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Reason Foundation

Reason Alert: Russia-Georgia Conflict

August 14, 2008

The Triumph of Putinism
Reason magazine's Cathy Young, author of the book Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood, writes that Vladimir Putin is the big winner in the Russia-Georgia conflict: "One outcome, at least, seems clear: a consolidation of Vladimir Putin's power in Russia. In recent weeks, the independent Russian media had started to talk about Dmitry Medvedev growing more assertive in his role as president, particularly after a Medvedev aide mildly rebuked Prime Minister Putin for unleashing a war of words against Mechel, a leading Russian mining company. But in the operation against Georgia, Putin has dominated the news, acting as commander-in-chief and perhaps showing not only Saakashvili but Medvedev who's boss. Meanwhile, if Medvedev's plans for a new rapprochement with the West were ever anything more than a façade, those hopes have suffered a severe blow. Putin, the Russian strongman, not only firmly holds the reins of power; he is also riding a popular wave of jingoism, one-upmanship, paranoia, and grievance toward the West-the very sentiments that have always formed the core of Putinism. For now, the Putin regime wins; Russia and Georgia lose."

Reason.tv Video: Corn Is for Food, Not Fuel
Politicians are going crazy for ethanol, touting it as a cure-all that will reduce both pollution and our dependence on foreign oil. But a new Reason.tv video shows ethanol subsidies are costing taxpayers a massive $8 billion this year and that as much as 60 percent of the increase in world food prices can be blamed on biofuel subsidies. "Ethanol is bad for taxpayers, bad for the environment, and horrible for the world's poor," Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason.tv, declares in the video. We are paying more for beef, milk, and eggs because the ethanol craze has increased demand for corn, driving up prices and diverting corn that used to go towards food products and feeding livestock. "We are in the midst of a world food crisis. Several million people are on the edge of starvation because we are turning food into fuel. The amount of corn that it takes to produce a 20 gallon tank of ethanol could feed one person for an entire year," Reason magazine Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey says.
» Archive of Reason.tv's Drew Carey Videos

Regulating Us All Into Tighter Blue Jeans
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently approved legislation that will make trans fats verboten in restaurant food and baked goods. In Los Angeles, the city council is doing its part to keep residents healthy by declaring a one-year moratorium on new fast food restaurants in a 32-square-mile chunk of the city," Greg Beato writes at Reason.com. "Call it the flipside to Michael Moore's mouth-watering vision of universal healthcare as a tasty buffet of all-you-can-eat medical care. Instead of bottomless salad bowls of angioplasties and farm-fresh upper gastrointestinal endoscopies, it's Big Brother as Biggest Loser jackboot, regulating us all into tighter blue jeans and less costly LDL levels. Today, Moore and other reformers dream of living in England or France, where hip replacement is a fundamental human right, not just a medical procedure. Tomorrow, they may seek asylum in any country that does not consider double cheeseburgers a felony. Not that anyone's taking the trans fat ban too hard; even the California Restaurant Association didn't put up much of a fight. Apparently, donuts fried in canola oil are just as tasty as their slightly more lethal counterparts fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening, customers seem to like the idea of trans fat-free food, and making the transition to non-hydrogenated alternatives provides a great excuse to jack up prices...And when these measures don't really have much impact on public health, what next? It's probably best to think of trans fat bans and fast-food moratoriums as appetizers, small portions of government waistline engineering designed to get us used to even more proscriptive preemptive strikes against obesity and other health issues. And indeed, who can blame government officials for thinking this way? As we continue to normalize the idea that unlimited health care is something the government owes us, why shouldn't the government demand more compliance from us in exchange for the care it renders?"

White Americans Will Be Minority by 2042
The AP reports, "White people will no longer make up a majority of Americans by 2042." Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum writes that minorities are already the majority. And in a new Bloggingheads.tv immigration debate, Reason Foundation Policy Analyst Shikha Dalmia and Mark Krikorian, author of The New Case Against Immigration, discuss whether or not "America is still built to receive those huddled masses" and Bloggingheads says, "Shikha strikes at the immigrant welfare-queen stereotype."



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