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July 2006

"Funny Air Traffic Controller Quotes". Example:

Allegedly, a Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following: Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?" Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English." Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?" Unknown voice from another plane (in a beautiful British accent): "Because you lost the bloody war."

(Link via Reddit.)

Mark Steyn reviews a book, Before the Dawn, that argues that primitive peoples weren't as peaceful as some have led us to believe:

Lawrence Keeley calculates that 87 per cent of primitive societies were at war more than once per year, and some 65 per cent of them were fighting continuously. "Had the same casualty rate been suffered by the population of the twentieth century," writes Wade, "its war deaths would have totaled two billion people." Two billion! In other words, we're the aberration: after 50,000 years of continuous human slaughter, you, me, Bush, Cheney, Blair, Harper, Rummy, Condi, we're the nancy-boy peacenik crowd. "The common impression that primitive peoples, by comparison, were peaceful and their occasional fighting of no serious consequence is incorrect. Warfare between pre-state societies was incessant, merciless, and conducted with the general purpose, often achieved, of annihilating the opponent."

Kotlikoff's paper

This article--thanks to Craig at UIC for the link--summarizes Larry Kotlikoff's recently published paper, "Is the United States Bankrupt?" Several places on the Web, including Drudge, repeated the scary headline.

But I think that the more interesting part of the paper is Kotlikoff's three policy proposals. One is to replace Social Security with personalized accounts, albeit accounts mandatorily invested in a global index fund. Another is to replace Medicare and Medicaid with individualized, government-funded vouchers. And the third is to replace federal income, FICA, and estate taxes with a 33% retail sales tax plus rebate.

In my opinion, they are all worth seriously investigating and debating.