Friday, September 30, 2011

Today's Links of Interest

Alasdair Roberts, The Wikileaks Illusion. A fascinating article in the Wilson Quarterly (why have I never heard of them before?) that looks at some of the unexpected ramifications of the Wikileaks releases.

North Carolina governor Bev Purdue:

"I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that," Perdue said. "You want people who don't worry about the next election."

The comment -- which came during a discussion of the economy -- perked more than a few ears. It's unclear whether Perdue, a Democrat, is serious -- but her tone was level and she asked others to support her on the idea.  (Read her full remarks below.)

Later Tuesday afternoon, Perdue's office clarified the remarks: "Come on," said spokeswoman Chris Mackey in a statement. "Gov. Perdue was obviously using hyperbole to highlight what we can all agree is a serious problem: Washington politicians who focus on their own election instead of what’s best for the people they serve."
The End of the Blogprof, alas. Another blog I should have been reading all along, it seems, but just discovered as the shutters fell.

Here's Herman Cain's campaign website, just since he's been in the news quite a bit lately.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Today's Links of Interest

Jon Stewart and the Burden of History. This gets a bit personal for my tastes, but it's an interesting take.

Saddam: What We Now Know. As I've said before, he didn't have stockpiles of WMDs, but he had programs to develop them and he provided extensive support for terrorist organizations.

Fast and Furious: Whistle-blowers Allege Corruption, Cartel Ties:

Two former law enforcement officers allege that they cannot get anyone to investigate allegations that the Mexican drug cartels have corrupted U.S. law officers and politicians in the El Paso border region.
Your State University Doesn't Want You (it wants foreign and out of state students who pay out-of-state tuition)

Tea Party, Liberals Play Nice at Harvard (There's a Harvard Law Tea Party!)

Symposium on Deregulating the Legal Profession

The World Will Be More Crowded - With Old People

Gallup Says Americans Express Historic Negativity Toward U.S. Government. Two points of interest:

  • Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
  • 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this.

Rasmussen Reports Says Only 17% Say U.S. Government Has Consent of the Governed

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Today's Links of Interest

Walt Harrington's article, Dubya and Me, is a fascinating look at the former president and a welcome antidote to BDS.

An article on counting crowds.

An old Front Page Mag article about one FBI translator's experience on 9/11. This article is difficult to believe, but it's worth thinking about and investigating further.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hayek & Keynes

Maybe I've posted them before, but with this recent Powerline post on the two economists, I thought it would be good to put these two videos up.

and the sequel

At Powerline, Steven Hayward brings up some interesting history. Apparently the two economists were friends and admired each other's work. It's a good post with links to more interesting stuff.

Palin and Crony Capitalism, or Fascism

Sarah Palin on crony capitalism:

This icon of American industry is a company full of good employees who make some good products (and is the parent company of a huge media outlet), but GE is also a large American corporation that pays virtually no corporate income taxes despite earning worldwide profits of $14.2 billion last year, $5.1 billion of it in the United States. In fact, they claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion, meaning they received more of our hard earned tax dollars than they contributed. How is that possible? It’s because not only do they shelter their money from taxes, but they also get many tax credits, loans, government grants, and other benefits from the federal government that our smaller businesses couldn’t even imagine being able to profit from.

NYT writer Anand Giridharadas actually offers her some praise for her position. The NYT column is behind a registration wall, so I'll also link an Examiner column about the NYT column.

The Examiner columnist, Anthony Martin, calls it like it is. 'Crony capitalism' isn't any kind of capitalism at all. We need to call it by its proper name:

True capitalism stands on its own. It does not need nor seek special favors from government. In fact, when capitalism crawls into bed with big government, what you have is 'Fascism' and not capitalism.

It may be difficult to see how it is fascism. We associate fascism with government oppression, but when the government picks the winners in the economy, it also picks the losers, just like Mussolini picked the winners and losers. If you aren't in the right political crowd, in the politically-picked 'winners,' you are relegated to be a 'loser' and are oppressed by 'crony capitalism,' by fascism.

What is the Tea Party?

Two articles about what the Tea Party actually is.

Dan Balz writes in the Washington Post, What the tea party is -- and isn't. Balz reports on a set of papers on the Tea Party delivered at the recent American Political Science Association conference. He touches on demographics, effectiveness, the history of the Tea Party movement, and expectations for the future.

In response, Don Surber writes The Blind Men and the Tea Party, wherein he notes that a bunch of liberal poli sci profs research the Tea Party and find exactly what liberals have been saying they would find. He notes some rather obvious questions that should have been asked, but most importantly that there was no comparison with anything on the left.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Sickness in America?

Do Progressives Shame the Country on the Anniversary of 9/11?

The claim is spot on with regard to Krugman and a number of others, but I think a number of those who would call themselves progressives do not fall in behind Krugman on this.

More along these lines from Ace, analyzing Krugman and Parker:
We have never really been arguing about whether we should go to war, or whether we should hate. The only contention of these past 10 years has been whom we should go to war with, and whom we ought to hate.

The bien pensants are quite insistent that we must not hate some External Other who serves as a bogeyman exciting our darker passions.

Rather, they urge, we must direct these darker passions at an Internal Other, the vast majority of Americans who do not consider themselves a type of latter-day digital order of Jesuits.

Apparently we all have the right basic emotional take on things; some of us have just chosen the wrong bogeymen to fear and hate.
This is exactly right. I have said for years that one of the chief difference between the left and right is that the right is concerned with external enemies and the left with internal enemies.

Althouse also addresses the topic, criticizing Krugman for not allowing comments.

Mark Steyn's Let's Roll Over discusses things missing from the 9/11 commemorations.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Today's Links of Interest

Popular Mechanics: How to Make Your Own Apps reviews two pieces of app-making software, Google App Inventor for Android and GameSalad for iPhone's, iPads, etc.

Michael J. Totten reviews The Devil's Double, a movie based on the true story of Uday Hussein's body double.

Here's the trailer:

Gary S. Becker, Nobel Prize-winning economist: The Great Recession and Government Failure

Just a taste:

The origins of the financial crisis and the Great Recession are widely attributed to "market failure." This refers primarily to the bad loans and excessive risks taken on by banks in the quest to expand their profits. The "Chicago School of Economics" came under sustained attacks from the media and the academy for its analysis of the efficacy of competitive markets. Capitalism itself as a way to organize an economy was widely criticized and said to be in need of radical alteration.

Although many banks did perform poorly, government behavior also contributed to and prolonged the crisis. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates artificially low in the years leading up to the crisis. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two quasi-government institutions, used strong backing from influential members of Congress to encourage irresponsible mortgages that required little down payment, as well as low interest rates for households with poor credit and low and erratic incomes. Regulators who could have reined in banks instead became cheerleaders for the banks.

This recession might well have been a deep one even with good government policies, but "government failure" added greatly to its length and severity, including its continuation to the present.
Update - Some more links of interest:

Arthur Herman: The Ultimate Stimulus? World War Two and Economic Growth. Herman challenges the idea that WWII brought us out of the Depression, noting data that shows the increase in government spending came at the expense of private spending. Also, he points out that the economic boom of the '50s came only with a massive reduction in government spending.

Nigel Warburton on Introductions to Philosophy