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What would Friedman do?

October 28, 2010

Exactly what the Fed is doing according to this WSJ article.

I have argued a number of times over at Ace of Spades (and a couple other places) that Bernanke is following the course of action that Friedman advocated (which Hayek later endorsed btw)  in “Monetary History” and that by following the measures advocated by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck et. al. we are dooming ourselves to a repeat of Japan’s lost decade. 

This isn’t an endorsement of unrestrained government spending by any means however.  As I noted previously Japanese economists tend to think that a program like that (i.e. the stimulus) is a colossal waste.  What I am saying is that experience has shown that some intervention by the Fed can help lead to an economic recovery.

So how many kids do you think are actually trying to apply to this college?

October 8, 2010

http://embed.break.com/MTkzMTA5OQ==
Blue Mountain State Admissions – Im a BMer! – Watch more Funny Videos Speaking of college admissions (kind of): I went and saw “Waiting for Superman” yesterday. If you haven’t seen this movie you really need to grab a liberal friend and go see it. I admit that there is some of the usual liberal B.S., that should be expected, the director is the same guy who did “An Inconvenient Truth”, but after a slow first 15 minutes it turns into one of the most devastating critiques of the education unions I have ever seen. And, amazingly enough, the film actually refers to the Democratic party as “a wholly owned subsidiary of the teacher’s unions”. The one area I think most conservatives will have some issues is an advocacy of national standards and national funding, but the advocacy isn’t particulary strong. I hope when it comes out on DVD the producer includes some follow-ups on what has happened with the main characters.

Upcoming debates om Intelligence Squared

September 4, 2010

I don’t really know if anyone else here is interested in these things, but Intelligence Squared has a number of interesting debates airing over the next couple months.

Sep 14 – Treat Terrorists Like Enemy Combatants, Not Criminals:

In 2009 the Justice Department announced that 9/11 plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed would be tried in New York City, setting off a firestorm of protests. Besides the cost and safety concerns, at issue are whether terrorists should be tried in criminal court or whether national security requires the use of military commissions. Likewise, issues like the closing of Guantanamo, the reading of Miranda rights, and enhanced interrogation all center on the same question: How should the U.S. treat captured alleged terrorists? In a war with no foreseeable end, whose actors are neither criminals nor soldiers; can we keep America safe and still bring terrorists to justice.

Oct 6 – Islam Is A Religion Of Peace

Is the rise of terrorism and violence justifiably traced to the teachings of Islam, or is this call to war a twisted interpretation of the true Muslim faith? Most of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are moderates who see Islamic terrorism as a violation of their sacred texts. Is it wrong to let a radical minority represent authentic Islam? Has fear blinded us to its lessons of tolerance and peace?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be arguing against the motion

Oct 26 – Big Government Is Stifling The American Spirit

Intellectuals, tea partiers and everyone in between are concerned about the size of our government and how it affects America’s financial and political future. Is government intervention in everything from economic policy to health care rewarding the “takers,” and not the “makers,” stifling innovators, entrepreneurs and business owners? Or has government done too little to support the growing poor and rapidly shrinking middle class?

Art Laffer will be arguing for the motion

Personally I find these debates kind of interesting. The arguments aren’t as in-depth as I would like, but it’s an hour long show so that’s to be expected, however a lot of times I think it points out weak areas in the arguments on both sides. I find that useful in refining my own arguments for and against certain positions.

An example of why our country is in the shape it’s in – Congressional Dumb Questions

September 3, 2010

I received this in my email this morning.  I know that most of it probably isn’t true, but it’s funny and truth shouldn’t stand in the way of humor; so don’t go running to Snopes.com and then come back bitching.

A DC  ‘airport ticket agent’ offers some examples of  ‘WHY’ our country is in trouble!

1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman (Carol Shea-Porter) ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn’t get messed up by being near the window.  (On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a Kansas Congressman’s (Moore) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Cape Town.  I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information,  and then he interrupted m e with,  ”I’m not trying to make you look stupid,  but Cape Town is in Massachusetts ..”

Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained,  ”Cape Cod is in Massachusetts ,  Cape Town is in South Africa .”

His response — click..

3. A senior Vermont Congressman (Bernie Sanders) called, furious about a Florida package we did.  I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando .  He said he was expecting an ocean-view room.  I tried to explain that’s not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, ‘Don’t lie to me!, I looked on the map, and Florida is a very THIN state!!”  (OMG)

4. I got a call from a lawmaker’ s wife (Landra Reid) who asked,  ”Is it possible to see England from Canada ?”
I said,  ”No.”

She said,  ”But they look so close on the map”  (OMG, again!) 

5. An aide for a cabinet member (Janet Napolitano) once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas .  I pulled up the reservation and noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas ..  When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said,  ”I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.”  (Aghhhh)

6. An Illinois Congresswoman (Jan Schakowsky) called last week.  She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m.,  and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m.

I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois , but she couldn’t understand the concept of time zones.  Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

7. A New York lawmaker, (Jerrold Nadler) called and asked, ”Do airlines put your physical de scription on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?”  I said,  ‘No, why do you ask?’

He replied,  ”Well, when I checked in with the airline,  they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT),  and I’m overweight.  I think that’s very rude!”

After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it. (I was dying laughing).  I came back and explained the city code for Fresno , Ca. is (FAT – Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on his luggage..

8. A Senator John Kerry aide (Lindsay Ross) called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii .  After going over all the cost info, she asked,  ”Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii ?”

9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman, Bobby Bright from Ala who asked, ”How do I know which plane to get on?”
I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, ”I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them.”

10. Senator Dianne Feinstein called and said, ”I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola , Florida . Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?”

I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola , FL on a commuter plane.
She said, ”Yeah, whatever, smarty!” 

11. Mary Landrieu , La. Senator, called and had a question about the documents she needed in order to fly to China .  After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded her that she needed a visa.

"Oh, no I don’t.   I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those.”

I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa.  When I told her this she said, ”Look, I’ve been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!”

12. A New Jersey Congressman (John Adler) called to make reservations, ”I want to go from Chicago to Rhino,  New York .”
I was at a loss for words.  Finally, I said, ”Are you sure that’s the name of the town?”

‘Yes, what flights do you have?” replied the man.

After some searching, I came back with, ”I’m sorry, sir, I’ve looked up every airport code in the country and can’t find a rhino anywhere."

”The man retorted, ”Oh, don’t be silly! Everyone knows where it is.  Check your map!”

So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, ‘ ‘You don’t mean Buffalo , do you?”

The reply?  ”Whatever!  I knew it was a big animal.”

Now you know why the Government is in the shape it’s in! 
Could ANYONE be this DUMB? 
YES, THEY WALK AMONG US, ARE IN POLITICS, AND THEY CONTINUE TO BREED.

Connections – Wheel of Fortune

August 29, 2010

A documentary series by historian James Burke, "Connections" attempted to explain how various historical events and personalities led to discoveries that built off each other to bring about the modern world. Since the series originally ran in 1978 some of the material is a little dated but it is still one of the most interesting programs to have been aired on TV in my opinion. Fortunately James Burke has placed the entire series on YouTube (as well as the two follow on series).

Episode 5 – "Wheel of Fortune" traces astrological knowledge in ancient Greek manuscripts from Baghdad’s founder, Caliph Al-Mansur, via the Muslim monastery/medical school at Gundeshapur, to the medieval Church’s need for alarm clocks (the water horologium and the verge and foliot clock). The clock mainspring gave way to the pendulum clock, but the latter could not be used by mariners, thus the need for precision machining by way of Huntsman’s improved steel (1797) and Maudslay’s use (1800) of Ramsden’s idea of using a screw to better measure (which he took from the turner’s trade). This process made a better mainspring and was also used by the Royal Navy to make better blocks. Le Blanc mentioned this same basic idea to Thomas Jefferson who transmitted this "American system of manufactures" — precision machine-tooling of musket parts for interchangeability — to New Englanders Eli Whitney, John Hall and Simeon North. The American efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth and his psychologist wife later improved the whole new system of the modern production line.

I am only embedding the first portion of each episode the entire playlist for the episode is here.

The complete series is available from Amazon

Tomorrow the machines come to kill us all…

August 22, 2010

but tonight we dance

Connections – Faith in Numbers

August 21, 2010

A documentary series by historian James Burke, "Connections" attempted to explain how various historical events and personalities led to discoveries that built off each other to bring about the modern world. Since the series originally ran in 1978 some of the material is a little dated but it is still one of the most interesting programs to have been aired on TV in my opinion. Fortunately James Burke has placed the entire series on YouTube (as well as the two follow on series).

Episode 4 – “Faith in Numbers” examines the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance from the perspective of how commercialism, climate change and the Black Death influenced cultural development.

I am only embedding the first portion of each episode the entire playlist for the episode is here.

The complete series is available from Amazon

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