

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A wonderful article by Vir Sanghvi on Ratan Tata.

Meanwhile, Mamata Bannerjee wants one million Nanos to be given away for free…

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