Sunday, April 26, 2009

Richard Nixon was a smart man

Former speechwriter, the very estimable William Safire reveals conversations with his former boss. Here's a gem that captures Nixonian genius.
On the domestic Clinton: "I told him [ a year ago ] I gave him credit for a bold program. A leader tells people not where they want to go, but where they ought to go. That's from Burke. Clinton reminded me that with wage and price controls, I did something bold. Yeah, but it was a mistake." Nixon reminded me: "You wrote that speech, don't forget.
To paraphrase Archie Bunker, "We could use a little Nixon again!"

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Get rich before you get green!

Economic growth provides the means for a cleaner and greener environment. That means capitalism which isn't what the Gaia crowd likes to hear.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Commentary "I.F. Stone, Soviet Agent—Case Closed"

Who knew? I.F. Stone a commie symp. Izzy was always a bit over-rated. But his book on the Trial of Socrates is still a worthwhile read despite what Sidney Hook wrote about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What no shoe-chuckers were available?

Apparently the Iraqi shoe hurler wasn't available. However at least two clowns were on hand.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Scenes from today's Boston Tea Party protest

From the Boston Common, in the neo-socialist heartland of Boston, ventured a small but serviceable anti-big-government crowd. Here are some pictures.

Via Reason: Are You a Terrorist? Take the quiz!

REASON MAG:Are You a Terrorist?. Don't peel that 2nd amendment bumper sticker off just yet.

Will MA lose a congressional seat?

I'll go out on a limb. I'll say that Massachusetts will be able to keep its 10-member delegation and avoid losing a Congressional seat. Or put it another way: MA will not lose two seats. Color me cynical but the powers-that-be will find people "here and there" perhaps with a little help from ACORN. Nonetheless this worry remains a major concern for the Massachusetts elite.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

St. Augustine's pirate may have a point!

Pot meet kettle by way of the great St. Augustine:
In the "City of God," St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, "How dare you molest the seas?" To which the pirate replied, "How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor." St. Augustine thought the pirate's answer was "elegant and excellent."
Hat tip: Marginal Revolution who, in turn, hat-tipped a succession of bloggers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A different take on the tax revolt ignited by Proposition 13

OF INTEREST: A fascinating book review about the tax revolt spurred by the passage of Proposition 13 in California in 1978 challenges the established view that the movement was strictly conservative.
These tax revolters were not driven by a belief in small government or a rejection of the welfare state. Indeed, they mobilized to defend their stake in that state.

Eventually, the California tax revolt took on a different cast, taking its leadership from conservative activists who saw the movement as a challenge to big government. Howard Jarvis and the champions of Proposition 13 did not simply seek the preservation of an informal tax preference, but the hobbling of state government. And when the initiative passed, conservatives across the nation used it to reshape tax revolts in their own communities.

Martin's book reminds us, however, that California's tax revolt was not some sort of conservative cri de coeur, at least at the start. Much of the support for antitax ballot measures arose from less-than-conservative inclinations among the electorate. To underscore this point, Martin describes the policy alternatives -- tax rate graduation, for instance, or property classification -- that might have protected homeowners from rising tax bills without hobbling state and local government.
The book reviewed is Isaac William Martin's The Permanent Tax Revolt.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Currently Reading

John Updike's 2001 collection of poems Americana. Updike is a master of economy, the watchman with a pulsing eye be it a dry overlay at a Midwestern airport or the occasion "Upon Becoming A Senior Citizen" dated March 18, 1997. From him we learn how to describe today's very cold Easter Day bluster. "The day another grudging chill installment/ of slow spring in New England...." The slow spring is testing our patience which is as good a time to thumb through this delightful collection of poems.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The absolutely sweet Stevie Nicks and FM

Steve Nicks is telling the techonologically-driven world to stop. Computers are taking over our kids. She has a point.

Meanwhile here's a clip from the age of cassettes and vinyl, a time devoid of IPod consumption!

Hat tip: Hit&Run

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


In the age of Obama it's always useful to look to the past and to Cicero in particular.
"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
Yes the above applies to CEOs too! Nonetheless, the people never learn.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Recently Read

A small but vital treatise on reducing the technological-driven clutter, highlighting the meaningful and generating the rhythm of simplicity among the complexity that is inevitable in life.

The Ten Laws are as follows:

  • Law 1: Reduce – The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
  • Law 2: Organize – Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
  • Law 3: Time – Savings in time feel like simplicity.
  • Law 4: Learn – Knowledge makes everything simpler.
  • Law 5: Differences – Simplicity and complexity need each other.
  • Law 6: Context – What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.
  • Law 7: Emotion – More emotions are better than less.
  • Law 8: Trust – In simplicity we trust.
  • Law 9: Failure – Some things can never be made simple.
  • Law 10: The one – Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.
Highly recommended.