Friday, April 29, 2011

MIT on MainStreets

MIT planning students have done their homework. They were all ears on how best to scope out the future for MainStreets. Next week they'll be presenting at three stakeholder meetings in East Boston.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

R.I.P. Richard Cornuelle, "prince of classical liberalism"

Peter Boettke  on the passing of a great thinker Richard Cournuelle.
In Healing America (1983) Cornuelle argued that what was required was a radical reconsideration of the scope of government responsibility.  Public policy had come to a dead end.  We had come to believe that we cannot make society habitable without making government bigger, and yet we cannot pay the cost of the bigger government without creating more problems that add to the cost of government.  A vicious cycle ensued following the Great Depression --- "Government is growing as it fails, and, to a chilling degree, it is growing because it is failing."

By the late 1960s and 1970s, the failure of government programs was recognized even by those who were entrusted with their management.  By the 1980s, the extent of the failures of the bureaucratic attempt to address the social ills of poverty had intensified.  We don't have much of a choice, Cornuelle tells us, when our policy options are humanity or solvency.  To solve the crisis we didn't need to starve the state of resources (this is not ultimately a tax and spend issue), we needed to starve the state of responsibility (it is a question of scope and fundamentally about political theory).  In other words, if we can theoretically and empirically demonstrate that the voluntary sector can outperform the state sector in the delivery of basic social services, then we can avoid the crisis of the fiscal state (and the inhumanity of bureaucratic 'solutions') and unleash the power of people and the communities they live within, and actively participate in, to tackle the social ills of poverty, unemployment, health and education.  The American Dream is of a society that is at once free, prosperous and caring.  The "good society" Cornuelle argued did not result from grand designs, but from "millions upon millions of caring acts, repeated day after day, until direct mutual action becomes second nature."
Here is his essay "New Work for Invisible Hands."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

For Easter Sunday, Patti Smith

Patti Smith - EASTER

Easter Sunday, we were walking.
Easter Sunday, we were talking.
Isabel, my little one, take my hand. Time has come.
Isabella, all is glowing.
Isabella, all is knowing.
And my heart, Isabella.
And my head, Isabella.
Frederick and Vitalie, savior dwells inside of thee.
Oh, the path leads to the sun. Brother, sister, time has come.
Isabella, all is glowing.
Isabella, all is knowing.
Isabella, we are dying.
Isabella, we are rising.
I am the spring, the holy ground,
the endless seed of mystery,
the thorn, the veil, the face of grace,
the brazen image, the thief of sleep,
the ambassador of dreams, the prince of peace.
I am the sword, the wound, the stain.
Scorned transfigured child of Cain.
I rend, I end, I return.
Again I am the salt, the bitter laugh.
I am the gas in a womb of light, the evening star,
the ball of sight that leads that sheds the tears of Christ
dying and drying as I rise tonight.
Isabella, we are rising.
Isabella, we are rising . . .

Monday, April 11, 2011

Linux turns 20

One of the great stories of human civilization and the impulse to collaborate. The "alternative" operating system that is far more pervasive than you think turns 20. Bravo.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

From 2002 Noel Gallagher performs "Wonderwall"

Noel Gallagher, rare footage.

The amazing Steve Vai

Steve Vai, "For The Love Of God" with an orchestra. Very nice.

Randy Barnett, libertarian lawyer, now arguing against Obamacare, profiled

The man who is making the case against Obamacare.
Barnett, 59, argues that the law’s requirement that almost all Americans obtain health insurance by 2014 is a government intrusion.

Such a mandate is unconstitutional, Barnett says, because the Constitution’s Commerce Clause — the underpinning of much federal regulation — does not give Congress the power to compel Americans to buy a product. In this case, the product is health insurance.

To put his view another way, Congress cannot regulate inactivity as commerce.

“Giving the Congress the power to do these mandates is essentially giving the Congress the power to take over your life,’’ he declared in an interview.
The Notes, a BlogTalkRadio program, hosted by Stephanie Davis and D.R. Tucker featured an interview with Barnett last month.

Listen to internet radio with The Notes on Blog Talk Radio
Listen to internet radio with The Notes on Blog Talk Radio