Monday, October 25, 2010

Is campaigning for the dissolution of the Department of Education Extreme?

Juan Williams mentioned today on a Fox TV program that Christine O'Donnell's suggestion that we dissolve the Department of Education is 'extreme.' That is about the tenth time I have heard that statement regarding that suggestion in the last week. Is getting rid of the Department of Education an extreme position?

The military and Republicans

When it comes to the military, conservatives and Republicans tend to have a log in their eye.

A fair summary of current threats to stability might include cyber attack, international terrorism, international military crises, not necessarily in that order.  And not all of them are clearly matters for the military, including natural disasters.

But current military strategy is hardly the product of such threat assessments, remaining mired in WWII style military structure.  Certainly more destroyers or billion dollar jets can respond well to most of the issues which concern us today.

The Killing and Reviving of the American Dream - Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. - Mises Daily

The Killing and Reviving of the American Dream - Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. - Mises Daily:

For the first time since the data have been tracked, the share of women 18 and older who are married fell below 50 percent. The share of the population age 25 to 34 that is unmarried jumped from 34.5 percent in 2000 to 46.3 percent nine years later.

IEA Blog � A tale of three capitalisms

Kevin Dowd at IEA authors a well-written article outlining three 'versions' of capitalism.  Some free marketers would argue that crony capitalism is actually a form of socialism or fascism.  But there we are.  Defining the regulation preventing these insidious forms of market destroying organizations is remarkably easy.  But let us first review the article.

IEA Blog � Blog Archive � A tale of three capitalisms.

N.Y. Fed joins investors demanding Bank of America buy back mortgages

"The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has joined a group of investors demanding that Bank of America buy back billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities that are plagued with shoddy documentation and lending standards, according to people familiar with the matter."

Foreclosure mess and the fraud of it all

TheDC OP-ED: One nation, under fraud | The Daily Caller - Breaking News, Opinion, Research, and Entertainment

This article is perhaps the most important article I have read in years; an articulate non-technical explanation of the foreclosure mess.

It is also the most depressing.

Midterms Matter - Newsweek

We all know that Obama is wicked smart.  And often Democrats are so endeared by his savoir faire and ability to just click with his audience that we forget the pickle we're in because of rube 'fly-over' country who are getting scared because they do not understand that debt is a good thing.  More importantly though, it's always useful to review just what these mid-terms mean.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Regulation statism

Push to End Job Barriers Rattles Greece and Economy -

The Times articles how licensing  and other regulations constrains job creation and increases prices:

Antonios Avgerinos, 59, a retired army pharmacist, always wanted his own pharmacy here. And why not? Greek law ensures that pharmacists get a 35 percent profit on all drugs sold, even over-the-counter medications.

 But Greek law also limits just about everything else about pharmacies. They must be at least 820 feet apart and have a likely market of no fewer than 1,500 residents. To break into the business, an aspiring pharmacist generally has to buy a license from a retiring one. That often costs upward of $400,000.

For selling a cancer drug for $4,200, Mr. Stournaras said, a pharmacist makes a profit of around $1,400. “That’s a movement of the elbow that is more expensive than one of Roger Federer’s.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The heart warming wonder of Chile

The world is overwhelmed by the story of the miners in Chile, our hearts warmed and our eyes moistened by the unabashed sincerity of hope and reconciliation.  In respectful deference to the TV announcers, many of us are speechless as we watch the country come together in their hour of need.

The images and voices of Chile are smothered with themes that we in the USA are now unfamiliar.  Unlike the oil spill this past summer, the Chilean response was of pride and ingenuity in their ability to overcome.  Everyone above and below the ground expressed words of faith in God and love of family.  Their cries of faith and pride spread out like a fan for the world to see.

The neo-Keynesians don't get it

It is not just that neo-Keynesians have been debating the phenomenon of aggregate demand and the economy as a large statist whole that can be 'stimulated' in some fashion.  Or that, given the possibility that the government allows banks to print money and therefore have a new and dangerously explosive tool to affect inflation and other unknown externalities.  Or that leveraging both ideas very obviously tends to preserve the status quo, especially the banks.

No, most people do not even consider these basic economic tenets.  But while economists debate the utility of these tools, varying widely on how to use them even as they rack up taxpayer debt which wedges the economy into an ever tighter position, they have not considered the most important reason that most citizens are enraged by those policies.

Clayton Cramer's Blog: If You Want To Understand What Makes This Recession Continue

Clayton Cramer's Blog: If You Want To Understand What Makes This Recession Continue

Consult the Federalist papers! regarding health care reform numbering 2700 pages (How many pages does it take you to re-regulate a whole industry?):

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

Read the article.  There is more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The strange case of corn based ethanol

The issues with corn based ethanol are legion. It is arguably a catalyst energy production since it requires 7 gallons of gasoline to produce 8 gallons of ethanol. This ratio does not include spraying, fertilizing and irrigation costs. Even then, agribusiness is heavily subsidized to make ethanol competitive with oil. The subsidy alone requires energy to produce the dollars. But the simple negative economics of corn based ethanol are only part of the problem with the idea.

click to enlarge, double click to reduce
Demonstration agent O.L. Mizelle in field of corn with farmer J.S. Howard: Bradford County, Florida
Demonstration agent O.L. Mizelle in field of corn with farmer J.S. Howard: Bradford County, Florida by State Library and Archives of Florida, on Flickr

Monday, October 11, 2010

Education Research

The New America Foundation has a succinct and accessible description of educational challenges along with the research that drives their purpose. Access links are provided at the bottom of the page linked as a reference to this post.

But the over-arching story of the collection of web pages is far different from the purpose of each one.  And it is certainly not the story that the New America Foundation is attempting to tell.

Legal services and the fox in the henhouse

The disgrace of the legal services market � Truth on the Market:

“You can hardly find a lawyer who charges less than $150 per hour, which is out of reach for most people. The U.S. is unusual in how restrictive the rules are on who can give you assistance in court. Many of the lawyer-less are too rich for legal aid.” Indeed, the head of the Legal Aid Society in New York City says it “can only help one out of every nine people who solicit our help.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Science - Hal Lewis resignation

In this post regarding Einstein and science, I described my version of why global warming is a hoax, far from science.  Hal Lewis, a pillar of the science community and much closer to the issue than I will ever be, totally agrees.  He just resigned from the APS.  Here's his full letter, which he made public:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Forensic force and zoning

From Forensic force:
In 1955, the Western Region introduced free education. Today, the products of that policy and their offspring dominate education, the civil service, business, financial services, medicine, law and a host of other professions in Nigeria and beyond. Today, which of the region’s 19 states has a free education policy?
It is an interesting and important question, leading to an even more important and unexpected conclusion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

David Stockman: US Is in ‘Race to the Fiscal Bottom’ -

David Stockman: US Is in ‘Race to the Fiscal Bottom’ -

Wow. Two links in one day to the Fiscal Times. There is a good interview with David Stockman, who encapsulates just how far crony capitalism has infected the organism. Here's my favorite quotes:
We are not in a conventional business cycle recovery, so stimulus is futile and just adds needlessly to the $9 trillion of Treasury paper already floating dangerously around world financial markets. Instead, after 40 years of profligate accumulation of public and private debt, and reckless money-printing by the Fed, we had an economic crash landing, which left us with an enduring structural breakdown, not just a cyclical downturn.
In effect, we undertook a national leveraged buyout, raising total credit market debt to $52 trillion which represented a 3.6X leverage ratio against national income or GDP.

Now, More Bad News: The ‘New Normal’ is Here to Stay -

A very well written article by Temma Ehrenfeld regarding the new normal, which I have also written about and published in the local newspaper. Her reasoning is simple:
  1. Households must and will deleverage either through saving or default.
  2. Demographics are against growth.
  3. Globalization will reverse as power shifts to protectionist nations.

Texas should pay its fair share

With all the talk about allowing the tax cuts to expire (isn't that a tax increase?  Oh, never mind) I was thinking about all the ways Obama could raise more money to help the impoverished in the nation.  And then it hit me; Texas should pay more money!

Laptops in the Class room

Over at the Faculty Lounge, there is a conversation about whether to ban laptops in class.  It seems the professors have two issues; students are surfing the Internet during class, or using them to take notes.  It seems both activities disrupt and annoy some students.

The proposed answer, probably as a 'fun intellectual exercise,' is to auction off the rights to bring a laptop.  Haha.  Funny and clever, right?

Former Members of Congress

It is far too early to see the impact the Tea Party candidates will have on Congress.  The media and both parties are still minimizing the effect they will have on the elections, much less their ability to shake up the order of politics.  Meanwhile, former members of Congress posted a message:
Former Members of Congress for Common Ground is comprised of Republicans and Democrats who have enjoyed the privilege of serving in the Congress of the United States and benefited from working with each other over the years. We have organized informally with the hope that our shared experience may be informative and encouraging to those men and women who are candidates for the House and Senate this November – suggesting that political parties and partisanship play a measured but not dominant role in their lives as Members of Congress. We have joined in sending the following letter to all congressional candidates with understanding and respect for the inevitable passion that affects their campaigns for and eventual service in office, but asking that they be mindful once elected of the different personal dynamics needed to work together in addressing – and, we pray, meeting – the great challenges facing our Nation.