Elon Musk Wins the Economic Literacy Award

Marc earlier noted the depressing state of political literacy in the US.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a remarkable statement of economic literacy in the news today - and by someone who isn't a trade economist.  In this case, the example came from entrepreneur Elon Musk (who was seconded by fellow businessman Lyndon Rive). … Continue reading Elon Musk Wins the Economic Literacy Award

Airpower Will Solve This. Santa Claus Exists.

Airpower is the simple but wrong/naive answer to complex problems. It just doesn't work as advertised by the airpower enthusiasts.  If you will the ends, you will the means. So those who want to wade back into Iraq or jump into wherever to "degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL" should be honest and note that ground forces … Continue reading Airpower Will Solve This. Santa Claus Exists.

What Does FL-13 Mean?

The special election in the FL-13 U.S. House district has apparently been won by Republican David Jolly.  Here is what Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics had to say about this race before voting ended: My sense is that the Democratic candidate, former state chief financial officer and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Alex Sink, will probably win. … Continue reading What Does FL-13 Mean?

Walmart’s “Made in the USA” Ad

I was just taking in a few minutes of the Olympics when I saw a new Walmart ad touting its pledge to purchase $250 billion of American-made products (or perhaps more accurately, its  "pledging [of] $250 billion to products purchased from American factories").  Roll the tape and see for yourself: It is a bit odd to see Walmart pitching this "Made … Continue reading Walmart’s “Made in the USA” Ad

Two Cheers for Green Wednesday

Two cheers for today's Green Wednesday in Colorado - not an environmental holiday but the day that a free highly-regulated market for marijuana comes into being.  Here is the New York Times on the historic day: While smoking pot has been legal in Colorado for the past year, so-called Green Wednesday represents another historic milestone for the decades-old legalization … Continue reading Two Cheers for Green Wednesday

Monday Links – DSM-5, Term Papers, and George P.

Some must-reads to start your week: 1.  Theodore Dalrymple (aka Anthony Daniels) has an absolutely superb takedown of the new DSM-5 in City Journal.  "Responsibilitarians" (HT: Sorens) will find themselves using his arguments frequently in the current age in which practically everything wrong with us is a "disorder" that undermines our agency - though doing so won't make you … Continue reading Monday Links – DSM-5, Term Papers, and George P.

Updates from Planet Academia

Two recent stories from academia will shock and appall: 1.  James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal discusses "justice" for the accused on campus.  In particular, he tells the story of one Auburn student who hardly received a fair hearing from the university on the road to being expelled.  He received little due process for "committing" crimes … Continue reading Updates from Planet Academia

Solve one government intervention with another, or…..

From the New York Times on one of the workers who will participate in the fast food workers' one day strike: Simon Rojas, who earns $8.07 an hour working at a McDonald’s in South Central Los Angeles, said he would join Thursday’s one-day strike. “It’s very difficult to live off $8.07 an hour,” said Mr. Rojas, … Continue reading Solve one government intervention with another, or…..

Open for Business on Thanksgiving – Still a Bad Idea

Three years ago, I wrote about the problem of retail stores being open for business on Thanksgiving.  It is posted in full below.  As one might expect, Sears continues to open on Thanksgiving and has been joined by many other businesses trying to profit from those who can't resist getting a jump on so-called Black Friday.  Fortunately, many … Continue reading Open for Business on Thanksgiving – Still a Bad Idea

Sunday Quotation – What Explains the Decline of (Classical) Liberalism?

George H. Smith, in his new book The System of Liberty, gives us this explanation: Although all of the proceeding explanations have merit, I have focused in this book on the one offered by Hayek.  In particular, I have discussed how the presumption of liberty, when not accompanied with clear criteria of defeasibility, sometimes became … Continue reading Sunday Quotation – What Explains the Decline of (Classical) Liberalism?

Charts of the Day – US Debt-to-GDP

Veronique de Rugy, an economist at the Mercatus Center, has nicely created these charts below concerning U.S. Debt-to-GDP.  They visually express a lot of what our co-blogger Marc Eisner has been saying since our inception.  It is hard not to agree with Vero's conclusion: "The only way we will begin to see an improvement in … Continue reading Charts of the Day – US Debt-to-GDP

What About Human Ingenuity?

National Geographic has a visually attractive interactive set of maps that shows what would ostensibly happen if all of the world's ice melted due to global warming.  The problem with this - aside from the alarmism - is that it fails to take into account human ingenuity  in picturing what the world would actually look … Continue reading What About Human Ingenuity?

Shocked, Shocked … Christie Not So Clean

Time magazine has a short excerpt up on its website from a new book on the 2012 campaign.  This excerpt from that excerpt focuses on the Republican Veepstakes and the vetting of Governor Chris Christie: The vetters were stunned by the garish controversies lurking in the shadows of his record. There was a 2010 Department of … Continue reading Shocked, Shocked … Christie Not So Clean

Quotation of the Day – On ObamaCare

A magnificent quotation in the LA Times about ObamaCare courtesy of a health care provider in California: Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross in California, said she received a recent letter from a young woman complaining about a 50% rate hike related to the healthcare law. "She said, 'I was all for Obamacare until … Continue reading Quotation of the Day – On ObamaCare

NPR Again – Where Does Wealth Come From?

I've listened to NPR in the car a fair bit over the last two weeks.  If I learned my economics from that station, I'd have to conclude that wealth is essentially just something that exists and is expropriated by individuals and countries.  It is a fixed pie that one either has a slice of (or … Continue reading NPR Again – Where Does Wealth Come From?

Hedging and the Dollar

Leaving aside those of you who have rushed to gold over the last year or five, are any of our readers hedging against the future value of the US dollar by buying foreign currencies (or something else)?  If so, which ones?  Are any of you betting on the US dollar?  Why or why not? One … Continue reading Hedging and the Dollar

Solar Power and Negative Externalities

This article on the boom in companies using solar power is only one of many I've seen recently on the declining costs and increased usage of this wonderful sun-based power source.   It even has this nice graphic (see below).  One might even be tempted to conclude that businesses are doing good by doing well. … Continue reading Solar Power and Negative Externalities

Support the Troops! – Lincoln-Douglas Edition

Below is a selection from Abraham Lincoln's response to Stephen A. Douglas in the first of their famous Lincoln-Douglas debates (this one occurred on August 21, 1858).  Mark LeBar, and other readers, may find it particularly interesting given his prior thoughts on supporting the troops. Lincoln: And so I think my friend, the Judge, is … Continue reading Support the Troops! – Lincoln-Douglas Edition

How’d the Libyan Intervention Go?

At least according to the New York Times, not so well: Libya has collapsed into the control of a patchwork of militias since the ouster of the Qaddafi government in 2011. and Since the overthrow of Colonel Qaddafi, Tripoli has slid steadily into lawlessness, with no strong central government or police presence. It has become a … Continue reading How’d the Libyan Intervention Go?

And what does this new research on activists say to libertarians?

A new study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology suggests that social and political activists may be harming their own causes.  Here is a piece in the Pacific Standard that highlights the study and summarizes its finding thusly: Why don’t people behave in more environmentally friendly ways? New research presents one uncomfortable answer: They don’t want … Continue reading And what does this new research on activists say to libertarians?

A Real Abstract or a Parody of One?

A real abstract from an article in a new journal on critical security studies: We offer a provocation – that we should stop appending ‘Critical’ to ‘Security Studies’.  Critical security as an academically and politically contested terrain is no longer productive of emancipatory alternatives. In making this claim, we seek to reflect upon the underlying dynamics … Continue reading A Real Abstract or a Parody of One?

Congress and Syria

So nice - in one sense* - to be talking about whether Congress should authorize the use of force and to think the outcome actually might matter.  But now that Congress is in the driver's seat, I encourage you to participate in the democratic process by contacting your representative and letting him/her know your opinion on … Continue reading Congress and Syria

Thoughts on President Obama’s Speech on Syria

In many ways, Presidents Obama's speech reflects well on him and his administration. Indeed, I think it was among his best since it wasn't just about relatively meaningless sentiment but a nice mix of political thought and policy detail.  Plus it is the right thing to do regardless of how we feel about the particular case at hand.  … Continue reading Thoughts on President Obama’s Speech on Syria

We Interrupt Our Syria Coverage to Again Talk Kitties

No, this isn't about Jason's righteous holy war against feral cats, here and here.*  But kittens do enter into the best paragraph I've read today.  The context for it is the New York City mayoral race.  Apparently the NYC subway was recently shut down for 90 minutes to protect two little kittens that were on the tracks.  The … Continue reading We Interrupt Our Syria Coverage to Again Talk Kitties

Democrat Congressman Jerrold Nadler Nails It!

As reported in the Weekly Standard, Nadler announced this today: The Constitution requires that, barring an attack on the United States or an imminent threat to the U.S., any decision to use military force can only be made by Congress -- not by the President.  The decision to go to war -- and we should be clear, … Continue reading Democrat Congressman Jerrold Nadler Nails It!

John Fund on Obama, Congress, and War

Great piece by John Fund today highlighting a lot of themes we've discussed here in relation to the war in Libya and the potential for war in Syria.  This section and the point by Marsh just left me stunned: Oh my, how liberals have learned to love the imperial presidency they used to so scorn when … Continue reading John Fund on Obama, Congress, and War

Mr. President, Remember When You Said This About Military Strikes? (Time Does)

Time magazine reminds us that President Obama had this to say about the use of military force back in 2007 when he was candidate Obama: In 2007, Barack Obama was asked when Presidents have the authority to launch a military strike without congressional authorization. He had a precise answer at the ready. “The President does … Continue reading Mr. President, Remember When You Said This About Military Strikes? (Time Does)

The Least that Obama Should Do

I would oppose the use of military force by the U.S. against Syria no matter the process that the administration uses to justify/initiate any act of war.  It simply isn't in the national interest for the U.S. to get involved in a civil conflict such as this one.  But even if you think it is important for … Continue reading The Least that Obama Should Do

Reagan Comparatively Defends the Shah – Not His Best Moment

I happened upon this video clip in the midst of some research on another subject.  Despite the Cold War and the box that was (is) the basic hegemonial worldview of American elites then (and now), it would have been nice if Reagan had chosen the option of unabashedly criticizing both the fundamentalist regime then in place and the Shah's brutal government.  Here it is (including the … Continue reading Reagan Comparatively Defends the Shah – Not His Best Moment

Presidential Election 2012

For those like me who think macro-variables are most important to the outcome of national political campaigns, a new book by two political scientists will warm your hearts (even if you wish the election had turned out differently).  The book, by John Sides and Lynn Vavreck, is titled The Gamble: Choice and Chance in the 2012 … Continue reading Presidential Election 2012

Sunday Morning Quotation – Rod Dreher Is Smiling Edition

The Onion mocks so many of us so effectively in this piece titled "Unambitious Loser With Happy, Fulfilling Life Still Lives In Hometown."  It must leave Rod Dreher, author of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Life, smiling! Longtime acquaintances confirmed to reporters this … Continue reading Sunday Morning Quotation – Rod Dreher Is Smiling Edition

Life Imitates Art – Breaking Bad in Beijing (Indirect Spoiler Alert)

According to a Chinese news source: A wheel-chaired Chinese man set off a home-made explosive device outside the arrivals exit of the Terminal 3 at around 6:24 p.m.. The man was injured and is currently under treatment. The explosion caused no other injuries. Glad to hear no one else was hurt.  But did wonder if … Continue reading Life Imitates Art – Breaking Bad in Beijing (Indirect Spoiler Alert)

Elite Failure … or Worse!

Elites have really failed to educate Americans about the importance of the 1st Amendment when this happens, as reported in Reason: In a survey released today by the Newseum Institute, 34 percent of Americans say the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, up from 13 percent in last year's survey. This … Continue reading Elite Failure … or Worse!

Disappearing Work?

I think libertarians need to figure out a good response to the forecasted developments discussed here in this Wilson Quarterly piece.  But first, is a response unnecessary since these developments won't really come about (perhaps due to Say's Law*)?  Or will there indeed be a larger and larger number of difficult to employ people around due to … Continue reading Disappearing Work?

Generosity in Interpretation

There should probably be an award for blog posts that are so utterly lacking in generosity in interpreting the motives of others as to be absurd.  Here is my nomination for today, a post on abortion restrictions by the amazing Eric Loomis at LGM: The reality is that all of us, no matter what progressive movements we … Continue reading Generosity in Interpretation

“It’s Only Sex” and the Importance of Sexual Virtue in Politics

One of the things I remember hearing back during Bill Clinton's presidency was that his extracurricular activity should be given less attention or even forgiven because "It's only sex."  Unfortunately, we forget that sex can be used as a weapon by others (states, non-state actors, individuals) bent on compromising those in power.  Foreign Policy recently discussed how "sexpionage" is used in the … Continue reading “It’s Only Sex” and the Importance of Sexual Virtue in Politics