Month: June 2009


Tuesday Twitter

Revenge of the Fallen
Last week, my older children and their cousins and uncles went to a late showing of Transformers II. Even though I liked the first movie, I stayed behind because (i) they wouldn’t get back until almost midnight, which is almost two hours past my bedtime, and (ii) the reviews were so bad. Don’t make the same mistake. Most everyone in the group liked it, and Big Hollywood is receiving a lot of positive comments.

Kournikova at Center
Wimbledon tennis spokesman, Johnny Perkins, says that the tournament operates a casting couch system of play, with the better looking players grunting on Centre Court – with its superior acoustics – and the less attractive wimmin battling it in outer courts.

Received in an Email:

“The object of the game is to destroy American capitalism by having the government take over everything! Tokens include a bus, a teleprompter, a sprig of arugula and a waffle iron. Wanna play? No? Too bad, you’re already playing… And quite frankly, in this game, nobody wins!”

America Coming Out of Its Rock Star Stupor?
“Is Barack Obama approaching the end of his masterly run? . . . Obama’s extreme deficit spending and auto bailouts have for the first time made him responsible for policies people want to change. That’s a novel position for him after running so long against all that people disliked about the Bush years. . . . The fight over health care will be telling. Once again, people are being asked to believe that a trillion dollars in new spending is fiscally prudent. Once again, they’re being asked to believe that the government can manage an enormous, complex enterprise — even more so than the auto companies. Once again, they’re being asked by … Read the rest

Snope It

Snopes is one of my “go to” sites. Reader’s Digest tells Snopes’ story. Nothing remarkable, but still interesting.

So how much does a niche website that receives 6.2 million visits per month earn (this is traditionally “Econ Saturday” at TDE, after all)? The article doesn’t say. It just provides somewhat inconsistent clues: The married couple behind Snopes do it full-time and live in a modest doublewide outside of LA, and they earn a “very healthy” income from advertising.

I return from vacation today. Thank you for your patronage during these slow posting days. … Read the rest

From the Notebooks

Premise: The opening question that any political philosopher must grapple with: Can the state ever go past legendary King Pausole’s one law: “Hurt no man, then do as you will.” If so, when?

On the surface, this is an easy question to answer: If another person isn’t getting hurt, the state should back off. But does hurt include emotional hurt? A hurt reputation? Fraud? If not, can the state take steps to prevent plots to hurt someone physically? If a person entertains violent thoughts, he’s more likely to act on them. When can the state intervene in thoughts? It can’t. So thoughts are off limits. But what about aids to violent thoughts (e.g., pornography and the Octagon)?

It’s a question of proximity. I suspect tort common law on the issue of proximate cause could help with this analysis.… Read the rest

Tuesday Slow Posting Day

Curmudgeonly Quotes

“When a true genius appears in the world you may know him by this sign: that all the dunces are in confederacy against him.” Jonathan Swift.

“The great thing about Glasgow is that if there’s a nuclear attack it’ll look exactly the same afterwards.” Billy Connolly.

“In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of the citizens to give to the other.” Voltaire (silly me, I thought there’d never come a day when Voltaire and I agreed on something)

“Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.” Leo Tolstoy… Read the rest

From the Notebooks

A Futuristic History

Many readers of this book have probably heard of the United States or its alternative name, “America.” For many years, it reigned as the most powerful nation in the world, both economically and militarily.

Like Rome (studied in Chapter Three), historians differ about when it become the world’s greatest power. All historians agree that the United States’ power grew steadily from its inception in 1776, the year it gained independence from England (a country that roughly comprised the area today known as Northwest Quadrant One of the European Commonwealth—England is discussed in Chapter Nine). Most historians believe its status as the world’s greatest power started in 1945, following World War II (see Chapter Twelve), but some say it didn’t gain absolute power until 1991 and the fall of the world’s other great power at that time, the United Soviet Socialist Republic.

Historians are even more divided with regard to when the United States’ status as the world’s greatest power ended. Like Rome, it was a series of events, rather than a massive fall, that brought it to an end.

In order to understand the end of the United States—and, more importantly, to help the reader form an intelligent opinion about when the United States ended and what lessons can be drawn from its fall—it is first necessary to understand why the United States deserves its own chapter in a world history book.

A Great Experiment

At its inception, the United States was a terribly unique experiment. It sought to combine effectively two opposing, yet desirable, societal characteristics: freedom and order.

It is crucial to understand this goal if the student hopes to have any understanding about what brought about the United States’ demise. Although historians differ about the final causes of the United States fall, all agree … Read the rest