Charlie Cook (National Journal) has some initial thoughts on the 2016 GOP candidate (his "Republican Bracket"). I always find Cook interesting. One particularly odd observation: “Sometimes after losing two consecutive presidential contests, parties become more pragmatic and move toward the center. Other times, they double down on ideology. Logic would argue for a GOP move … Continue reading Too Early?
Charles Koch’s response to the recent anti-Koch efforts on the part of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Jonathan Chait is unimpressed (and I am unsurprised). The White House’s control of the visual record of the Obama presidency—a great frustration for the AP and the press corps more generally—has its limits (in this case, David Ortiz … Continue reading Assorted Links of Interest
Vera Kichanova, Russian libertarian (and anti-Putin) activist, says Putin will only benefit from a "new Cold War." A new peace agreement for the Mindanao region of the Philippines has been officially signed. Here are the key provisions, with detailed explanations.
Catalans reject comparison with Crimea (WSJ) Your humble servant is quoted therein. Mike Konczal tries to persuade us that Social Security and unemployment insurance make sense. To my mind, his chief errors are the equivocation between, on the one hand, private charity and mutual aid, and on the other, social insurance and poor relief (redistribution). … Continue reading Morning Links
Rand Paul traveled to Berkeley to give a speech yesterday, where he received a standing applause ( likely becoming the first person to get this reception at CPAC and at Berkeley) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vFhXpfEfQg As Carla Marinucci (SFGate) notes: Cheered by a youthful audience in one of the country's most liberal enclaves, Sen. Rand Paul - one … Continue reading Liberty in the Belly of the Beast
From Meet the Press (March 16): GREGORY: You know, when we deal with Vladimir Putin, this issue of hypocrisy comes up. And the United Nations spoke of this this week. The United Nations pointedly criticized the U.S.' human rights record over drone strikes, NSA surveillance, the death penalty. Does it make it hard to deal … Continue reading Quote of the Weekend
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?
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee this week, addressing the nonenforcement of the laws. In Turley’s words: “We are in the midst of a constitutional crisis with sweeping implications for our system of government. There has been a massive gravitational shift of authority to the Executive Branch that … Continue reading The Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws
Our rulers, I mean. The story inspiring today's rant is the revelation that the NSA and the UK's GCHQ have collected millions of webcam images from ordinary Internet users, including their most private conversations. They have no respect for our privacy, our rights, or our dignity as human beings. To agents of the state, we … Continue reading They Really Are at War with Us, Aren’t They?
From the Peter Peterson Foundation:
Ukraine interim president warns of "separatism risk" - I don't believe that there's any such risk, but it's obviously useful to the new government to propound such a risk as an excuse for a crackdown on Yanukovych supporters "On libertarian stupidity and the Civil War" Bitcoin at Liberty Forum Interested in speaking at PorcFest or … Continue reading Assorted Links
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
In nine days, the New Hampshire Liberty Forum begins. This should be by far the biggest and glossiest yet (seriously, check out the website). Speakers include feminist author Naomi Wolf, antifeminist author Karen Straughan (there will be a panel), Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, civil liberties lawyer Jesselyn Radack, creator of the … Continue reading N.H. Liberty Forum
Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Reason held an interesting panel in 2013 (participants: Katherine Mangu-Ward, Ronald Bailey and Mollie Hemingway, with Nick Gillespie moderating) highlighting some of the core areas of debate among libertarians. The question of abortion has continued to spark disagreements involving core questions of when personhood (and thus … Continue reading Libertarians and Abortion
Here's the latest from the new legislative session, via friends in the legislature... The New Hampshire House just authoritatively slapped down a bill that would authorize automated license plate readers for police, 250-97. The bill had been reported out of the fairly reliably police-statist Criminal Justice committee with an "ought to pass" recommendation. Just nine … Continue reading News from New Hampshire (update) (update)
Would South Sudan have been better off with international trusteeship than independence? My reaction: 1) the South Sudan civil war is likely to kill far fewer than the original civil war by which they gained independence (2 million), so independence may be better than that alternative; 2) autonomy without independence would have been a nonstarter … Continue reading Afternoon Links
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
At the end of last year, I made six predictions for 2013. How did they turn out? 1. Bashar al-Assad will no longer be in power in Syria at the end of 2013. However, the civil war will continue. Half right. The civil war has continued, but shortly after I wrote this, the tide of … Continue reading New Year Predictions: A Look Back and a Look Forward
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.
If you've read Thomas Rick's book The Generals, maybe you too could imagine him saying something like this in the wake of Army firing its football coach after 5 years of poor results (and 5 of the 12 straight defeats to Navy): Lose football games: get fired. Lose in war: no problem, business as usual. What a country.
Seen in my office building: Guess they do need tutoring.
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
Nelson Mandela has died. There will be an endless stream of articles and blog entries on Mandela in the next several days. Most will praise Mandela and much of the praise is well deserved. But as the National Journal notes, while many will be “eulogizing him for possessing a saintly character and serving as an … Continue reading Nelson Mandela, Now and Then
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…..
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
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?
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the JFK assassination and I am quite happy to leave the obsession with Camelot and conspiracy to the media. The photographs from 1963 seem quite quaint, like they were plucked from another era. I was two years old then, growing up in a world of stay-at-home moms, fathers who … Continue reading Half a Century
In case you missed it, here's some libertarian commentary on the Senate filibuster, pro and con: Jonathan Adler (anti filibuster) me (anti filibuster) John Samples (pro filibuster)
For Pileus readers in the New York city area, I will be speaking to the Columbia University Libertarians about the Free State Project at 8 PM tomorrow (Tuesday November 19). The talk will be in Hamilton 401. I'm looking forward to a lively event.
Somewhere in the Pileus archives is a post I wrote about how if the lie you tell is so outrageous, the public gives you a pass. Example 1: When the party in power in a state says, “Our goal in redistricting is not to increase our partisan advantage but is to _____________.” It doesn’t matter … Continue reading The biggest (dumbest) lie ever?
The ecological and economic disaster of corn ethanol. Social democratic xenophobia in Quebec. Obamacare exchange scorecard: around 100,000 enrollees and 5 million cancellations.
The preliminary numbers are in on ACA. As By Amy Goldstein and Sarah Kliff note in the Washington Post : “Roughly 40,000 Americans have signed up for private insurance through the flawed federal online insurance marketplace since it opened six weeks ago, according to two people with access to the figures.” This does not include … Continue reading Numbers, Real and Imagined
Another superb piece from the Washington Post on the ACA (Marc highlighted the last one a couple of days ago). This one is from the guy who built and ran the RomneyCare exchange in Massachusetts:A health insurance exchange is more than a Web site. It is an insurance store, and to manage it well requires … Continue reading The Post does it again
There is an ironclad law of redistributive politics at play in the ACA (ObamaCare) fiasco. This law is that concentrated interests almost always conquer diffuse interests. Milk producers are a concentrated interest. Milk consumers are a diffuse interest. Guess which group is favored by the long history of milk price supports? Dairy farmers get fat … Continue reading Even Obama can’t violate fundamental laws of politics
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
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?
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
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
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?
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