WikiLeaks – For Everyone Except Those Who Hold a Clearance

One of the ironic things about the WikiLeaks scandal is that people who hold a security clearance cannot go to or otherwise access the WikiLeaks website to view or download information contained on the site.  Here is the content of an Air Force memo to this effect that applies to all of its personnel (I think … Continue reading WikiLeaks – For Everyone Except Those Who Hold a Clearance

Iceland: Letting Die and Living High?

Guido Fawkes makes the case for letting banks fail, comparing the trajectories of two economies massively damaged by the financial crisis: Iceland and Ireland. Iceland let its banks fail, while Ireland has bailed out its banks, to massive expense: The Irish bail-out plan will cost €54,800 per Irish household. Ireland’s future thus looks a lot … Continue reading Iceland: Letting Die and Living High?

Wikileaks and Incompetence

George Orwell once noted: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” I am not certain that the release of the newest Wikileaks documents is very revolutionary, even if the times meet Orwell's description. David Rothkopf captures my general reaction in his brief column at Foreign Policy: “the 250,000 State Department … Continue reading Wikileaks and Incompetence

South Korea Should Defend Itself

So saith Doug Bandow in the American Spectator. (BTW, how far has the American Spectator come in publishing a piece like this?) Why hasn't the South put its resources to better military effect? Because it doesn't have to. So long as America offers a security guarantee, maintains a tripwire troop presence on the peninsula, and … Continue reading South Korea Should Defend Itself

Favorite Books of 2010

This was a fine year for books. I am embarrassed to admit that I read little in the way of fiction this year and what I read was quite dated (e.g., Oakley Hall, Warlock). But I have some recommendations under biography and memoirs, economics, and religion.  I am most interested in hearing what you would … Continue reading Favorite Books of 2010

Sunday Morning Quotation – Civil Peace, Brought to You by the Early (Classical) Liberals

Sunday Morning Quotation is back, this time with a quotation from Damon Linker's new book The Religious Test: Unlike so many of their predecessors and contemporaries, the first liberals treated disagreement and discord about the highest good as a given and then proposed that civil peace in a deeply divided society could best be established and … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Civil Peace, Brought to You by the Early (Classical) Liberals

Honorific Resolutions

Jonathan Adler, a very smart law professor and one of my favorite bloggers over at the Volokh Conspiracy, notes that  "Republicans may eliminate honorific resolutions (e.g. resolutions endorsing National Potato Day and National Pi Day, or honoring the 75th anniversary of Radio Shack’s listing  on the NYSE — all real examples) from Congressional business.  This would be a … Continue reading Honorific Resolutions

Climate Change vs. the Environment?

Is Margaret Wente from the Globe and Mail correct across the board here? Mercifully, nobody will pay attention to the climate conference at Cancun next week, where a much-reduced group of delegates will go through the motions. The delusional dream of global action to combat climate change is dead. Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade scheme is dead. Chicago’s … Continue reading Climate Change vs. the Environment?

Palin vs. the Media Via Obama

Making light of a person's verbal gaffes is not very generous, especially given that few of us are so skilled as to avoid them.  Moreover, the occasional verbal miscue does not seem to be all that relevant to whether one is intelligent, a good leader, etc.  (though there are some politicians out there who have made so many … Continue reading Palin vs. the Media Via Obama

Thanksgiving serious post

I am thankful for many, many things today.  But I'm feeling particularly grateful for those brave souls who have--in many places and in many times--stood up for the cause of human liberty.   So, to Patrick Henry and Rosa Parks and William Wilberforce and Liu Xiaobo and Aung San Suu Kyi and many countless others, both … Continue reading Thanksgiving serious post

Thanksgiving Fun Post

Happy Thanksgiving, readers of Pileus.  Some lighter fare mixed with a few more serious dishes. 1.  If you want to see a college football playoff system instead of the current farce BCS system, root root root for Boise State and TCU to win out, Auburn to lose to Alabama this weekend, and Oregon to lose one of … Continue reading Thanksgiving Fun Post

David Nolan – R.I.P.

I hate to bump Roger's fine Thanksgiving note down the blog before Thanksgiving, but I think we'd be remiss here at Pileus if we did not note the passing of David Nolan.  Nolan was famous for his "Nolan Chart" (see at right) and for helping found the Libertarian Party.  Although I'm not a member of … Continue reading David Nolan – R.I.P.

A Thanksgiving Message from TFAS

[Editor's Note: This is a special guest post from Roger Ream, president of The Fund for American Studies, which sponsors Pileus.]   To the Readers of Pileus, The Fund for American Studies is pleased to sponsor the Pileus blog.  I thought I would use the occasion of Thanksgiving to express my gratitude to our team … Continue reading A Thanksgiving Message from TFAS

Fit Tools?

Listening to the American citizens claiming that they don't mind the pornographic body scanners or the "enhanced" pat-downs, as long as those conducting them are from the government and as long as it's for "safety" and for "security," I am reminded of this quote from Jefferson: Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of … Continue reading Fit Tools?

The Carbon Tax and Fiscal Responsibility

I was ever so briefly at a conference on pricing carbon this weekend at Wesleyan (I was a moderator for a session). The panelists were committed to the same goal (reduced CO2 emissions) so the discussion focused on the issue of regulatory design and policy instruments. Of the competing approaches—cap-and-trade, cap-and-dividend, and a straight carbon … Continue reading The Carbon Tax and Fiscal Responsibility

An Adam Smith Cornucopia

A couple items today on Adam Smith that I recommend: 1. A lecture from Daniel Klein, an economics professor at George Mason University, given at The Institute for Liberal Studies in Canada. Professor Klein's lecture is entitled, "Adam Smith: A Broad Interpretation of His Work and Vision." 2. A Russ Roberts podcast interview of distinguished scholar … Continue reading An Adam Smith Cornucopia

Solving the Budget Deficit: Cleveland Edition

Following the suggestion of one of our readers (as well as Jason's bold spending cut-dominated march into the breach), I too attempted to solve the deficit using the New York Times' slick online tool.  Behold, problem solved: here.  I actually produced a budget surplus  - which I'd be more than happy to refund to the taxpayers since it is … Continue reading Solving the Budget Deficit: Cleveland Edition

TSA Goes Way Over the Line – Strip Searching Kids

Of all the Pilei, I am probably most sympathetic - IN THEORY - to some of the screening methods used by the TSA.  Indeed, I think that a largely market order would probably have many of the same non-invasive procedures (especially if government intruded to the extent that they did not allow businesses to do serious profiling) - bag screening, … Continue reading TSA Goes Way Over the Line – Strip Searching Kids

Freedom to be a press

On September 25, 1690, Benjamin Harris issued in Boston the first and only installment of colonial America’s first multi-page newspaper, Publick Occurrences. The outraged colonial government arrested the publishers, destroyed all copies of the paper and suppressed further publication.  They also issued a blanket warning against any future attempt to communicate with the public without … Continue reading Freedom to be a press

Great Idea to Flummox the TSA

Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic has a great idea that will flummox the TSA without compromising security: Wear kilts on national opt-out day or any other day.  Here is the key paragraph: But come November 24th, here's an idea you might try to make the day extra-special. It's a one-word idea: Kilts. Think about it … Continue reading Great Idea to Flummox the TSA

Dollars and sense

When coming out of a surgery, a patient’s major body systems are often out of whack.  Blood pressure, respiration, oxygen saturation, pulse rate, blood sugar, kidney function, bowel function, and many other indicators can differ from their normal levels.  This is because the body has just undergone a trauma and is trying to right itself.  … Continue reading Dollars and sense

Another Note on the TSA

I am glad to see that the resistance to the TSA's policy of pornograton-or-molestation is continuing. Jason's recent post, and the subsequent discussion in the commentary, covers many of the issues, and there are numerous discussions around the web, most of which share the view that the policy is unjustifiable. For my part, I think … Continue reading Another Note on the TSA

TFAS International

Pileus is generously hosted by The Fund for American Studies, a nonprofit foundation in Washington, DC dedicated to teaching undergraduate students the principles of American liberty and prosperity. It offers courses accredited by Georgetown University and internships at well over 100 institutions in the Washington, DC area for the nearly 900 students per year who … Continue reading TFAS International

And Grover, this is the hand of tyranny…

I just though Grover might appreciate a riff on his post. The guy who was recently escorted out of the airport (with a hefty fine, if I recall) had made the simple statement: "Don't touch my junk." Maybe it's just me, but this doesn't seem to be an overly unreasonable request in an age of … Continue reading And Grover, this is the hand of tyranny…

Save the Children

As you have no doubt heard, San Francisco has "taken a stand" against childhood obesity by moving to ban "Happy Meals," which typically come with toys, if the meals are above designated levels of calories, fat, or sugar. My local newspaper, the New Jersey Star-Ledger, editorialized in favor of the move, writing, "No longer can … Continue reading Save the Children

Cheney: Big Time Quip-Meister

I'm no fan of former Vice President Dick Cheney (I especially dislike his neoconservative foreign policy views), but he certainly has a way with words.  Indeed, his aim is much better with the quip than the shotgun.  His response to President Bush when the latter called a New York Times reporter a "major league asshole" was … Continue reading Cheney: Big Time Quip-Meister

Two Americas

The House of Representatives electoral map tells an John Edwardsarian story: there really are two Americas.  But Edwards got his political demography wrong.  It isn't about the rich v. the poor (a story of class warfare that has never played well).  Instead the central divide in America is between urban and non-urban. Gerrymandering hides some … Continue reading Two Americas

The Fiscal Responsibility Debate Ctd.

Former OMB Director Peter Orszag has written a well-reasoned piece on the co-chair's proposal on Social Security (see today's NYT). Money Quote: If Congress were to take all four of these recommended steps, it could not only eliminate the long-term deficit in Social Security but also make the system much more progressive. Even compared with … Continue reading The Fiscal Responsibility Debate Ctd.

Solving the Budget Deficit

Taking up commenter Bill Bachofner's challenge, I'm posting my personal solution to the federal deficit using that nifty tool at the NY Times. I ended all short- and long-term deficits with no tax increases (except reducing employers' health insurance tax deduction) and without raising the Social Security retirement age. Here's the link. Of course, much … Continue reading Solving the Budget Deficit

On Modeling in the Social Sciences

According to George Stigler and Gary Becker (in a 1977 article) - not to mention Donald Green and Ian Shapiro (who use this to bash rational choice) - it is scientifically wrong to explain empirical anomalies that do not fit the expectations of a particular model by positing changing preferences or by using so-called ad hoc add-ons to typical rational … Continue reading On Modeling in the Social Sciences

Friday Surprise: Krugman hates the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Professor Krugman has an opinion piece in the NYT today chastising the “Hijacked Commission.” No one who has read Dr. Krugman’s columns before will be at all surprised with his take on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. It may be “bipartisan,” he notes, but this simply means that the commission will be … Continue reading Friday Surprise: Krugman hates the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Good Reason to Avoid Sears on Thanksgiving

Sears is apparently going to be open on Thanksgiving for the first time in its long 85 year history of operating retail stores.  Other similar retail stores have been open on Thanksgiving for some time, including K-Mart.   I'm glad that Sears has the legal right to be open on Thanksgiving or any other day it … Continue reading Good Reason to Avoid Sears on Thanksgiving

This Week’s Rants and Raves

1. Imagine your reaction if there had been a string of rapes committed in your community, and the local police tried to assure you by saying, "We are going to randomly question and search every single person we see---men and women, seniors, boys and girls, everyone." How absurd that would be! Or suppose there were … Continue reading This Week’s Rants and Raves