I wonder if Romney and his campaign advisors looked at the very small group of undecided voters and wrote the speech to appeal to them. Otherwise, I don't get this speech. If what I said is true, it suggests that the campaign assumes that the undecideds at this point are pretty clueless folks who don't vote … Continue reading Romney Speech
Unlike Chris Christie last night, Congressman Ryan knocked it out of the park - both for the base and the middle. Here is the text of his speech (though I recommend you watch it instead since Ryan is pretty much the opposite of Nixon in the 1960 Presidential debate). Ryan is a damn good speaker … Continue reading Paul Ryan’s Speech – Snap Judgement
Stopped regularly reading Mankiw's blog a long time ago. However, I recently clicked over and saw this very funny cartoon posted there:
The annual conference of the American Political Science Association has been cancelled. I wonder if this will turn out to be the right decision. As of now, it is fouling up a lot of things but hard to say if going forward would have been completely irresponsible without more data from NOLA and the airlines. I … Continue reading APSA Update
Small-government types have often debated whether the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, establishing direct election of senators, is in part responsible for the decline of federalism in the U.S. I have long been skeptical of the 17th Amendment repeal movement, because Germany has a system in which states (Länder) elect senators (members of the … Continue reading Two Cheers for the Seventeenth Amendment
With Isaac about to hit New Orleans, political scientists around the world are wondering why God hates political scientists more than Republicans(Henry Farrell), whether they can count their conference papers on their CV's, and all kinds of other things. For tweets on all this and more, see the APSA 2012 Twitter site here. What may surprise you is … Continue reading Political Scientists – Who Knew They Were So Funny?
And Obama is the winner! Romney will try to "reintroduce" himself to the country while the country is watching Obama touring the wreckage from the hurricane. How does the whole convention not become effectively diminished - if not scrapped altogether or delayed until the weekend (is this even logistically possible?) - if there is a hard landing … Continue reading Bad News for New Orleans, Political Scientists, and Romney
For our readers in political science, an update from APSA on the status of its upcoming conference in New Orleans: Weather Alert: Hurricane Isaac Updated: August 26, 2012 (5:20pm) *All Wednesday events CANCELLED (including Short Courses)* In light of the projected conditions in New Orleans by hurricane Isaac, APSA is cancelling all pre-conference meeting activities on Wednesday, August 29th, … Continue reading American Political Science Association Annual Meeting Update
Like just about everyone else on this little blue planet, I am sad to hear of the passing of Neil Armstrong. R.I.P. Going to the moon was a pretty tremendous human accomplishment and Armstrong's courage shouldn't be overlooked even while accepting that it took a village to get into space and onto the moon. However, the space program and … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation(s) – On Space Exploration, Neil Armstrong, and Property Rights on the Moon
Fact of the day, courtesy of Luigi Zingales' A Capitalism for the People: "At the beginning of the twentieth century, when modern capitalism was taking shape, US government spending was only 3 percent of gross domestic product." (emphasis added) And if the US government at all levels didn't take so much of GDP today (over … Continue reading Fact and Photo of the Day – US Government Spending as Percentage of GDP
I was recently in a hotel owned by the U.S. Federal Government that had this picture on the wall in my room: Isn't it a bit strange to see the military leader of a rebellion being honored by the government he rebelled against? I know this isn't exactly strange in the sense of being unfamiliar given that … Continue reading The U.S. Government and the Civil War
. . . though the day is not even half over: Nietzsche on Thucydides vs. Plato (found by chance on Wikipedia of all places when searching for something on the Google): "My recreation, my predilection, my cure, after all Platonism, has always been Thucydides. Thucydides and perhaps Machiavelli's principe are most closely related to me … Continue reading Most Interesting Thing I’ve Read Today . . .
Title of a new book by West Coast (or uber-East Coaster if his West Coastiness is merely for the rest of us) Straussian Harry V. Jaffa: Crisis of the Strauss Divided: Essays on Leo Strauss and Straussianism, East and West
Jason Brennan touts the case against voting on the Princeton University Press blog: There’s nothing morally wrong with being ignorant about politics, or with forming your political beliefs though an irrational thought processes—so long as you don’t vote. As soon as you step in the voting booth, you acquire a duty to know what you’re … Continue reading Shame on You, Voter
Since I've frequently heard libertarians claim that one must be pro-choice if one is a libertarian, perhaps I should forgive this headline from Slate: "Paul Ryan: Liberatarian [sic] on the Market, the Opposite on Abortion." Leaving aside yet another instance of editorial sloppiness (what is a "liberatarian" anyway?), this headline clearly displays a lack of understanding of libertarian … Continue reading More Confusion on Libertarianism and Abortion
I did not see this one coming. Like many, I've been a fan of Ryan for a long time and would (like many) rather see Ryan in the White House than Romney. But I have serious doubts this choice will help Romney dislodge the current occupant. I'm still trying to get my head around this … Continue reading Is Romney pursuing a moral victory?
From a Reuters article on the VP pick: Romney knew Ryan was his man before Ryan knew. Could it have been any other way, absent Ryan being a superhero who could see the future (and not merely a hero to many conservatives)? WWDL think?
Congressman Paul Ryan on Ayn Rand from today's LA Times story on the novelist's influence on the new Veep candidate: “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Paul Ryan on Ayn Rand
Justice Swayne in Trist v. Child (1874): The foundation of a republic is the virtue of its citizens. They are at once sovereigns and subjects. As the foundation is undermined, the structure is weakened. When it is destroyed, the fabric must fall. Such is the voice of universal history. The theory of our government is, … Continue reading Justice Noah Swayne on How Institutions Aren’t Enough – Apologies to Acemoglu, Robinson, et al
Foreign Policy magazine's "Shadow Government" blog recently posted the summer reading recommendations of a number of its contributors. Several listed Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A Robinson. Why Nations Fail was on my summer reading list too since I've assigned it in one of my classes. Unfortunately, I didn't really get … Continue reading Summer Reading 2012
Today in the NY Times philosophy column, "The Stone," Richard Polt takes on those who try to "reduce" ethics and humanity to biology or technology. Here are some tidbits. I recommend the whole essay. It isn't long. ...In fact, the very idea of an “ought” is foreign to evolutionary theory. It makes no sense for … Continue reading Anything but human
The Olympic controversy of the day is from badminton---a sport I follow religiously. Four women's doubles teams, including the top-ranked Chinese team, were disqualified for trying to lose their matches so that they would get more favorable match-ups in the next round. Shocking! Though not really. When the rules of the tournament create incentives to … Continue reading Incentives matter, Olympic edition
"You know about Agenda 21, right?" It's always said in a tone approaching a hushed whisper. If I can manage to nod and smile, at least, rather than rolling my eyes, I will be admitted into the club: a club of knowing, Alex Jones-listening "true conservatives" or "patriots." Because I -- we -- know what … Continue reading Agenda 21 and Our Precious Bodily Fluids