Private: Spin Select | Jan 15th to Jan 31st

20 Jan

Israel practices collective punishment

1.5 million residents of Gaza were plunged into darkness as Israel closed all border crossings preventing delivery of fuel supplies. While Gaza technically has a sea coast, it has no access to goods and trade from the sea as Israel controls that. Israel also controls the air space. This is the latest in a series of measures taken by Israel that have wreaked havoc on the economy. “With no raw materials getting in and no finished products getting out, Gaza’s industrial sector has collapsed. Over 100,000 Palestinians have lost their jobs in the last six months, according to local unions.” BBC “Hospitals are reporting a lack of drugs and parts for medical equipment. The price of chocolate, cigarettes and Coke has doubled, even trebled, because of the shortages.”

Freakonomics of sex

Never discount Steven Levitt, the author of Freakonomics, when it comes to finding interesting things to study. After drug peddlers, it is his turn to study sex workers. Along with Sudhir Venkatesh, sociologist at Columbia, Levitt studied sex workers in Chicago and had some interesting results to share. Economist reports.

Chaste, a contributor to this blog, recommends the following two articles from NYRB:
Olmert and Israel: The Change
The ‘Problem of Evil’ in Postwar Europe

Impact of presumed consent legislation on cadaveric organ donation
Using cross national data, Abadie and Gay in this 2005 article present evidence towards large positive effects on organ donation rates due to presumed consent legislation.

Kant and Hobbes lie turning in their graves as Kagan writes
David Runciman provides an informed analysis of the state of international relations in this 2003 article for the London Review of Books, while astutely picking apart Robert Kagan’s terminally flawed book, Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order.


  • “Annoy the rich. Vote McCain,” said a placard outside a Romney speech near Orlando. Economist
  • “We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein.” NY Times
  • “A poll conducted by Time/CNN on the estate tax issue in 2000 revealed that 39 per cent of Americans believe that they are either in the wealthiest 1 per cent or will be there ‘soon’.” London Review of Books