Saturday, March 25, 2017


"There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen. "Yet this difference is tremendous; for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa. Whence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good that will be followed by a great evil to come, while the good economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil."  - From an essay by Frédéric Bastiat in 1850, "That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Unseen"

Dave Berry on the Trump election: In Washington, Democrats who believed in a strong president wielding power via executive orders instantly exchange these deeply held convictions with Republicans who until Election Day at roughly 10 p.m. Eastern time believed fervently in filibusters and limited government.

I assume this is the warning bell, the dead canary, the signal of all signals: According to Business Insider, Jay Z is entering the world of venture capital. According to Axios' Dan Primack, the rapper and music mogul is launching a VC fund along with Roc Nation President Jay Brown. The pair are looking to add a third investment partner and plan to team up with Sherpa Capital to launch the fund, Axios reports.

Underlining the view was the distinction already made by Hobbes and Montesquieu: between civil and political liberty, a distinction given new significance by Staël’s witnessing of the terrifying effect of confusing the two. Civil liberty was the proper object of popular aspiration and source of social benefits; political liberty was a means not an end and could be exploited by ambitious men. The Jacobin terrorist regime, proposing unfettered democracy and using all the resources of partisan propaganda, had silenced the “quietly murmuring” majority and intimidated people into following a route to disaster.

One of trump's plans is to cut interest deductibility. Making debt more real is probably a good idea--but it will have implications. For example, farmers have to borrow money in the spring and pay it back in the fall. This has been going on for hundreds of years and is actually a quite well-documented phenomenon of banking cash flows.  By not allowing any interest-rate deduction, as the tax-reform proposal seeks to do, you will simply destroy the family-farming community nationwide.

Who is.....Camille Paglia?

If you were against the New Deal and its wholesale buying of pauper votes, then you were against Christian charity.  If you were against the gross injustices and dishonesties of the Wagner Labor Act, then you were against labor.  If you were against packing the Supreme Court, then you were in favor of letting Wall Street do it.  If you are against using Dr. Quack’s cancer salve, then you are in favor of letting Uncle Julius die.  If you are against Holy Church, or Christian Science, then you are against god.  It is an old, old argument.--Mencken

And, on the Segregation Front, a student activist group at the University of Michigan is demanding campus officials provide them with “a permanent designated space on central campus for Black students and students of color to organize and do social justice work.”

Paglia recently lamented the loss of glamour in Hollywood. She remembers this iconic photo after Taylor won the Oscar:
Taylor on the cover of Life after her Oscar win.

Barack Obama likes to brag about how he brought federal deficits down, and that's true: In FY 2010 (the first year covered by an Obama administration budget) the deficit was just under $1.3 trillion, while in FY 2017 (the final year covered by an Obama administration budget) the deficit will be just over $500 billion. The federal debt, on the other hand, has almost doubled over his eight years.

A federal judge has barred the State of California from enforcing a new law limiting online publication of actors' ages.
Acting in a case brought by online movie information website IMDb, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria ruled Wednesday that the California law likely violates the First Amendment and appears poorly tailored to proponents' stated goal of preventing age discrimination in Hollywood

Trump and his mercantilist trio of advisors have a strange way of going about achieving “balance” in US trade with Mexico. By scaring the wits out of investors in Mexico, the peso plunges and makes all those Fords built in Hermosillo even cheaper for American consumers! Slap a big tariff on Mexican-built cars and the peso falls further, making other things made in Mexico even cheaper for US buyers, while making products made in US ever more expensive for Mexican consumers.--former Cleveland Fed president Jerry Jordan.
So inexpensive is good for consumers but bad for domestic industries. Gee, it is so sad that life is complicated.

The prejudices, which is to say our justifying discourses, would not matter if the issue were divergent judgments about, say, the latest ice cream flavors from Ben and Jerry’s.  We could then, in the easygoing English phrase, “agree to disagree.”  Chocolate Therapy versus AmeriCone Dream. Whatever.  But the judgment about whether the System has worked for ordinary people, and why or why not, is too important to leave to personal fancy or to prideful skepticism or to a political identity adopted in late adolescence, never to be reconsidered in the light of new evidence or mature understanding, reaffirmed daily by the particular group of shouters and sneerers we tune into on cable TV.  If we are to help the remaining poor of the world, as ethically speaking we should, the political judgment needs to be made soberly and scientifically.--the semi-wonderful McCloskey. But one does worry about "scientifically."

Golden oldie:

It was astonishing to hear the options the Americans were told were available for the Trump election. First the strange Stein lawsuit, then the campaign to undermine the results themselves by blaming the Russians for hacking the election system--for which there is no evidence--, then the idea that the revelation of the actual conversations these lying politicians are having have undermined the election process, then an idea that we can delay the College vote, and then  the idea that the electors were somehow going to save American citizens from themselves and overturn the election themselves. Next is impeachment. A surprising number of people have real problems with representative democracy and, at times like these, their chain-mail shows.

YouTube has invested in several acts this year as it seeks to help artists increase their fan bases.

President Obama famously mocked Mitt Romney in 2012 for suggesting that Russia was our principal geopolitical adversary. Yet today they are upset over the closeness of secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, to Vladimir Putin. And apparently shocked, shocked (!), over the Russian efforts in the U.S. elections. Re: the latter, Obama promised action. Another line in the sand?
On the other hand, what the Russians are being accused of is revealing the truth. The truth! And they are denying it! Crazy. Maybe a new crime: "Unwarranted revelation of the truth."
(I am not approving of hacking or theft here but it is a strange combination of factors.)
So we are facing the bizarre situation of American politicians routinely lying in campaigns and objecting to the release of their own communications--which are truthful.
Disinformation is a fascinating field and everyone should inform themselves about it. (For example, what if all the scurrilous DNC conversations about Sanders were untrue? What if the clearly bigoted discussions regarding Catholics were planted by the Russians?)

According to the ABA, for the first time, women make up a majority of law students, holding just over 50 percent of the seats at accredited law schools in the United States.

AAAAAAaaaaannnnnnnndddddd......a cartoon:

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