Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A footnote worth sharing

Came across this classic footnote while reading the late Robert Nozick's Philosophical Explanations.

There is a story told that Martin Buber once spoke to a group of Christians saying something like the following: We Jews and you Christians hold many beliefs in common. Both of us believe the messiah will come. You Christians believe he has been there before, so that he will be coming for a second time, while we Jews believe he will be coming from the first time. For the foreseeable future, there is much we can cooperate together on -- and when the messiah does come, then we can ask him whether he's been here before.

There is only one thing to add to Buber's remarks. I would like to advise the messiah, when he comes and is asked the question whether he's been here before or not, to reply that he doesn't remember.

Robert Nozick, PHILOSOPHICAL EXPLANATIONS (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981):597.

Worthy of your time; A few readings in economics

The Beige Book is out from the Federal Reserve.

Plenty of good material from the most recent issue of the eminently readable Journal of Economic Perspectives.

"The Macroeconomist as Scientist and Engineer" by Greg Mankiw is a good survey.

Also a must-read is a pretty tough critique of residential recycling by Thomas C. Kinnaman.

And a very scholarly look at "What Has Mattered to Economics Since 1970" in which the authors E. Han Kim, Adair Morse and Luigi Zingales compile a very impressive list of the most cited journal articles in the field.

Meanwhile over at Cato, I had the opportunity to spend a train ride home reading Sallie James's new policy brief, "Milking the Customers: The High Cost of U.S. Dairy Policies." The paper confirms what every free trader knows U.S price supports and other farm subsidies are a crime against the poor.

The new Cato Journal has two great articles (scroll halfway down). William Niskanen casts doubt on Milton Friedman's "starve the beast approach" to limiting Leviathan (government)while Jerry H. Tempelman is less pessimistic. Niskanen also has a review of James Buchanan's new book, Why I, Too, Am Not a Conservative: The Normative Vision of Classical Liberalism.

And who knew? Naples as a fashion capital! Michael Ledeen reports.

Jim Webb is one tough cookie for Bush and maybe the Democrats

Those boots James Webb was heralding at this victory speech are made for stomping -- on Bush and perhaps on his fellow Democrats. A loose cannon?

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress,
Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.
"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Webb was narrowly elected to the U.S. Senate this month with a brash, unpolished style that helped win over independent voters in Virginia and earned him support from national party leaders. Now, his Democratic colleagues in the Senate are getting a close-up view of the former boxer, military officer and Republican who is joining their ranks.

If the exchange with Bush two weeks ago is any indication, Webb won't be a wallflower, especially when it comes to the war in Iraq. And he won't stick to a script drafted by top Democrats.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The decline of the NH Advantage?

Judging by this month's election results, I say New Hampshire is doomed. The state legislature went Blue as in Democratic and in a very big way. Sure there's the libertarian, small government streak. But far too many Massachusetts residents are moving there and signs point to the fact that sooner than later they will erode the Yankee individualism that has long made NH the Orange County of the Northeast. And yes those property taxes.

The state went for Kerry in 2004 and threw out its two Republican congressmen -- in favor of left-wing Democrats. Happy days are here again for the levellers, the pro-taxers. I say NH gets a broadbased tax within those two years to pay for all those services that Massachusetts exiles are pining for. Here's the Union Leader with an opposing view:

How much of the Republican debacle at the New Hampshire polls this month was due to the national mood and how much was due to more local factors remains debatable. But the oft-repeated line that we are turning Democratic because of the influx of people from Massachusetts is just bunk.

We have long thought that some of the strongest believers in small government and low taxes and spending were the people who have fled to New Hampshire from the Bay State because they want to lead their own lives without Big Governmen's "help."

A University of New Hampshire Survey Center study this month seems to confirm this.

"People moving here from Massachusetts are the only reason that New Hampshire is staying as Republican as it is" says Andy Smith, head of the survey center.

Traditional Republican voters, the survey said, include the very kind of small-business owners and working-class people who have fled Massachusetts and settled mainly right across the border in Salem, Windham and other towns.

In fact, all 13 state representatives elected from Salem and Windham this month were Republican, quite a contrast to the results elsewhere, which have resulted in the first Democrat-controlled House in modern times.

The bad news, of course, is that if Republican office holders and party leaders don't practice as well as preach the small-government, low-tax philosophy that has made New Hampshire what it is, they will lose the votes of even the most stalwart of the party faithful.

The good news is that with the big-spending Democrats in Massachusetts having just elected a governor to go with their one-party Legislature, we can expect more and more refugees in the years ahead.

Bunk? The estimable Union Leader is living is a state of denial. I'll give the Union Leader less than two years to prove me wrong.

Shameless Joe K

Joe Kennedy plays nice with Hugo Chavez, because even as he ruins Venezuela, Little Castro is helping the poor. What a joke!

Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez is an ally of the Iranian mullahs, a supporter of North Korea, a close friend of Fidel Castro and a good customer for Vladimir Putin's weapon factories. Now he's also a business partner of Joseph P. Kennedy II.

The former Democratic Congressman describes the deal he's cooked up with Mr. Chávez as charity for low-income consumers of heating oil. But it's worth asking what the price of this largesse is to Venezuelans and to U.S. security interests.

The arrangement is this: Mr. Chávez's Citgo--a Houston-based oil company owned by the Venezuelan government--is supplying home heating oil to Mr. Kennedy's Citizens Energy Corporation at a 40% discount. Citizens, a nonprofit outfit, says it passes the savings onto the poor, aiming to help 400,000 homes in 16 states that would otherwise have trouble heating their homes. In the process, Mr. Kennedy happens to get a high-profile publicity plug. If you think you qualify, says the television ad that drew our attention to to this partnership, just dial 1-877-Joe-4-Oil.



Then there's the classic Kennedy response



We dialed Joe-4-Oil ourselves to ask directly whether it is also "righteous" to assist an anti-American tyrant at the expense of the Venezuelan people. In between berating our reporter for daring to ask such a thing, Mr. Kennedy said that Mr. Chávez has done "so much more" for the poor than any previous government. As for democracy, he said there was "ample room for improvement in the ways that people get elected in Venezuela as well as in Florida." Mr. Chávez chose his partner well.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It's not their fault they can't add, they're liberals!

Mark Steyn demonstrates once again why liberals can't do the mathematics required to analyze the demographic timebomb occuring under their eyes. The fact is known to everyone else save for Liberals that the "progressives" aren't having kids. One wonders whether they tell themselves they'll convert the offspring of reactionaries. There's not much to hang with this strategy. The groups in the U.S. which is wise to avoid population control fantaticism are Mormons, Baptists and Hispanic Christians. Not atheists, not secular humanists, and not gays (most of whom appear not to be interested notwithstanding the bias against gay child rearing.)

On the other hand, conservatives, some though not all, have faith in the future. Wasn't it the socialist Carl Sandburg (when socialists once had rationality) that said that children are God's way of saying that life must go on? Today's neo-socialists, American post modern liberals can't be bothered with having children despite the wisdom of a socialist sage like Sandburg. Why? because the the Gaia cult invariably linked to Al Gore and other specimens, children aren't resources; they're a drain on mother earth. What a pity?

Consider the following from Steyn's latest.

...the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, [is] the first woman to run a national division of the Anglican Communion. Bishop Kate gave an interview to the New York Times revealing what passes for orthodoxy in this most flexible of faiths. She was asked a simple enough question: "How many members of the Episcopal Church are there?"

"About 2.2 million," replied the presiding bishop. "It used to be larger percentage-wise, but Episcopalians tend to be better educated and tend to reproduce at lower
rates than other denominations."

This was a bit of a jaw-dropper even for a New York Times hackette, so, with vague memories of God saying something about going forth and multiplying floating around the back of her head, a bewildered Deborah Solomon said: "Episcopalians aren't interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?" "No," agreed Bishop Kate. "It's probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion."


It wouldn't be so sad if the Bishop didn't pull out that old chesnut of liberal snobbery. To paraphrase "We don't have kids because we are so much smarter than than breeders." There is something to be said for the natural kind of population control that comes with economic development. But I suspect the fair Bishop isn't interested in the verities of economic growth. Ensuring the scarcity of children is what's on betrays her lack of economic sense. . The problem is that others less hospitable to ecumenical nonsense about environmental stewardship aren't buying in. The Islamisicts they may not be fruitful by Western standards but they multiply and sometimes they pose a problem to liberal democracies that don't replenish themselves. See Old Europe.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Let's see how the Pelosi-Murtha-Kerry worldview deals with Syria and Iran

Are the U.S. and Israel -- Baker, Condi and Olmert -- all in a state of denial. Do the Syrian-backed assasins win again in Lebanon. Kiss goodbye to visions of democracy in the Middle East.
This is required reading. What will Pelosi and the Pullout crowd do?

Friday, November 24, 2006

What I'm listening to at the moment


Shostakovich, Dmitri

Symphonies 5 & 9, Op. 47 & Op. 70
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ladislav Slovak
on Naxos

Very nice.

An afterthought: Why am I playing one of the greatest Russian composers of all time? Perhaps this has something to do with it? Stalin, the devil who haunted Shostakovich, apparently has nothing on V. Putin.

Barack Obama, protectionist hack

Via Cafe Hayek
In the hot-off-the-press New Yorker (Nov. 27th issue), James Surowiecki nicely explains how politics prevents the use of economically and environmentally sound approaches to supplying fuel for Americans'automobiles.

To make a long story short, the political power of U.S. sugar farmers -- power that greedily burdens American consumers with policies that restrict the importation of sugar -- keeps the price of sugar in the U.S. so high that making ethanol from sugar is prohibitively expensive. And this result, according to Surowiecki, is unfortunate: "ethanol distilled from sugarcane is much cheaper to produce and generates far more energy per unit of input?eight times more, by most estimates?than corn does." But Uncle Sam's protection of sugar growers from foreign competition (along with some nefarious doings of the corn-growers' lobby) artificially makes producing ethanol from corn more attractive than producing ethanol from sugar cane.
Among those who voted to protect American agribusiness, the "sainted" Barack Obama. One must prepare oneself for the Iowa caucuses, we supposed. But Obama is among those people who instinctively believe that markets don't work. Well they don't when the dead hand of producers and complicit government stands in the way.

Hardly solid state radio: Is Red State WRKO going to turn Blue State?

I'm not the only one who thinks that WRKO management is reading recent election results in our beloved Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

A thought about Thanksgiving Day

You can't beat an Italian Thanksgiving in East Boston.

The sad part is that some people don't even have an idea of what it's like. Nor would they because they are subsumed with white guilt. Like this hyperliberal teacher who pisses on American history.

LONG BEACH, California (AP) -- Teacher Bill Morgan walks into his third-grade class wearing a black Pilgrim hat made of construction paper and begins snatching up pencils, backpacks and glue sticks from his pupils. He tells them the items now belong to him because he "discovered" them.

The reaction is exactly what Morgan expects: The kids get angry and want their things back.

Morgan is among elementary school teachers who have ditched the traditional Thanksgiving lesson, in which children dress up like Indians and Pilgrims and act out a romanticized version of their first meetings.

He has replaced it with a more realistic look at the complex relationship between Indians and white settlers.

Morgan said he still wants his pupils at Cleveland Elementary School in San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving. But "what I am trying to portray is a different point of view."

Others see Morgan and teachers like him as too extreme.

"I think that is very sad," said Janice Shaw Crouse, a former college dean and public high school teacher and now a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, a conservative organization. "He is teaching his students to hate their country. That is a very distorted view of history, a distorted view of Thanksgiving."

Even American Indians are divided on how to approach a holiday that some believe symbolizes the start of a hostile takeover of their lands.

Chuck Narcho, a member of the Maricopa and Tohono O'odham tribes who works as a substitute teacher in Los Angeles, said younger children should not be burdened with all the gory details of American history.

"If you are going to teach, you need to keep it positive," he said. "They can learn about the truths when they grow up. Caring, sharing and giving -- that is what was originally intended."

Adam McMullin, a member of the Seminole tribe of Oklahoma and a spokesman for the National Congress of American Indians, said schoolchildren should get an accurate historical account.

"You can't just throw an Indian costume on a child," he said. "That stuff is not taken lightly. That's where educators need to be very careful."

Becky Wyatt, a teacher at Kettering Elementary School in Long Beach, decided to alter the costumes for the annual Thanksgiving play a few years ago after local Indians spoke out against students wearing feathers, which are sacred in their culture. Now children wear simple headbands.

The "different point of view" is not without its own shortcomings. But Jules Crittendon has a better piece over at his blog. (Heaven help us if we Boston newspaper readers ever lose him!)

Some people like to see the Indians as a peace-loving, yet warrior-chic people who lived in wise harmony with nature and each other. But they had been doing the same thing to each other ever since, archaeological finds such as Kennewick man now suggest, they crossed from Asia and overwhelmed the physically distinct Eurasian aboriginal inhabitants of North America about 7,000 B.C.

Iroquois, Sioux, Navajo, Comanche, Aztecs, Incas, death cult societies of the pre-Columbian southwest, all warred on their neighbors and if they were strong enough, attempted to subjugate them. Often with unspeakable savagery, on a par with any Catho vs. Prot 30 Years War atrocities. This is because we are human, and this is what humans do. As Jared Diamond has posited in his book, "Guns, Germs and Steel," the significant difference from one group of humans to another, the reason why we're speaking English here and not Wampanoag in England, has largely been one of resources and opportunity. For reasons too numerous to mention here, our boats were bigger than their canoes. Our guns were better than their bows and arrows. Our diseases were worse than theirs were.

It is only within the last few centuries, primarily and ironically enough within the bloody, widely disparaged crucible of ideals that is America, that we have slowly and painfully tried to break with that past and become a higher people. We've tried to become a people that, growing out of ancient hatreds in Europe and violence here in America, have absorbed elements of all those histories and become something distinct from them. A people who acknowledge the misdeeds of the past and try to correct them. A people dedicated to universal justice and prosperity and always striving for them. A people moving forward.

Within that context, victimhood is a trap, every bit as vile and destructive as the trap of subjugating others that we now reject. They are traps that ensnare us in the terrible past. Whatever we might have come from, we are the survivors now, who hopefully have moved beyond that. And for that, today, we should be thankful.

Friedman on the fad of "corporate social responsibility"

When the college kid collecting money for Ralph Nader's latest effort starts carping about the "social responsibility of corporations," reach for your intellectual ammunition. Milton Friedman debunked the notion that a corporate has any "social responsibility" long ago on the grounds that the entity had an obligation first to its shareholders, the private property owners who lend capital and other resources and thus make the corporation viable. Straying away from that sole, primary obligation is an invitation to trouble and muddled thinking.

Corporations exist to make profits which indirectly benefit the public interest by providing goods and services and yes, good jobs at good wages. It's not the job of corporations (even though CEOs spout pithy commitments to CS) to do anything except to secure the faith of its owners, which incidently may be a number of obnoxious non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The esteemed Henry Manne says it better.

Now I realize (I should have known) he was absolutely correct about the significance of proposals for socially responsible corporate behavior, whether they emanated from within or outside the corporation. These proposals reflect, as well as anything else happening today, the inability of many commentators to distinguish between private and public property--in other words, between a free enterprise system and socialism. Somehow large-scale business success, usually resulting in a publicly held company, seems mysteriously to transform the nature of numerous individuals' private investments into assets affected with a public interest. And once these corporate behemoths are "affected with a public interest," they must either be regulated by the state or they must act as though they are owned by the public, and are therefore inferentially a part of the state. This attitude is reflected not merely by corporate activists, but by many "modern" corporate managers.

An integral part of the older notion of public utility regulation required that the enterprise be, or act like, a monopoly (whether "natural" or not), in order to be affected with a public interest. But in today's confusion, there is no such equirement. No arguments, weak as they are, about natural monopoly, market failure, government creation of corporations or the alleged government gifts of limited liability and perpetual existence, are required to justify the demands now regularly placed on business entities.

Any large enterprise, no matter how competitive its industry and no matter how
successfully it is fulfilling the public's desires, has a social responsibility--a term that makes mockery of the idea of individual responsibility--to use part of its resources for "public" endeavors. Today's favorite causes are environmental protection, employee health, sales of goods at below-market prices, weather modification, community development, private enforcement of (not merely abiding by) government regulations and support of cultural, educational and medical facilities.
How did this transposition from private to public responsibility come about? After all, even the largest corporation started simply as an idea in someone's head. At first this person hires employees, borrows capital or sells equity, produces goods or service and markets a product. Nothing about any of these purely private and benign arrangements suggests a public interest in the outcome. But then the business begins to grow, family stock holdings become more diffused, additional capital is required and, voilà, another publicly held corporation. In other words,
another American success story.




"Corporate social responsibility" is another excuse for letting the camel's nose in the tent. It is nothing more than a power grab by advocates of big government.

More on Milton Friedman

When a foul-smelling, stuck-on stupid-leftist starts ranting about Friedman's advice to Chile under Pinochet consider the following and consider how small all of them are for even uttering John K. Galbraith in the same sentence as the Wunderkind from the University of Chicago.

Fortunately for Friedman-haters, Friedman tainted himself by traveling to Chile and meeting with General Pinochet, the most hated military dictator in the western hemisphere. The Left used Friedman?s visit to Chile to brand him as a fascist, an accusation that was widely disseminated among universities around the world and which resulted in protests and disruptions at his Nobel award ceremony. This sentiment is alive and well today ? The Democratic Underground's discussion of Friedman?s death includes comments such as "Memo to Pinochet ? Your buddy just went to hell and is waiting for you" among its less vulgar sentiments.

When I entered Harvard in 1979, it was commonplace in most circles to refer to Friedman as evil without debate, reflection, or justification.

Now, of course, Chile has a democratic government, the strongest economy in Latin America, and a surging middle class ? all legacies of Friedman?s influence. More relevant to the claim that Friedman was tainted through his one conversation with Pinochet is the fact that he later went to China and gave very much the same advice to Chinese leaders as he had given to Chilean leaders ? and no one even remarked upon the trip, despite the fact that the repression practiced by the Chinese government makes Pinochet look like an amateur.

Friedman was, in fact, critical of the Pinochet regime and clearly stated that his goal was to alleviate human suffering based on economic dysfunction, which he did so superbly. By contrast, J. K. Galbraith visited Mao?s China and praised Mao and the Chinese economic system, which had caused incomparable misery.

Focus on this: Friedman is tainted by one conversation with a dictator, whom he openly criticized, and the advice he provides ultimately brings great benefits to the people. Galbraith is not tainted by praising one of the most ruthless tyrants in human history, after disseminating his own advice, which has brought poverty to every developing nation which followed it.

By any reasonable human rights standard, Galbraith?s praise of China should be regarded with the loathing still associated in some circles of Friedman, whereas Friedman?s support of successful economic policies in Chile should be regarded as far-sighted and heroic. But we must await another generation of historians to write justly and honestly about the 20th century before that is likely to happen.

Friedman?s long-standing recognition of the economic policies that enriched Hong Kong, combined with his direct policy proposals to Chinese leaders, contributed to the spread of Hong Kong-like special economic zones across eastern China, which are now bringing a million people a month out of poverty. At current rates of economic growth, China is expected to reach a U.S. standard of living in 2030. India, after a shift from Galbraithian policies in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, began to embrace free market reforms in the 80s and 90s. At recent rates of economic growth they will reach a U.S. standard of living in 2050. If China and India had both followed Friedmanite policies in 1947, it is likely that each nation would be as wealthy as Hong Kong, which has a higher per capita GDP than Britain. (See Bill Easterly's article in this year's Fraser Institute Report on Economic Freedom for evidence on the correlation between economic freedom and per capita GDP).

Tens of thousands of NGOs devote millions of hours and billions of dollars in the effort to alleviate poverty, empower women, reduce child prostitution, and reduce violent conflict. If every scholar at every university had promoted Friedmanite policies throughout the 20th century, most of this work would be unnecessary. Poverty in the developed world exists, but it is a ?poverty? which often includes televisions, cell phones, refrigerators, air conditioning, and obesity. There are billions of truly poor people who would risk death by crossing deserts or oceans in order to achieve this kind of poverty...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A note on Thanksgiving and Lincoln and such

Professor Gelernter on the national holiday and what it meant to Lincoln.

Lincoln's devoutness grew throughout his life; when he spoke of God, he never spoke pro forma. In his message proclaiming that November 1864 Thanksgiving, he said that the Lord "has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war." And he prayed for the "blessings of Peace, Union and Harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations."

The Biblical language is typical of Lincoln. Like many Puritan-minded Americans, he thought of his country as a new promised land.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated annually ever since. But the day of thanksgiving Lincoln proposed in his last public speech that final April of his life was a bonus, over and above the annual observance.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Viva Bush 41

He's got guts. Notice how they have "free speech" in Saudi Arabia when they want to criticize the United States. Give Bush 41 credit, he's got guts in hostile territory.

The oil-rich Persian Gulf used to be safe territory for former President Bush, who brought Arab leaders together in a coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's troops from Kuwait in 1991. But gratitude for the elder Bush, who served as president from 1989-93, was overshadowed at the conference by hostility toward his son, whose invasion of Iraq and support for Israel are deeply unpopular in the region.

"We do not respect your son. We do not respect what he's doing all over the world," a woman in the audience bluntly told Bush after his speech.

Bush, 82, appeared stunned as others in the audience whooped and whistled in approval.

A college student told Bush his belief that U.S. wars were aimed at opening markets for American companies and said globalization was contrived for America's benefit at the expense of the rest of the world. Bush was having none of it.

"I think that's weird and it's nuts," Bush said. "To suggest that everything we do is because we're hungry for money, I think that's crazy. I think you need to go back to school."

The hostile comments came during a quesion-and-answer session after Bush finished a folksy address on leadership by telling the audience how deeply hurt he feels when his presidential son is criticized.

"This son is not going to back away," Bush said, his voice quivering. "He's not going to change his view because some poll says this or some poll says that, or some heartfelt comments from the lady who feels deeply in her heart about something. You can't be president of the United States and conduct yourself if you're going to cut and run. This is going to work out in Iraq. I understand the anxiety. It's not easy."

Monday, November 20, 2006

The great economics writer on the great economist

Robert Samuelson weighs in on the passing of Milton Friedman

Above all, Friedman believed in the power of ideas. Some of his were wrong. He thought cutting taxes would restrain government spending ("starve the beast''); it didn't. His faith in "privatization" for the old Soviet Union was overdone. He wanted the Fed to limit growth of the money supply; unfortunately, the money supply proved hard to define. But these are footnotes. For decades, Friedman cheerfully and relentlessly pushed his main ideas, although they were outside the political and intellectual mainstream. From 1966 to 1984, he wrote a column for Newsweek. With his wife, Rose, he became a best-selling author ("Free to Choose," in 1980, a pro-market manifesto). Time was on their side. Competing ideas proved unworkable, inferior or wrong. Friedman never joined the mainstream, but the mainstream joined him.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

This is a very bad move

It's not good business to tick off the WRKO faithful.
"Entercom's WRKO AM 680 which sacked its news department yesterday will now be getting its local news/weather/sports updates from Metro/Shadow Broadcasting group which already provides traffic reports on the Talk Station. The station will also run national Fox News Radio alerts at the top of the hour."
" To say WRKO will be better off without a news department while it "beefs up" its talk programming is an insult to its already-furious listenership. The Red Sox surely must now be wondering how they could have become burdened with such a profoundly troubled and disorganized station. Newspapers and television stations are having a field day reporting on WRKO's daily disasters. It's an early holiday gift for WTKK."
For more check out one of the most under-rated local newsblogs, Boston Radio Watch.

It's never a socialist's fault, Bernie Sanders blames outsourcing

A socialist never has to look far to blame capitalism for economic woes. Take Bernie Sanders, VT's socialist Senator. Bernie thinks that job losses in Vermont are the results of Republican economic policies. One could easily point to the fact that under Bernie and his ilk, Vermont has hardly been business friendly.

From Vermont Woodchuck:

Bernie holds himself blameless for Vermont?s regressive attitude toward business. He and his Progressive Party have been driving companies out of Vermont by confiscatory tax policies. More simply stated, his belief is that companies exist to loot for social engineering objectives.

An iconoclastic view on AIDS in Africa

Sure to stir controversy.

I've studied the epidemic from that perspective. I'm one of the few people who have done so. And I've learned that a lot of what we've been told about it is wrong. Read more here.

The banshee screams betrayal in Cambridge

This must be a revolting betrayal for the Sandanista crowd in Cambridge, MA. Danny Ortega is Brutus.
Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos has signed into law a ban on all abortions, even in cases when a woman's life is judged to be at risk. Previous legislation from a century ago allowed an abortion if three doctors certified that the woman was in danger.

Abortion was a central issue for November's presidential election in mainly Roman Catholic Nicaragua. President-elect Daniel Ortega once favoured abortion rights but changed stance after re-embracing Catholicism.

Mr Bolanos signed the law in the presence of Roman Catholic bishops and Protestant evangelist leaders. Maternal deaths The new legislation would help protect the right to life enshrined in the Nicaraguan constitution, a statement on the presidency's website said.

The law abolished abortion rights "which allowed the daily execution of innocent children in their mother's womb, in open violation of the Constitution which protected the unborn child", the statement said.

So much for transparency

The proposed Dutch rule may be heavy-handed but what's outrageous is the reaction to a move afoot to ban the burqa in public. How does Morrocco handle freedom of religion? What can Islamicists tell us about freedom of religion?

Dutch Muslims have hit out at a proposed government ban of face veils, saying it was over the top, ill-conceived and infringed religious rights. On Friday the Dutch cabinet said it was proposing a bill banning clothing that covers the face in public, targeting in particular Muslim woman wearing the burqa or niqab.

The burqa is an Islamic veil covering the entire face and body and a mesh screen to see through, while the niqab is a veil covering the face but leaving the eye area clear. The garments are worn by a few dozen women in the Netherlands. Rita Verdonk, minister of immigration and integration, said the bill proposed a ban on the basis that covering the face constituted a risk to public order and safety.

The ban would be imposed in public and "semi-public" places such as schools, courts, ministries and trains, her spokesman Martin Bruinsma told AFP.

"In this country, we want to be able to see each other. The ban is a question of security," daily De Telegraaf quoted on Saturday the minister as saying. But representatives of the country's Muslim population were unimpressed. "They are going to have to find a better argument than security. It is an infringement on the freedom of religion," said Ahmed Markouch, a Moroccan mosques representative.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Student on mentor, Sowell on Friedman

Tom Sowell on his mentor:

As one of those privileged to have studied under Friedman, I felt a special loss at his death but also a sense of good fortune to have learned from him, not only when I was at the University of Chicago but also in the years and decades since then. He was a tough, no-nonsense teacher in the classroom but a kind and generous human being outside.

Students were not allowed to walk into his classroom after his lecture had begun, distracting others. Once, I arrived at the door just minutes after Friedman began speaking and had to turn around and go back to the dormitory, wondering all the while whether what he taught that day would be on the next exam. After that, I was always in my seat when Friedman entered the classroom. He was also a tough grader. On one exam, there were only two B?s in the whole class--and no A?s.

The other side of Friedman was his generosity with his time to help students, and even former students. In later years, long after I had left the University of Chicago, he helped me with his criticisms and advice on my work--only when asked. When I was offered an appointment to the Federal Trade Commission in 1976, he was asked by the White House to urge me to accept but he declined to do so. It was the best non-advice I ever got. I would have been miserable at the FTC.

Although in recent years we were both members of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, we each lived miles away and neither of us was physically present there with any great frequency, so the chance that we would both be there on the same day was virtually nil. The last time I saw Friedman in person was in 2004, when we were jointly interviewed on television. Afterwards, he gave me a ride in his little sports car over to the Stanford faculty club, where we joined a group for lunch. Then he drove back to his home in San Francisco, 30 miles away, though he was at the time in his 90s.

More recently, I happened to chat briefly with Friedman on the phone a few days before his death, and found his mind to be as clear and sharp as ever. That will always be a special memory of a very special man, one of the giants of our time--intellectually, morally, and as a human being.

Do as I say not as I do, Bono with other people's money

Herald-Sun of Australia: "Bono demands more of the taxes he won't pay."

And a commentator on the site has this to add:

Habib from Tim Blairs site told a story about Bono last week which was something like:

U2 were doing there thing at a concert and after one song the stage went quite, the venue went quite, and a sole light shone on Bono. He started to do slow single claps.

CLAP!, CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!
And as he was doing this he said in his pompous, pious way, ?Every time
I clap, a child dies in Africa?

And some wag calls out in the otherwise silent arena, ?Well why don?t you f*cKing stop doing it then?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

One of the great minds of the 20th century has passed away. RIP Milton Friedman

A man who proved that free market ideas can change the world, Milton Friedman has passed away at the age of 94. Marginal Revolution has a few brief thoughts on Friedman's influence.
He was one of the most important minds of the second half of the twentieth century and his influence remains felt all around the world. In purely academic terms, he easily could have won two or three Nobel Prizes from the quality and quantity of his work.

Nicely said.

More here.

The Financial Times story is here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Will they succumb to the power in D.C.?

Let's hope the newly elected Democrats, a sizeable number from red states, don't come down with the Potomac pandemic of powerlust.
As they headed to Washington for their orientation, many of the incoming freshmen still spoke like outsiders. Tim Walz, a Minnesota teacher, retired National Guardsman and newly elected Democrat, described himself as ?a farm state Democrat-soldier who?s concerned about the environment and civil liberties.?

He has seen how ugly the partisanship can get in American politics, Mr. Walz said, and is adamant about changing it. ?I?m convinced that what we need to do is heal,? he said. ?Tuesday was not a Democratic referendum; it was an American referendum. It?s not that the American people are so enamored with the Democratic vision, but what they believed is what we said about cleaning up corruption, having some real open debate. It just seems so broken.?

Bargain shopping turned up this gem, RELAYER by YES


Yes I am a progressive rock geek. And browsing the used CDs at WebHead in Wakefield, MA, I came up with this prize for $5.00 (Don't you just love a bargain). I had the vinyl version in 1974 when I weighed less and had more hair.

This is a great album dominated by guitarist Steve Howe, who is a montster player and I dare anyone to say he's not one of the top ten rock guitarists in the world.

Progarchives has reviews of Relayer.

This sums it up


Need I say more?

Walter Williams explains basic economics

I might be embarrassed to explain common economics to people who believe things should be "free" but I'll let Walter Williams explain it for the great unwashed.

"...Politicians talk about "free education," "free medicine" or "free housing," but that's nonsense. Resources are required to produce each of them. Of course, some people received these goods at a zero price, but that doesn't mean they didn't cost someone, usually a taxpayer, something.


Now as the to the minimum wage, another mythological free lunch. Liberals hope that by raising the minimum wage we won't hear the tree drop in the forest. That the natural labor market distortion will be lost in the noise of economic growth. This is good example of busting that myth.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Less government, less services, less taxes

The Club for Growth presents some telling information that's worth debating. Did the voters repeal conservatism or status quo Republicans?

Q: All other things being equal, which type of candidate for Congress would you
be more likely to vote for? A candidate who wants to reduce overall federal
spending, even if that includes cutting some money that would come to your
district; or, a candidate who is willing to increase overall spending on federal
programs and grow the federal budget, in order to get more federal spending and
projects for your district?

A: Cut spending 57.3%
Bring home projects 27.6%
Don't know/Refused 15.1%

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jesus and the capital gains tax chain

Jesus did love the tax collectors, did he not? What would Jesus do about high capital gains tax rates? Jerry Bowyer explains.

How times have changed. Keeping the Bible out of public policy was the left's line in the 1980s. Now they've switched to trying to get a 25% marginal tax rate on long-term capital gains out of St. Luke.

It's not so far fetched as might seem at first. Jesus, in fact, did speak about capital gains. He told a story about three stewards. One achieved high capital gains on the owner's investments. The other also did well. The third one, failed to achieve any capital appreciation at all and was fired.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

New Hampshire will be Blue

What do you get when you set out to make New Hampshire a libertarian "Free State?" You help turn it into a Blue State.

Results as of 10:28 via Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/youdecide2006/races.html?NH

Paul Hodes
Democrat
82,696 (53%)

Charles Bass (i)
Republican
70,857 (45%)

Ken Blevens
Libertarian
2,908 (2%)

Similiar thoughts here.

How to argue with liberals, leftists and moonbats obsessed with Halliburton

This is a brilliant polemic and tract on how to argue with moonbats if you are cornered. And chances are if you live in Massachusetts the opportunities are not in short supply.

The segment on Bush's intelligence and courage should drive the likes of Michael Moore and his ilk nuts.

Mr. Whittle disposes once and for all the "Chickenhawk"canard.

As he pulls his foot from his mouth, John Kerry, yes the slacker Yale student, would be wise to read it.

So the next time a maggot screams "NO WAR FOR OIL", keep Mr. Whittle's advice in hand.

Good stuff. Too bad it's ignored by the BushHitler crowd.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Take note of more liberal hypocrisy

Remember when liberals mix religion and politics it's OK. It's not a problem for the Boston Globe. There aren't quotes from civil liberatarians and leftists worried about the influence of organized religion on the political process. And there's particularly no worry about church leaders collaborating with political leaders particularly if they are not Mormon or evangelical. If church leaders open their doors two days before an election to a get-out-the vote campaign geared for the Democrat candidate for Governor, well that's just fine. I can't say I'm surprised by the slated coverage.

Angry that illegal immigrants were targeted in the gubernatorial campaign, immigrants are mobilizing at unprecedented levels for next week's election, say those who work with them.

Community groups say they are signing up growing numbers of immigrants, both citizens and noncitizens, to help register neighbors and encourage them to go to the polls. Dozens of voter mobilization efforts have kicked into gear across the state.

It is difficult to say what impact the effort will have Tuesday. But those who work closely with immigrant communities say they have never seen this level of engagement.

In large part, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey's high-profile opposition to benefits for illegal immigrants appears to be driving the new activity.

The fervor crosses party lines and economic classes. "This has grabbed the attention of many people who otherwise would have been more politically apathetic," said Alberto Vasallo III, editor in chief of the Spanish-language weekly El Mundo in Jamaica Plain. "It has upset an extraordinary number of moderate leaders in the community."

Tomorrow, volunteers with Nuestra Voz Cuenta (Our Voice Counts) will speak at Holy Redeemer Church in East Boston after each Mass to remind the mostly Latino congregation to vote. The volunteers, both citizens and noncitizens, will also put reminders that look like parking tickets on car windshields, hand out leaflets in Maverick Square, and knock on doors to identify voters who might need help getting to the polls.

Take a peek an see how the liberal Boston Globe conflates opposition to illegal immigration with general opposition to immigration. They clearly seek to obfuscate the issue.

I have long maintained that two institutions benefit from illegal immigration, the Demcoratic Party and the Roman Catholic Church. Neither of which consider the long-term need to take action against illegal immigration nor do they seek to culturally assimilate legal immigrants nor the cost to taxpayers. Moreover, as the Catholic Church finds itself in direct competition with more evangelical Hispanic congregations, the need to pander to illegal immigrants intensifies. It's not like the early 20th Century when most of the Italian immigrants were Catholic; today they are likely not to be Catholic. One only look at the explosion of small storefront churches or the huge battalian of Hispanic evangelicals that marched in the most recent Columbus Day parade in East Boston.

What a shame and you wonder why fewer people are going to Mass. The child abuse scandals are one reason; the indifference to squatters at Mt. Carmel Church is another.

How can we take the Catholic heirarchy seriously on gay marriage if they don't support laws against illegal immigration?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The New York Times is at it again

Of course the New York Times is biased. When the news is good for Bush look to the New York Times to find the cloud. Back when there was low unemployment in the Clinton years, the Gray Lady's reporters got caught up in the glow. With yesterday's release of the unemployment figures, the New York Times says everything's mixed. Why? Because Bush is president. Of course the Times will never go back to revise the Clinton narrative, that it was based on a high tech bubble.

I have to say that President Bush is blessed by his enemies.

Pundit Review exposes the frauds at the Times.

Good stuff.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Scotto knows his stuff

WRKO's Scott Allen Miller has a very good blog and it's lively too.