Thursday, 14 April 2005

Principal-agent problems

It’s probably not good when your boss reads something in the newspaper he doesn’t like:

President Bush said Thursday that he had been surprised to learn in the newspaper of his administration’s decision last week to require Americans to have passports to enter the country from Mexico or Canada by 2008. He said he had asked the State and Homeland Security Departments to look into other means of tightening border security.

I’m not at all convinced that passports are really any more secure than driver’s licenses anyway; my passport (from September 1998) doesn’t have any biometric data on it whatsoever, and neither does my 2004-vintage driver’s license. That said, I’m not sure that requiring passports will increase delays at the border—checking a passport shouldn’t take any more time than checking any other photo ID, unless for some reason the government insists on stamping the passport.


Keith Taylor has a discussion of a number of Bill Bryson’s books up at Dean’s World; like Taylor, I’m a big fan of Bryson’s writing, although I haven’t gotten around to reading a few of his more recent books yet.

Mississippi county growth rates

As James Joyner notes, the Census Bureau today released statistics on the estimated growth rates of U.S. states and counties; the nitty-gritty is at the Census Bureau website, while the fastest-growing counties are the focus of attention for many in the media. Only one Mississippi county, DeSoto County (bordering Memphis), ranked in the top-100 nationwide in growth.

To flex my R skills, I put together a map of Mississippi counties and their growth rates, reproduced below the fold.

As you might have expected, among the fastest-growing counties were the suburban counties—DeSoto County near Memphis, Rankin County and Madison County near Jackson, and the Gulf Coast counties (Harrison, Hancock, and Jackson). Absolutely stunning is the turnaround in Tunica County, the only Delta county to post a positive growth rate; it’s growing at a 9% clip. Meanwhile, the hollowing-out of the Pine Belt, much of the hill country, and most of the Delta continues apace.

Connecticut, Oregon having a gay old time

Steven Taylor notes that both houses of Connecticut’s legislature have approved civil unions bills in the past week, while James Joyner links a Reuters piece on the introduction of a same-sex civil unions bill with bipartisan support in the Oregon legislature. No word yet on when the Mississippi legislature plans to get in on this trend…

Nepotism: not just for House members any more

James Joyner has been pulling together various articles detailing which of our elected representatives have relatives on the campaign payroll. Suffice it to say that Sanders and DeLay aren’t the only ones…

Previous discussion here.