We're getting close enough to the caucuses that it's time to start taking the Presidential race more seriously. It looks like our caucuses could be held as early as January 5th, just to maintain our first-in-the-nation status. It's pretty important that Iowa keep that spot -- and we need to make sure other states realize just how important it is that a small state like Iowa maintain some kind of political prestige. Of the 435 seats in the US House, 223 (or more than 51%) belong to just nine states: California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Georgia. In other words, if Iowa loses its first-in-the-nation status, there's a good chance it'll be taken by one of those big states...and if the nine or ten biggest states get the lead-off role, then the remaining 40 or 41 states can pretty much kiss their influence goodbye. That might also be a good reason for more than 100,000 or 200,000 people to show up at the caucuses.
We've been documenting what we talk about on this show for a couple of months, and it's pretty amazing just what a wide range of subjects we discuss under the umbrella of "making money and having fun." Occasionally we come across great ideas that we'll get to use for free, like the proposed new method for CPR, which gets rid of mouth-to-mouth and simultaneously promises to deliver much more efficient blood transfer.
The Twin Cities suburb of Coon Rapids is looking at a plan to get rid of competitive garbage collection and go to a single hauler. Supposedly, they're trying to reduce damage to the city streets caused by the trucks, but getting rid of competition is hardly the smartest way to make life better for the city's residents. It's just a bad idea to reject competition when much simpler solutions exist. In fact, the importance of competition in delivering community services is addressed in one of the chapters in my book, "Ten Big Answers You Won't Get from a Politician."
The Oxford English Dictionary allows it, so I'm going to use it: puh-leeze. Minnesota has a new statewide smoking ban. As a non-smoker, I patronize certain establishments specifically because they're non-smoking venues. It makes sense to reward those establishments for doing something I like...much more sense than banning something just because we might not like it. What's next? Banning trans-fats everywhere because they cause heart disease? Banning sugar because it aggravates diabetes? Banning cars because they get into accidents?
This is directly related to the issue of global warming: A USC professor says we might be getting it all wrong, and that carbon dioxide may only be a symptom of warming caused by other factors -- not the immediate cause itself. That doesn't mean global warming isn't happening, but that we should look at the big picture before we decide to ban the SUV or do anything else rash.
Want a border fence? First, take a look at some spots along the border. A practical view of what border locations actually look like may convince you that fences aren't the best way to ensure national security.
Fortunately, even though there are big problems in the world -- like how to lift billions of people worldwide out of poverty -- there are big thinkers working on ways to solve those problems. The best answers will involve getting more of what people want and need to more people more efficiently -- and many of those best answers will come from market thinking.
What in the world would compel a person to make more than 300 prank calls to police? That's not just stupid, it's criminally stupid.