Can Huntsman do it?

Word is leaking out that Jon Hunstman, Jr. is resigning his post as Ambassador to China and will begin exploring a run for the Presidency.  President Obama sent him to China, most observers believe, to avoid just that scenario.  But it apparently has backfired.  Hunstman got two years in probably the most important diplomatic post … Continue reading Can Huntsman do it?

More partisan purity (and nonsense)

A Republican group called the National Republic Trust PAC is withdrawing their previous support from Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and, instead, pledging to defeat him in in the primary next year.  According to the National Journal, the head of the PAC, Scott Wheeler, gives this justification: "We believe the Democrats' policies are destroying the country. … Continue reading More partisan purity (and nonsense)

Description of ObamaCare

Here is how Reuters describes ObamaCare in its story today about the law being ruled unconstitutional by the District Court: The healthcare overhaul, a cornerstone of Obama's presidency, aims to expand health insurance to cover millions of uninsured Americans while also curbing costs. I'm surprised Reuters didn't add, "You'd have to be nuts to oppose that."  But I … Continue reading Description of ObamaCare

A College Degree in Every Pot

As one plank in his "winning the future" program, President Obama called recently for more Americans to get college degrees. People with college degrees, the President reminded us, make more money over their lifetimes than people who do not. That is true, but of course by itself it does not mean that the college degree … Continue reading A College Degree in Every Pot

Benign Neglect Anyone?

Letting others determine their fates independent of the "stick-their-noses-into-everything" John McCain types is not a bad first cut at policy.  Insert the issue or development - foreign or domestic - that could benefit from a policy of benign neglect here ________________ . Reader: "Hmmm, what could GC be talking about here, especially given the John McCain reference?"

A free press…

Isn't it the job of a free press to take a few minutes and critically assess what politicians feed them?  Perhaps if they do so, they'll come up with what Mungowitz does about President Obama's exemplary green energy business Orion Energy Systems.  Mungowitz cites the administration's own words: WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama called … Continue reading A free press…

Electric Cars – Yet Another Thing to Consider

In a recent post, I discussed the Nissan Leaf and other electric vehicles.  However, I didn't even think about the problem posed by cold weather or being stuck in the snow.  Here is the Washington Post's Charles Lane with a quote from an honest electric car advocate on this issue:  A change of ten degrees … Continue reading Electric Cars – Yet Another Thing to Consider

Hitler vs. Stalin … Voltaire

Timothy Snyder has a succinct but interesting piece at the New York Review of Books site on the relative butchery of Hitler and Stalin.  Although the specific argument about who was worse in terms of the numbers may have limited normative utility given the sheer amount of killing on both sides, it is a worthy question of historical research.*  More importantly, … Continue reading Hitler vs. Stalin … Voltaire

The End of Earmarks…yawn

In the past year, there has been great concern among Tea Party activists et al over earmarks. John Boehner prohibited earmarks upon assuming the position of Speaker. In the SOTU, the President boldly promised to veto legislation with earmarks them from the chamber. Looks like there is a bipartisan consensus on the need for fiscal … Continue reading The End of Earmarks…yawn

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Apparently the good people of New York were never taught how to cross the street by their nannies, so now government has to do it for them.  This from the NY Times: In New York, a bill is pending in the legislature’s transportation committee that would ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other … Continue reading Why did the chicken cross the road?

Eisner on SOTU

From Marc Eisner in the comments to my post on SOTU: "The SOTU seemed to provide more evidence of the President’s post mid-term pivot. Things that struck me included: tax reform resulting in simplification and reductions in the corporate tax; bureaucratic streamlining, regulatory reform, and a freeze of domestic discretionary spending. These are not the … Continue reading Eisner on SOTU

Stealing from Peter and Giving to Paul – “A Good Idea”

Tyler Cowen today makes this rather "non-libertarian" (HT: Jardinero1 in the comments section of a recent post) argument that is unjustifiable on libertarian grounds and suspect even on utilitarian ethical grounds: "Diverting $1 million from Medicare to a helicopter drop over Haiti is also a good idea." Jardinero1 should be rightly concerned about this idea!

State of the Union Speech – brought to you by David Brooks?

I don't like SOTU speeches.  Indeed, I wish that Presidents would return to simply delivering a written missive to Congress and be done with all the monarchical pretensions of the event.  As I've seen elsewhere, perhaps an e-mail would do the trick.  Therefore, I tend to read the speech the next day rather than watch it.  Furthermore, I just don't get … Continue reading State of the Union Speech – brought to you by David Brooks?

Will New Hampshire Be the First State to Abolish First-Past-the-Post?

A bill to adopt approval voting has been filed in the N.H. House, and one of the co-sponsors is a member of the relevant committee. The bill would establish approval voting for all state offices and presidential primaries. Approval voting is an electoral system for single-winner elections that allows voters to cast not more than … Continue reading Will New Hampshire Be the First State to Abolish First-Past-the-Post?

Cultural Practices That Need to Go

I'm certainly no drug warrior as many of my previous posts on the subject attest.  Moreover, I know we are supposed to be all politically correct and culturally sensitive.  But I would think that we could recognize that the Afghan "tradition" (even "religion") of drug use - including giving opium to your kids - isn't exactly consistent with … Continue reading Cultural Practices That Need to Go

Public Choice Theory

A couple of different blogs recently posted their recommendations for books in the public choice tradition.  See here and here.  I agree with Cowen that you can't go wrong - as long as you are an academic or very sophisticated reader of economics or political science - with Dennis Mueller's Public Choice III.  His breadth of … Continue reading Public Choice Theory

Sunday Morning Quotation – G.K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton on conservatives and progressives:  "The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected." This quotation is useful as a warning to so-called moderate Republicans and conservatives who want to … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – G.K. Chesterton

Portugal’s Experiment with Drug Decriminalization

In The Wire (perhaps the best television program ever), a rogue Baltimore police major essentially legalizes drugs in certain parts of his district.  The result: crime falls, public health agencies start treating drug addicts and offering preventive care/education, the police focus on serious crimes, and the accolades roll in from the public.  In the real world, drug legalization is about as popular with … Continue reading Portugal’s Experiment with Drug Decriminalization

Olbermann Out

Given all of the concern in some corners about nasty political rhetoric, I wonder if these folks will celebrate the fact that its level will go down significantly now that Keith Olbermann is out at MSNBC.  Yeah, right!  Of course, since few people watched his show, I doubt the rest of the world will notice very much.  Let's … Continue reading Olbermann Out

Consorting with the Devils

When "right-wing" radio and talk shows started to get blamed by people on the political left for various things, I decided to spend some time looking into them to see what all the fuss was about. Over the last few years, I have spent some time listening to Rush, Hannity, et al., and I have … Continue reading Consorting with the Devils

Dreyfuss on American Exceptionalism

  [Editor's Note: This is a guest post from the president of The Fund for American Studies, Roger Ream. TFAS sponsors Pileus.]   The Fund for American Studies welcomed actor Richard Dreyfuss to its offices last night. Dreyfuss, whose movie credits are many, including Jaws, Mr. Holland’s Opus, and The Goodbye Girl (for which he … Continue reading Dreyfuss on American Exceptionalism

The Times They Are A Changing

President Obama has made a striking 180 degree pivot in the weeks since the 2010 midterm. We all recall the extension of the Bush tax cuts. Many interpreted this as a pragmatic decision given that it was tied to an extension of unemployment benefits. But in recent weeks, several decisions seem to mark a potential … Continue reading The Times They Are A Changing

More on Voting with Feet

At Volokh, Ilya Somin presents the evidence that people vote for economic freedom with their feet internationally and domestically. Pileus on inter-state migration here. Update:  Somin has more on this issue here.  And of course, please feel free to examine the original study comparing the states cited by both Eric Crampton and Somin.

Milton Friedman on JFK’s Speech

Many may have forgotten that Milton Friedman begins Capitalism and Freedom with a critique of President Kennedy's inaugural speech.  It is well-worth another look - so dig out your dusty and yellowed copy and read the introduction again.  The key line is this one: The free man will ask neither what his country can do for him nor what he can … Continue reading Milton Friedman on JFK’s Speech

An over-rated blue dog

Utah's Democratic Congress from the 2nd District is Jim Matheson, son of a popular former Democratic Governor and prominent Blue Dog.  He is one of the few Democratic House members from the West (and by "West," I mean the Real west, not the West Coast, which is actually part of the East).  He voted against … Continue reading An over-rated blue dog

JFK: Half a Century Later

Today is the 50th anniversary of JFK's inauguration. One predicts that there will be plenty of speeches commemorating the event. Beneath the myths surrounding Camelot, what if anything was the enduring legacy? Certainly, there was the rediscovery of poverty (thanks to Dwight McDonald's review of Michael Harrington's The Other America) that led, under LBJ, to … Continue reading JFK: Half a Century Later

Name That Country!

With South Sudan apparently on the verge of declaring independence, the Economist has asked readers to contribute their suggestions for a new name for the country. While I personally am partial to suggestions appealing to the shared cultural heritage of most of the ethnic groups in the region ("Nilotia"/"Nilotic Republic"), I think it's most probable … Continue reading Name That Country!

This Time is Different?

Many pundits interpreted the 2010 midterms as an indictment of business-as-usual. Driven by the populist sentiments of the tea party, the expansion of government, and the bourgeoning national debt, the incoming congressional class was poised to be the agents of change. At least that was one interpretation So imagine my shock and horror when I … Continue reading This Time is Different?

President Obama – A One Term President?

Former Vice President Richard "Dick" Cheney thinks that President Obama is going to be a one term president.  In an interview to air today on NBC's Today Show, Cheney will apparently cite the following reasons for his prognostication: Obama's "overall approach to expanding the size of government, expanding the deficit, and giving more and more … Continue reading President Obama – A One Term President?

Another Victim of Conscription – Azerbaijan

According to the Baku Turan (located in Azerbaijan) newspaper, an Azeri soldier was killed today in "a shoot-out" with Armenian forces near the border in Tartar District.  That soldier's name was Mammad Azadaliyev, and importantly, the article notes that he was conscripted.  Poor Mr. Azadaliyev is both a victim of interstate violence and of domestic state violence.  The … Continue reading Another Victim of Conscription – Azerbaijan

Astrology Old and New

Last week an astronomer claimed that the earth's precession required a reevaluation of the zodiacal chart. His announcement created a firestorm, leading to stories of worry and even panic in all the major news outlets in America. It was initially shocking to see just how many people were discomfitted by this news, to see just … Continue reading Astrology Old and New

Harvey Mansfield’s Understatement on Manliness

From an interview on The Point: "the very word 'manliness' is under a shadow. But yes, there’s a lot of underground resistance to official feminism, or what I call the gender neutral society." Very underground but very much alive.  But will it ever return topside from its hidden depths?  If so, it will emerge from the countryside and flyover … Continue reading Harvey Mansfield’s Understatement on Manliness

Updates on outrage

Outrage #1 The President gave a fine and eloquent speech urging civility in our political discourse.  The words were appropriate; the setting, however, was not. Why not?  We all certainly need to be reminded to be civil as we talk about politics and public affairs.  No side has a monopoly on uncivil behavior.  But what … Continue reading Updates on outrage

I wonder…

... if political scientist Ian Lustick would say the same thing about trying to legislate a response to the Tuscon shootings as he did about dealing with terrorism in his book Trapped in the War on Terror: Trying to eliminate all such vulnerabilities would be as impossible as trying to eliminate all individuals who might … Continue reading I wonder…

US Credit Rating and the Day of Reckoning

As Congress prepares to raise the debt ceiling and the recommendations of the U.S. National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform fade from our memories, the credit rating agencies are getting a bit anxious. From today’s WSJ: Moody's Investors Service said in a report that the U.S. will need to reverse an upward trajectory in … Continue reading US Credit Rating and the Day of Reckoning