a service of NPRI


October 6, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 32
 

Also in this issue:

The shrewdest investor in
Las Vegas has a new bet

Hispanic buying power surges

Oregon AFL-CIO
cuts staff, budget

Nevadans may face mortgage repayment woes

Senate will probe Saudi distribution of hate materials

Bush seeks entitlement
cuts to pay for Katrina

Commentary:

The conservation hoax

Signaled: The end of
the dollar standard

Filling in the gaps in
the Rosenberg file

Attention miners, the
canary is dead!

Recent NPRI Commentaries

'Disciplining' Canadian Pharmacists — from Nevada
'You can't be everywhere,' notes a Health Canada spokesman.

The Significance
of TABOR

There's a new antidote in the constitutional medicine chest

Infantile Adult Syndrome
We subsidize pathology, then wonder why we get more of it


Energy
The conservation hoax


By N. Joseph Potts
Ludwig von
Mises Institute

President Bush tells us to drive less and limit trips to only the essentials, while the EPA's EnergyStar program is urging us all to "change a lightbulb" in our homes, from a regular one to a government-approved one, which they claim will save hundreds of millions.

You are also supposed to take a pledge: "I pledge to do my part to save energy and help protect our environment by changing a light in my home to an ENERGY STAR qualified one"--then the government will send you a free "zipper pull."

We can see where this is headed: back to the days of relentless brow-beating, intimidation, regulation, and calls for national sacrifice—possibly even regimentation and control—all in the name of saving energy. (How much energy is consumed in making and sending the zipper pull?)

Just in time to check this growing mania comes The Bottomless Well, by Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills (Basic Books, 2005). It provides nothing less than a total shift of paradigm for viewing the energy crises that have animated the media for at least the past 35 years. For those to whom the book's revelations are largely new, a lifetime's habits of thought on the subject of energy face complete refutation.

[continued]


The Dollar
Signaled: The end of the dollar standard

By Rob Lee
Prudent Bear

I am an economist who worked for 25 years in large investment companies in South Africa. I “retired” to the UK a few years ago. For most of my career I lobbied for policies such as money supply targets and later inflation targets that were (implicitly) intended to substitute the role of gold as an independent anchor for the monetary system. I was never an advocate of any form of gold standard, unlike the current Fed Chairman, now ironically testing the fiat money system to destruction.

However, in recent years the scales have fallen from my eyes. As Voltaire said in 1729 “paper money eventually goes down to its intrinsic value – zero.” Every ...

[continued]


Reds
Filling in the gaps in the Rosenberg file

By Ronald Radosh
The New York Sun

In 1956, the young sociologist Nathan Glazer was asked by the social-democratic New Leader magazine to undertake a study of the controversial trial and execution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, who had been convicted of “conspiracy to commit espionage” and sent to their deaths in June 1953. Mr. Glazer zeroed in on Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, two friends of Julius Rosenberg who had been all but ignored by the press and by the couple’s defenders and critics alike. They appeared to have been part of Rosenberg’s spy network ...

[continued]


The Economy
Attention miners, the canary is dead!

By Peter Schiff
Euro Pacific Capital

if the stock market was a coal mine, and investors the miners, gold would be their canary. A sharp increase the price of gold is a warning signal that all is not well. It is a precursor to rising inflation, higher interest rates, reduced profits, and a general loss of confidence in financial assets.

One of the more astounding aspects of the recent gold rally, which has brought it to fresh eighteen-year highs, is the extent to which excuses have been made to minimize its significance. It’s as if a group of coal miners is casually standing around the body of a dead canary, confident that the bird met its demise due to natural causes....

[continued]


WHY BusinessNevada


Higher Ed
Nevada’s System of
Higher Exploitation

It’s no accident that
Millennium Scholars do so badly

By Steven Miller

After the 2005 Legislature, Chancellor Jim Rogers and other officials of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) were exultant.

The 2005 Legislature had given them a huge wad of Nevada taxpayers’ dollars—at least $1.65 billion for the next two years, not counting tens of millions for new buildings. Not merely was the operating budget over 20 percent above what the state higher ed system had ever received; it was more, even, than had been requested. Thus, according to minutes, Rogers told regents that the session had been “incredibly positive.” And in a remark that stands as a classic expression of insatiable government bureaucracy, he thanked Vice Chancellor Dan Klaich for leading the effort “to secure all that we could as a System.”

Is getting all you can out of taxpayers the appropriate goal of a public education system? Do not simple equity and an economical relationship of means to ends deserve higher priority? In Nevada’s System of Higher Education, those are notably not the case.

[continued]


Casinos
The shrewdest investor in
Las Vegas has a new bet

Sheldon Adelson has a new bet: turning Macau into the biggest, glitziest gambling mecca the world has ever seen

By Rik Kirkland
Fortune

Sheldon Adelson has made billions of dollars by seeing things others do not. But even he was stumped three years ago when he first laid eyes on the real estate that Chinese officials were offering him to build a new casino in Macau. "It’s very nice, very picturesque," he thought. "But it’s under- water! They’ve relegated me to the boonies!"

Like every other bigtime casino developer, he was well aware of Macau’s potential: The former Portuguese colony south of Hong Kong is the only place in the Chinese-speaking world where betting is legal. It’s located a short drive or plane ride away from a billion-plus Chinese —who, by the way, are the world’s most ferocious gamblers. But out here? On a future landfill project several miles from the crowded downtown peninsula where the action had always been?

[continued]


Assimilation
Hispanic buying power surges

Increased income boosts status of minorities

By Alana Roberts
InBusinessLasVegas

As a second-generation Hispanic living in the United States, Las Vegan Robert Gomez says he, like many minorities, enjoys greater education and job opportunities than his predecessors.

As a result, Gomez said he -- and other minorities -- have greater buying power and the business community is taking notice.

"It used to be when Hispanics worked in this country we were the maids and porters," Gomez said. "I'm a second-generation Hispanic. I was born in the U.S., and I have a college degree in hotel management (from UNLV). Therefore, more of us are becoming business owners, we're management people, we're moving up in the ranks of employment to higher paying jobs."

[continued]


Unions
Oregon AFL-CIO
cuts staff, budget

AFL-CIO cutbacks continue across nation

By Steve Law
Statesman Journal

THE OREGON AFL-CIO has slashed its budget and eliminated one-third of its paid staff to cope with the defection of several unions to a rival labor coalition.

Change to Win convention a raucous affair

St. Louis event shows a movement unglued

Anybody who thought that organized labor is dead in America should have attended this week's "Change to Win" inaugural convention in St. Louis. [more]

The reorganization comes as the breakaway unions, including the largest state workers union in Oregon, meet in St. Louis, Mo., for the founding convention of their Change to Win Coalition.

"Any organization that faces a loss in revenue as large as 40 percent has to do some radical restructuring, and we've done that," said Oregon AFL-CIO President Tim Nesbitt.

Oregon AFL-CIO money, activists and endorsements played a major role in electing Gov. Ted Kulongoski in 2002, and the federation is an influential part of the Oregon Democratic Party's base. A budding split in the federation could reduce union clout at a time when labor's power already was waning nationally.

The state federation's union-organizing coordinator and public-relations and research director will leave their posts this week, Nesbitt said. Secretary-Treasurer Brad Witt, the federation's No. 2 official, has taken a new job, and his post likely will become unpaid. Witt also might have to vacate his elected post because his new employer, United Food and Commercial Workers, is part of the rival coalition.

[continued]


Real Estate
Nevadans may face
mortgage repayment woes

Marginal borrowers are extended

By Valerie Miller
LV Business Press

The high number of interest-only and adjustable-rate mortgages could spell trouble for Nevada borrowers. Federal regulators cautioned in a report released today that rising interest rates and falling values could spell trouble for homeowners and investors using unconventional real estate financing.

Interest-only mortgages and adjustable rate loans accounted for over half of Nevada's subprime loans in the first quarter of 2005, compared to 42 percent nationally, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's second-quarter state profile.

[continued]


Terror
Senate will probe Saudi
distribution of hate materials

By Meghan Clyne
The New York Sun

The American government is demanding that Saudi Arabia account for its distribution of hate material to American mosques, as the State Department pressed Saudi officials for answers last week and as the Senate later this month plans to investigate the propagation of radical Wahhabism on American shores.

The flurry of activity comes months after a report from the Center for Religious Freedom discovered that dozens of mosques in major cities across the country, including New York, Washington, and Los Angeles, were distributing documents, bearing the seal of the government of Saudi Arabia, that incite Muslims to acts of violence and promote hatred of Jews and Christians.

[continued]


Politics & Policy
Bush seeks entitlement cuts to pay for Katrina

By Christopher Cooper
Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON -- President Bush called on Congress to balance additional hurricane relief and reconstruction spending with "substantial" cuts in popular entitlement programs, and also said the storms showed legislation is needed to encourage construction of new U.S. oil refineries.

The much-criticized federal response to Hurricane Katrina appeared to be much on the president's mind as he held his first press conference since the storm hit the Gulf Coast a month ago. He also used the occasion to defend his conservative credentials, which have come under attack recently by some Republican lawmakers and activist groups critical of his recent spending initiatives and his Supreme Court appointments. "Am I still a conservative? Proudly so. Proudly so," he said.

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