The Risk of Ebola

Chairman Mao once remarked “Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent.” It would appear that we are in a period of “utter chaos.” First, ISIS dominated the news. Now we have the Ebola “outbreak.” The situation is “excellent” from a political perspective precisely because crises (real or constructed) provide windows of … Continue reading The Risk of Ebola

Justice and sentencing

My Twitter feed has been filled with Americans and others expressing outrage about a Saudi court's sentencing a man to be paralyzed from the waist down. He had stabbed a man in the back, paralyzing him. I'm not going to defend or oppose the sentence, but I am going to defend a principle here: the … Continue reading Justice and sentencing

For an Anti-Farm Bill League (update)

Conservatives and taxpayer groups are ready to fight the $1 trillion farm bill when it comes up for a vote in the new Congress. Agricultural subsidies, price supports, and tariffs in developed countries (the U.S., Japan, and the European Union especially) not only harm consumers at home by hitting them with higher prices, but cause … Continue reading For an Anti-Farm Bill League (update)

This Week’s Rants and Raves, TSA Edition

1. In the below video, Senator Rand Paul criticizes John Pistole and his TSA for their ham-fisted and invasive pat-downs, especially on children.   Senator Paul makes several good points. What struck me in particular, however, is one part of Mr. Pistole's response. He said that pat-downs on children and seniors are driven---and, apparently, justified---by … Continue reading This Week’s Rants and Raves, TSA Edition

Enough Already, Super Bowl Edition

Congratulations to the Packers! I thought yesterday's Super Bowl game between the Packers and the Steelers was fantastic---thrilling and exciting. I had no particular dog in the fight, since I am not much of a Packers or a Steelers fan; so I was able simply to enjoy the good game. I say that so that … Continue reading Enough Already, Super Bowl Edition

Fred Korematsu

The NY Times has a rather nicely written editorial today honoring Fred Korematsu. As you may recall, Mr. Korematsu was one of citizens interred under FDR’s Executive Order 9066. Initially, he went on the lamb but was ultimately arrested and convicted of violating the internment order. He received 5 years probation and spent the next … Continue reading Fred Korematsu

Security Theater: Close Enough for Government Work

As we approach Christmas and AQ has once again promised a terrorist surprise, it is good to know that Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano--the woman responsible for orchestrating the TSA's "security theater"--is at the top of her game.  As she noted in an interview: “We are thousands of people are working 24/7, 364 days a year … Continue reading Security Theater: Close Enough for Government Work

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

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

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…

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

Sven’s Expectations Game—Extended Edition

Sven has done an excellent job of predicting the generally accepted wisdom as it will be expressed in the next weeks/months. Let me extend the “narrative” (I hate using the term, but tenure carries certain responsibilities). Yes, there are the crazy GOP candidates (and yes, even accounting for the media’s selection bias, you got to … Continue reading Sven’s Expectations Game—Extended Edition

This Week’s Rants and Raves

1. Children should do their own homework. I resent the fact that my children's schoolwork, which they do themselves, is often graded against and compared to that of children whose parents do their work for them. What is the purpose of the charade whereby parents do their kids' work? It certainly does the kids no … Continue reading This Week’s Rants and Raves

Myths of the Fall

I often disagree with Robert Reich, but nonetheless find his arguments quite interesting. From what I gather, his forthcoming book (After Shock) is going to situate the financial collapse and the troubled recovery in a longer record of declining wages (a product of the decline of manufacturing) and growing inequality (a product of these declines … Continue reading Myths of the Fall

Newt Gingrich: the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Grover’s post about the 17 potential presidential hopefuls presents former Speaker New Gingrich as a member of the A-team.  Newt has always been a source of entertainment (remember the tyrannosaurus skull he had moved from the Smithsonian to the Speaker’s Office).   Now that he has ratcheted up his interviews and speeches (undoubtedly as a effort … Continue reading Newt Gingrich: the Gift that Keeps on Giving

“Operation Drain the Swamp,” update

In the past, I have been quite interested in “Operation Drain the Swamp.” A piece by Brody Mullins and John McKinnon in  today’s WSJ suggest that Speaker Pelosi has some additional work to do in the final months of her reign if she is going to bring the operation to a successful conclusion. According to the … Continue reading “Operation Drain the Swamp,” update

Immanentize the Eschaton with Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck is an interesting and frustrating character for many libertarians. So often, his arguments appear to unfold in a reasonable fashion and then they turn into a flurry of chalk dust, conspiracy theories, religious imagery and tears. Many commentators waited breathlessly for Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial this past weekend. While … Continue reading Immanentize the Eschaton with Glenn Beck

Leviathan and the Monkeys

Having spent a few painful hours reading through the Coburn-McCain report on the stimulus, I feel compelled to provide a few comments (I strongly suggest that loyal Pileus readers read the report themselves). Although I have had some profound questions about the pork that was packed into the stimulus package, at least there is finally some … Continue reading Leviathan and the Monkeys

Rants and Raves

1. The state government of Massachussets is engaged in a brinksmanship battle over gambling: how many casino resorts to allow, how many slots-only casinos, etc.  Why is this up to the state government? I don't think there is any compelling state interest here. If the owners of the relevant property, which is apparently properly zoned … Continue reading Rants and Raves

Rants and Raves

1. When I drive the speed limit through the residential neighborhoods near where I live in New Jersey, people honk at me and give me the finger. 2. I sympathize with bicyclists who complain that drivers don't treat them with enough courtesy on the roads. But if bicyclists want to be treated "like cars," then … Continue reading Rants and Raves