A Christmas Carol

I've been looking for this version of "A Christmas Carol" for years. I remember seeing it as a kid on our old black and white TV. It seemed scary at back then; perhaps that's one of the reasons I remember it. According to IMDB, it won an Oscar for "Best Short Subject, Animated Films." It has been unavailable for quite some time, but now anyone can watch it on Google Video. Enjoy!

Incentive vs. Penalty

Greg Mankiw posts a little something on the equivalence of the government fining someone $1000 and the government giving a $1000 tax rebate to everyone except that one person. What he doesn't mention is something I have thought for a long time, i.e. that the Federal government can and does use a similar technique to overstep the limits of its authority under the Constitution. If, for example, the Feds want the drinking age raised to 24, they run into constitutional trouble with legislation that simply fines states that don't comply. But if they threaten to withhold highway funds for non-compliance, then somehow this is perfectly fine. Isn't taxing everyone, but then funding only to those in compliance effectively the same thing as a fine?

Religion in the Presidential Campaign

The right-wing blogosphere is abuzz today with talk of the damage that the focus on religion is doing to the Republican presidential campaign. I've even seen the term "political suicide" come up. I couldn't agree more with Charles Krauthammer, in his piece "Redundance on Religion."

I find the way these candidates are wearing their religion on their sleeves distasteful. Now they seem to be in a fight to "out-Christian" each other. I think that religious faith is a positive aspect of a candidate, but religious tolerance is a "litmus test" issue to me. Further, I think that if a presidential candidate believes that the Earth is a few thousand years old, or does not believe that natural forces have in some way shaped life on Earth, then his scientific ignorance makes him unqualified for the office. That means you, Mr. Huckabee.

Huckabee's surge has the potential to be every bit as damaging to the GOP as Dean's was to the Dems last time around. I originally liked Romney. Now I find the campaign focus on religion driving me more and more into the Guiliani camp.

War on Science

Mixing of science and politics has been in the news a lot lately. Usually, the Bush Administration gets knocked in particular for its position on stem cell research (c.f. the so-called "Republican War on Science", see also this article in the Volokh Conspiracy for a very nice critique.) Why is it that the Left, and Tom Harkin in particular, are not criticized for their undying support of alternative medicine? And by "support" here I mean direct federal funding. The budget for the NIH's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is $121,465,000. I tend to agree with this guy.

Housing Bailout

Kudos to Michelle Malkin for telling like it is on the proposed mortgage bailout. Read the comments too. Housing prices are finally starting to come down here in the Boston area, to the point where my wife and I can consider buying. Now speculators are demanding the government step in to protect their investment, aka gamble. Like it does by bailing out people who build houses on the beach in hurricane zones, the government seems intent on rewarding reckless behavior and punishing the fiscally responsible. And I have no sympathy for lenders here either. If they made risky loans to people who couldn't afford them, that's the bed they've made. Let them lie in it.

Update: Via Instapundit, Going Under In A Lexus.