Bill Moyers – No Choir Boy

Interesting post on the Chronicle of Higher Education's blog by one participant in the "skirmish" between Mark Bauerlein and Bill Moyers concerning the latter's (well-known?) dirty tricks.  Here is one segment: The skirmish began when I cited current discussions in early 2009 of a dirty trick Moyers had played while serving in LBJ’s administration, specifically, a search for any homosexual … Continue reading Bill Moyers – No Choir Boy

Romney Win a Dangerous Signal to Supreme Court on ObamaCare?

Many political scientists believe, following Mr. Dooley, that the Supreme Court is impacted by election results and public opinion.* For example, Roy Fleming and Dan Wood find in an American Journal of Political Science piece “that public opinion directly affects decisions by individual members of the Court.”  Moreover, they “show that the result holds across … Continue reading Romney Win a Dangerous Signal to Supreme Court on ObamaCare?

Gary Johnson – LP Member (or, “I am Libertarian, Hear Me Roar”)

Former governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson is still running for President but has bolted the Republican Party for the Libertarian Party.  If Johnson is running for the sake of principles rather than ego or other self-interested motivations, this decision is a wee-bit premature.  Sure, Johnson was treated horribly by the Republican establishment and the media.  And if he gets … Continue reading Gary Johnson – LP Member (or, “I am Libertarian, Hear Me Roar”)

Brooks: Why the Progressive Era Offers Few Historical Parallels

David Brooks has an interesting piece in today’s NYT (I must admit, he has written more than a few fine columns this year).  He notes that the Obama administration assumed office drawing on parallels to the Great Depression and FDR. It has since abandoned this historical analog and turned, instead, to the Progressive Era. The … Continue reading Brooks: Why the Progressive Era Offers Few Historical Parallels

A career in the toilet

Noticed the following groundbreaking story from The Hill today: Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) has proposed legislation that would let fire stations around the country apply for grants of up to $100,000 to build women's restrooms, showers and changing facilities. The Fairness in Restrooms Existing in Stations (FIRE Stations) Act, H.R. 3753, says these grants would … Continue reading A career in the toilet

Christmas Story Politics

It is difficult to be surprised anymore when you see politics seep into every nook and cranny of our lives.  However, it was still a bit jarring when my wife showed me a Christmas children's story that revolves around politics.  The book in question is David Davis' Librarian's Night Before Christmas.  I highly recommend against indoctrinating your children … Continue reading Christmas Story Politics

Ron Paul

While the WSJ is attacking Paul's foreign policy (see Grover's post), the NYT has an interesting piece by Timothy Egan entitled “Soldiers’ Choice.” Money quote: This year, Paul has 10 times the individual donations — totaling $113,739 — from the military as does Mitt Romney. And he has a hundred times more than Newt Gingrich, … Continue reading Ron Paul

Wall Street Journal Slams Paul on Foreign Policy

In the contemporary American political scene, "conservative" attacks on those critical of American foreign policy are "dog bites man" kinds of stories since they happen so often and so reflexively on the Right (as we saw last week with National Review).  But this one by Dorothy Rabinowitz is particularly bad and is reminiscent of the kind of nasty attacks that "isolationists" (who … Continue reading Wall Street Journal Slams Paul on Foreign Policy

George Will v. Newt Gingrich George Will is just getting better with age.  Below are some nuggets from his excellent column today skewering Newt Gingrich's recent thoughts on the courts.  I recommend the whole piece.  As we've noted before on Pileus, Gingrich is no consistent friend of liberty.  In a pair-wise comparison, Romney is almost certainly the lesser of two evils … Continue reading George Will v. Newt Gingrich

Give the Gift of Liberty

Last year I recommended giving a donation in a loved one's name to a non-profit institution dedicated to the fight for liberty in lieu of a normal present.  Please consider doing so again since these places rely on donations to help them stay afloat.  All of the following institutions are certainly worthy of your hard-earned money and will spend … Continue reading Give the Gift of Liberty

The Obama Legacy: Framing the Historical Narrative

There has been more than a few groans in response to President Obama’s comments in an interview with 60 minutes. In response to a question regarding his performance thus far, the President stated: "The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our … Continue reading The Obama Legacy: Framing the Historical Narrative

The Paul Surge, Pt. 2

Ron Paul is still surging. I have an article forthcoming in the next issue of The American Conservative forecasting the New Hampshire primary and the role that participants in the Free State Project and other libertarian activists may play therein. At the time I wrote the article, I made the fairly bold forecast that Paul … Continue reading The Paul Surge, Pt. 2

Extending the Payroll Tax Cut

The House seems ready to vote down the Senate bill extending the payroll tax cut for two months while requiring the President to decide on the Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days (see coverage here and here). The bill—apparently negotiated with the Speaker’s blessings—seemed to be a strategic coup. Passed (89-10) by a bipartisan … Continue reading Extending the Payroll Tax Cut

Two Views on ‘Structured Inequality’

I am no fan of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, which one or two libertarians notwithstanding, is a gathering of the ‘usual suspects’ on the reactionary left. That said the one virtue of this so-called ‘movement’ has been the attention it has focused on ‘structured inequality’. Most people do not care about the massive inequality … Continue reading Two Views on ‘Structured Inequality’

MSNBC Slide Show of Afghanistan 2011 Photos

Well worth a look, here.  Picture 128 is very tough to handle - made me want to leap up, hug my children, and be thankful that they are alive and well in bed.  But I think those of us who are not pacifists mustn't shy away from the reality that there are horrible consequences of even justly begun wars … Continue reading MSNBC Slide Show of Afghanistan 2011 Photos

Crippling the language of rights

Rhetoric in the public square often lacks integrity.  To me, nothing is more grating than calling coercion a right.  Unfortunately, this is done all the time (usually by those on the left). An op-ed in the New York Times today is a classic example.  The headline is "Crippling the Right to Organize" by Stanford law … Continue reading Crippling the language of rights

Pilei James Otteson on Freedom Watch Tonight at 8 PM Eastern

Wanted to let our friends and readers know that our fellow blogger Jim Otteson will be on Judge Andrew Napolitano's television show on the Fox Business Network called "FreedomWatch." It airs nightly at 8pm eastern. Tonight Napolitano will be airing, for the first of three times, his 2011 year-end special called "The Year in Liberty."  Jim was one of the … Continue reading Pilei James Otteson on Freedom Watch Tonight at 8 PM Eastern

Honoring Christopher Hitchens

Writer and critic Christopher Hitchens is dead - as everyone who "opened" the internets this morning knows.  I've seen a bunch of tributes that seem a bit ill-fitting though certainly kind and highlighting the many positives of his career.  But wouldn't a Hitchens-style tribute look at things a bit more honestly - and even be critical and contrarian to a … Continue reading Honoring Christopher Hitchens

All You Need on Political Economy?

I had an interesting conversation recently about what were the three or four best all-time readings on political economy. If you could read, or have others read, only a handful of relatively short things, what would they be? That question is surprisingly challenging. Here are the suggestions of my interlocutors: 1. F. A. Hayek's 1945 … Continue reading All You Need on Political Economy?

The Case Against Gingrich

By now, most readers have likely been to the pages of National Review to read the rejection of Gingrich. A far better appraisal can be found at Reason, in a piece by Jacob Sullum entitled “Not Newt: If you're looking for a profligate authoritarian, Gingrich is your man.” Whereas National Review case seems a bit … Continue reading The Case Against Gingrich

The Ghost of William F. Buckley, Jr. Returns at National Review

National Review was well-known during Buckley's tenure for taking out the hatchet against those parts of the anti-New Deal coalition he deemed unacceptable.  Most egregiously, NR slandered Ayn Rand horribly when Whittaker Chambers argued: "From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: 'To a gas chamber — go!'"  And this to a supreme individualist … Continue reading The Ghost of William F. Buckley, Jr. Returns at National Review

Because We Care

With the holiday season in full swing, a couple of health-related items worth thinking about and acting on for better living: 1.  Remember to hand over the keys.  The NHTSA recently released the following drunk-driving data from 2010 (in the US):  "Deaths in crashes involving drunk drivers dropped 4.9 percent in 2010, taking 10,228 lives compared … Continue reading Because We Care

Ron Paul as President. Really?

Was going to put this in the comments to my 1964 post but it got long enough to add as a new post.  Caveat: it should be read in the spirit of someone very much sympathetic to Paul and many of his policy preferences (especially on foreign policy). The only scenario for Ron Paul becoming President - … Continue reading Ron Paul as President. Really?

Financial Liberalization: Is It Really Risky for Developing Countries?

Since the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, a consensus among even free-market economists has been developing: financial liberalization for developing countries usually don't make sense. The financial crisis of 2008 and the ongoing Eurozone crisis have only fortified this consensus. The mainstream economic position seems to be that, at least for developing … Continue reading Financial Liberalization: Is It Really Risky for Developing Countries?

1964 or 1800?

A new poll out of Iowa suggests that Ron Paul could win the upcoming caucus there and that Gingrich is losing support amongst conservatives in the state.  So says this story while various other polls also show Paul's strength in Iowa.  Even the New York Times is in on the Paul-mania, with a Ross Douthat column on the "Ron Paul … Continue reading 1964 or 1800?

Coda I on Barney Frank

With Barney Frank readying for retirement, I'm sure we'll see lots of puff pieces about his "contributions" to our country.  My guess is that these salutes won't emphasize his supremely negative role in the present housing mess and financial crisis.  Here is an older piece by Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe that captures the government's (and Frank's) … Continue reading Coda I on Barney Frank

Fear of Big Government

If one were to base one's world view on the MSM coverage of the Occupy movement, one would have to conclude that a growing percentage of Americans fear big business and are looking to the government for a solution. The new Gallup Poll suggests otherwise. According to the poll, "the 64% of Americans who say big … Continue reading Fear of Big Government

Analogy of the Day – The Economy as Coral Rather Than Clock

From one of our readers and frequent commenters in response to Marc's post on the economy in uncharted waters: The problem with both analyses [discussed in Marc's post] is that they treat the economy like a clockwork. If you tighten this spring or replace this gear or lube it there, then the whole thing will … Continue reading Analogy of the Day – The Economy as Coral Rather Than Clock

The Economy: Unchartered Territory?

Edward Luce, FT, provides an interesting argument on the many ways in which the current economic challenges in the US are going to be difficult (if not impossible) to solve. He illustrates his argument with some rather painful statistics in “Can America regain most dynamic labor market mantle?” The unemployment rate would be 11 percent … Continue reading The Economy: Unchartered Territory?

Sunday Morning Quotation – Should Justice Kagan Recuse Herself on the ObamaCare Case?

I'm not sure yet what the right answer to this question is.  But my guess is that most people who think Justice Kagan should recuse herself would also like to see ObamaCare (due to the individual mandate) declared unconstitutional.  Likewise, most of those who vehemently deny that there are any possible grounds for recusal probably support ObamaCare and believe it to be … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Should Justice Kagan Recuse Herself on the ObamaCare Case?

Instructions for millionaires

Democrats are always saying that most millionaires would love to pay more taxes.  Especially the billionaire variety like Buffett or Soros.  NPR just did a story saying that taxes are irrelevant to millionaire behavior.  Here is an example: "If my taxes go up, I have slightly less disposable income, yes," said Burger, co-owner of CSS … Continue reading Instructions for millionaires

Britain Stands Alone

For the first time in history, Britain has vetoed a new EU treaty. The purpose of the treaty was to impose tough new limits on budget deficits of member states. David Cameron argues that the new treaty would open the door to new financial regulations that would disadvantage Britain. His move is likely to prove … Continue reading Britain Stands Alone

Destruction and deception (yet again)

I have avoided commenting lately on Krugman's tiresome rantings because almost every column of his is limited to some combination of the following:  1) Republicans are evil; 2) The economy needs more government spending; 3) People who don't agree with 1 or 2 are either stupid or evil (probably both). Today's column, though, takes his … Continue reading Destruction and deception (yet again)

Investing Wisely?

A report released by the Public Campaign examines 30 top corporations. Some key findings: Despite making combined profits totally $164 billion in that three-year period, the 30 companies combined received tax rebates totaling nearly $11 billion. Altogether, these companies spent nearly half a billion dollars ($476 million) over three years to lobby Congress—that’s about $400,000 … Continue reading Investing Wisely?

This is why I’m not tidy

Back during the Bush pseudo-scandal of firing all the US attorneys, my grad school friend Kyle Sampson (he of the "loyal Bushies" fame) appeared in a large picture on the front page of the New York Times with his arm to the square.  I remember saying to a colleague, "that is not how I would … Continue reading This is why I’m not tidy

Plato, rhetoric, and politics

In recent weeks I once again had the privilege of teaching Plato’s Gorgias, and again I find it not only a wonderful teaching tool, but as profound a comment on what is wrong with politics — anywhere and anytime — as I have seen. Plato contrasts the work of the rhetorician, who specializes in motivational speaking … Continue reading Plato, rhetoric, and politics

An immigration policy worthy of support

My immigration policy is generally of the type: "sure, come on over" (though maybe not all at once).   But here is variant I would like to adopt immediately: Any foreigner who works/has worked for the US military can automatically immigrate to the US whenever he/she wants to (well, as long as they are not … Continue reading An immigration policy worthy of support

Teaching the 1%

And some days I'm really glad my children aren't going to Harvard: Harvard faculty hold teach-in Professors from Harvard University, Boston College, and New York University will gather at the Harvard Science Center on Wednesday afternoon for a 4½-hour public “teach in” in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. (From the Chronicle of Higher … Continue reading Teaching the 1%