I have the best readers. Yesterday, Richard Factor showed us how to hook our homes up to our Priuses – voila! our own private emergency power grids. (Well, it’s a little more complicated than that, but still.) Today, I see that long-time reader Carol Vinzant has published Lawyers, Guns, and Money: One Man’s Battle with the Gun Industry, which Publisher’s Weekly called ‘a balanced, intelligent and scrupulously researched portrait of a controversial industry. . . . [it] reads like the real story behind a bestselling legal thriller.’

Did you know America has more licensed gun dealers than gas stations? That and more in Carol’s book.


In response to the $100,000 ‘idea’ contest, Alan Q writes: ‘Here’s mine and it’s a damn fine idea. Building on the success of the X Prize in reusable spacecraft: Expand government funded X Prizes in areas where innovation is vital to the nation’s economic future and national security. For example:

  • $40 billion in cash and 20-year federal tax forgiveness (both can be adjusted) to the first automobile company that puts a million hydrogen-based cars in the hands of consumers. The company must demonstrate that it is covering the cost of production in the price it charges.
  • $10 billion in cash and 20-year federal tax forgiveness to the first developer that builds and fills (at least) a 500-home development that is completely powered through renewable energy (solar, wind, etc). Again, it must be shown that the price of the homes truly reflects costs.

“These are just a couple of ideas where these kinds of prizes would spur innovation, yet the cost to the government would be, relatively speaking, pocket change. I can imagine a blue-ribbon panel that identifies which of these contests would be the most useful. (Remember, these are just examples.)”

☞ I love it, but in these particular examples, it seems to me the prize is large enough in and of itself – like the prize for hitting a giant oil field or winning the lottery – that no further inducement may be necessary.  Instead, what may be needed are cash grants up front to help finance promising research and technologies, underwrite prototypes and the rest.


Jim Ries: “I was reading an article about Canada’s no-confidence vote yesterday, and noted that Canada has extremely low unemployment and a budget surplus.  I wonder what you think of the notion of moving to Canada, simply for financial benefit (suddenly, I would be free of all the debt racked up by Republicans).  There are plenty of reasons that I won’t actually do this, but I thought it might be an interesting idea to explore.”

☞ Indeed.  What I think Canada should do is merge with Mexico.  Let hard-working Mexicans go North to help build Canada.  Let freezing Canadians fly south and invest in a more prosperous Mexico, sharing the wealth.  Both countries have a good bit of oil.  The new country could be called MEXI-CAN.  Three quarters of its population wouldn’t even have to change their nationality – they’d still be Mexican.  (This replaces my earlier idea, of buying half the Baja peninsula from Mexico to extinguish its national debt, then giving it to the Palestinians or Israelis to be their – much expanded – homeland.)  I do not expect to win $100,000 for these ideas.


John Seiffer:  “I’m reading The United States of Europe by T.R. Reid and it turns out the European Union has done a much better job of protecting privacy (and other things our founders never thought about) than the US constitution. On pages 163-165 he cites the 22-page Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, summarizing which Articles do what: Environmental Protection (Article 17), Consumer Protection (Article 18), Rights of Children (Article 24) . . . Article 8 ‘assures the protection of personal data,’ giving citizens the right to see any dossier maintained on them, whether government or private, and have it corrected if it’s wrong.  Sure beats what we have in this country. The funny thing is, if you said to Americans that you have a 22-page list of things you want to prohibit the government from doing – you’d get labeled as a liberal not a conservative. Go figure.”


After calls went out earlier this year questioning the ethics of Republican House member Duke Cunningham (who has now admitted taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors), Republican Majority Leader Tom Delay rose to his defense:

“Duke Cunningham is a hero.  He is an honorable man of high integrity.”
Tom DeLay, June 14, 2005

Now, according to an e-mail appeal from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy:

On December 5th, Vice President Dick Cheney will travel to Texas to headline a fundraiser for indicted House Leader Tom DeLay.

Yes, the same Dick Cheney whose Chief of Staff was recently indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice in the outing of an undercover CIA agent, whose former company Halliburton received no-bid contracts worth billions for work in Iraq, who colluded with Big Oil to write the Bush energy plan — and then insisted on hiding the evidence, who claimed well past the point of reason that Iraq and 9/11 were connected, and who continues to attack anyone and everyone who dares challenge the misguided policies of the Bush Administration.

And, of course, the same Dick Cheney who had a few not-so-civil words for me on the Senate Floor last year.

That Dick Cheney is now hosting a fundraiser for Tom DeLay in Houston in the next few days. The same Tom DeLay who was indicted for campaign finance violations and whose close associates Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon are at the center of the latest GOP political corruption scandal.

Now is the time for you to send Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay a message: Americans are ready for new leadership to replace the corruption, arrogance, and incompetence of the current Republican regime in Washington, DC.

Help us fight Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, and the radical right-wing — contribute to Green Mountain PAC today!

☞ Hey, and while you’re at it, click here to “buy” twenty bucks a month of Democracy bonds! (Repayment in principle, not principal.)


IMS estimates that sales for Bidil for the month of October were $619,000.  Assuming the modest growth we are seeing in prescriptions, sales for the full quarter should come in at around an eighth or a tenth of the $20 million that the analysts at UBS Securities were originally estimating, and at perhaps half the $4.7 million to which I believe they have reduced its estimate.  Don’t sell your puts.


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