01/11/2017: Bauerlein on Trump’s Election

[Mark Bauerlein] said he understood that many people, including many students at Emory, had experienced Trump’s victory as a violation—an “extraordinary desecration” of the progressive temple. But he was also suspicious of his own urge to glory in that desecration. His hope, however far-fetched, was that Trump, by demolishing traditional Party ideologies, might somehow help people move beyond hardened partisan positions.

– Mark Bauerlein, as quoted in The New Yorker, Jan. 09, 2017

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01/10/2017: Best of Monster Raving Loony Party Conference

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01/08/2017: Dilbert Presages Donald Trump in Power

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Dilbert, Feb. 14, 1990

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01/07/17: The Zaporozhian Cossacks of Ukraine Write a Letter

The Kozaks of the Dnieper to the Sultan of Turkey:
Thou Turkish Satan, brother and companion to the accursed Devil, and companion to Lucifer himself, Greetings!
What the hell kind of noble knight art thou? The Devil voids, and thy army devours. Never wilt thou be fit to have the sons of Christ under thee: thy army we fear not, and by land and on sea we will do battle against thee.
Thou scullion of Babylon, thou wheelwright of Macedonia, thou beer-brewer of Jerusalem, thou goat-flayer of Alexandria, thou swineherd of Egypt, both the Greater and the Lesser, thou sow of Armenia, thou goat of Tartary, thou hangman of Kamenetz, thou evildoer of Podoliansk, thou grandson of the Devil himself, thou great silly oaf of all the world and of the netherworld and, before our God, a blockhead, a swine’s snout, a mare’s ass, a butcher’s cur, an unbaptized brow, May the Devil take thee! That is what the Kozaks have to say to thee, thou basest-born of runts! Unfit art thou to lord it over true Christians!
The date we write not for no calendar have we got; the moon is in the sky, the year is in a book, and the day is the same with us here as with thee over there, and thou canst kiss us thou knowest where!
– Attributed to the Zaporozhian Cossacks

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01/06/2017: McArdle on Removing Democratic Norms

Each procedural hack slightly undermines the legitimacy of the system as a whole, and makes the next hack more likely, as parties give up on the pretense that winning an election confers the right to govern, and justify their incremental power grabs by whatever the other party did last.

Megan McArdle, BloombergView, Jan. 1, 2017

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01/05/2017: Kling on Economists and Politics

Adam Smith recognized, when you specialize, you have a very strong interest in the market in what you produce. You have a much more diffuse or dilute [sic] interest in the stuff which you consume. So the politics are always going to push in this direction of subsidizing demand and restricting supply. That’s the way the politicians can please the people who care most about the product–the suppliers–and still kind of appease the consumers a bit. . . .  So that political tendency is not an accident. It’s a very natural tendency for the political process to evolve in that direction. So, for economists to–in theory, economists would say, “Oh, we’re perfectly pure. We’re going to act, only recommend policies that are optimally in our public-goods/externality framework.” But to do that knowing that when the politicians get ahold of it, they are going to distort it and turn it into the subsidize-demand/restrict supply result, is, I think, disingenuous. Or naive, certainly.

-Arnold Kling, EconTalk, May 2, 2016

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01/04/2017: Loyola on Separation of Powers

After Wickard v. Filburn (1942) removed all effective limits on the Federal commerce power, Congress began regulating all aspects of economic activity.

Combined with the then-modish infatuation with science, this opened the floodgates to delegations of legislative authority to Executive Branch agencies. Given the difficulty of drawing clear boundaries between legislative, executive and judicial powers, the Court abandoned formal categories in favor of a functional approach that allowed any delegation for which Congress supplied “intelligible” guiding principles, and prohibited only “usurpation” of the powers of other branches. Yet as David Schoenbrod observes, usurpation is not the only problem: “Legislators enhance their power by delegating: they retain the ability to influence events by pressuring agencies, while they shed responsibility for the exercise of power by avoiding public votes on hard choices.”

– Mario Loyola
The Federal-State Crack-up,”
The National Interest, (Jan/Feb 2013)

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